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Eating Patterns

We are What we eat

Meat, Poultry, Fish & Nuts:

• Choose lean meat (poultry without skin) and fish.
• Prepare meat dishes the low-fat way, i.e. boil, roast or grill instead of frying.
• Use egg-white instead of whole egg.
• Nuts are high in fat, so eat them in moderation and not along with meals.

Whole Pulses/Sprouts:

• Whole pulses, sprouts provide adequate quantity of fiber, minerals and vitamins. These also provide protein and can be used in place of meat for vegetarians.
• Choose soya products such as soya cottage cheese, soya milk and soya yoghurt.


• Always choose fresh fruits, instead of canned or frozen ones in heavy syrups and sweetened fruit juices.
• Eat whole fruits as they are higher in fiber content than fruit juices.
• Avoid punches, ales and most fruit drinks as they contain only a little juice and lots of added sugar.


• Different types of vegetables provide different nutrients.
• Use seasonal vegetables as they are high in nutrient content. One can also use raw vegetables as salads.
• Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables as they are good sources of vitamins and minerals.
• Cook vegetables lightly by steaming or stir-frying. Restrict on the fat you add to vegetables at the table or during cooking. Don't reheat vegetables.

Fats, Oil and Sweets, Red Meat & Refined Carbohydrates:

• Restrict adding fats to foods while cooking or at the table like butter, margarine, gravy, salad dressing, spread, etc. Use fats sparingly.
• Avoid foods that are high in sugar like candy, sherbets, jelly, honey, sweet deserts canned juices and soft drinks.
• Avoid the use of pork, mutton and other organ meat.
• Foods like refined wheat flour, white bread and polished rice, which are highly refined and low in vitamins & minerals, should be used less frequently.
• Cut down on convenience foods like biscuits, pastries and cakes, as they are rich in invisible fat and refined carbohydrates.

Whole Cereals, Wholemeal Bread, Brown Rice:

• To get the fiber you need, choose servings made from whole grains, e.g. wholemeal flour, wholemeal bread, porridge, wheat flakes, oat meal, brown rice etc.
• Supplement wheat flour with black bengal flour/soya flour/ bran to incorporate fiber.
• Do not sieve flour.

Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese:

• Choose skimmed milk and non-fat yoghurt.
• 75-100 g of cottage cheese/200 g of yoghurt supply the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of milk.
• Read labels for ingredients while purchasing packaged milk products.

Eat yourself slim:

• Never skip a meal. You will tend to overeat at the next meal. Instead, have smaller, more frequent meals at regular intervals.
• Always have breakfast, as it is the most important meal of the day. It is that time of the day when your nutrient requirements are the highest and a proper breakfast will energize you and keep you active throughout the day.
• Don't fall asleep soon after dinner, as sleep slows down the body's metabolism and you tend to burn fewer calories and accumulate fat. Instead, have a light and early dinner and give yourself a 2 to 3 hour gap before going to bed.
• Try to have smaller meals five to six times a day, than to eat big meals three times a day.
• Include a lot of fruits and fresh vegetables in your diet; these not only detoxify the body but are good for the skin and hairs too.
• The skin of fruits and vegetables, like apples and cucumber, are good for you. Remember to wash them before consumption.
• Choose whole grain cereals, wholemeal bread, whole pulses and brown rice instead of highly refined alternatives.

Healthy Cooking:

• Avoid frying foods; instead grill, steam, or boil food to minimize the fat content.
• Wash vegetables before chopping them to prevent loss of water soluble nutrients like Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Thiamin and Niacin.
• Avoid use of baking soda while cooking pulses and vegetables as soda inhibits the absorption of calcium and vitamins.
• Avoid repeated washing of rice and pulses, as valuable nutrients are lost in the process.
• Preserve vitamins in food by cooking whole vegetables in their skin.
• Substitute cream with skimmed yoghurt, as it contains less fat.
• Seasonal vegetables and fruits have the highest nutrient content so include them in your diet as often as possible. • Use non-stick cookware and minimize the oil content in your food.

How to order when eating out:

• Eat something healthy before going out, so you will not be tempted to eat more when at the restaurant.
• Read the menu carefully to judge which are the least fatty foods.
• Choose clear soups instead of creamy ones. Clear soups are just as nutritious and filling but don't contain as much fat.
• Green salads and veggies with low fat dressings are deliciously refreshing and contain lesser fat. Lemon juice, salt pepper and vinegar are great low-fat dressings. Avoid potato and macaroni salads, as they are high in calories.
• Choose grilled, steamed or poached foods over those with rich, creamy gravy/sauces.
• Choose 'tandoori roti', 'romali roti', 'missi roti' or over breads with high butter content.
• Grilled items like tandoori chicken, baked fish, tofu with tomato sauce and paneer 'tikka' make great entries.
• Specify that you would prefer as little use of butter and oil in your dishes.
• Try to resist ordering dessert, but if you must, then choose fresh fruit or frozen yoghurt.
• While travelling for business or pleasure, pre-plan meals and snacks to reduce stress and to keep your energy high. Take along mineral water, iced tea, vegetable juice and some low fat snacks like wholemeal sandwiches, salad and fresh fruits.

Tips to control your food intake:

• Keep a daily record of your food intake in the diet diary (Reshape Fitness Guide).
• Do not shop when you are hungry. Buy only non-fattening foods. Read the ingredients label carefully before buying.
• Always eat in one room, at the same place and avoid situational eating with other activities like watching TV, cooking or reading.
. Always keep at hand low-calorie foods to use as snacks, like fruits and raw vegetables.
• If you feel like nibbling on something nibble on pieces of chopped apple, cucumber, celery or you can have "saunf" (ani seed) or "ilayachi" (cardamom).
• Use small plates, so that you feel you are consuming large portions of food.
• Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly. This helps to eat less food but absorbs more vitamins, minerals and also helps in digestion.
• Store food wisely. Keep high-calorie items in places which are hard to reach, like high shelves or locked cup boards.
• Don't think just because you are eating low fat/low calorie food, you can eat all you want. The calories still add up and must be burned off. Balance is the key to success.

Water and good health:

Water plays a vital role in any weight management programme. You should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water everyday. There are multiple benefits of water:

• It helps suppress your appetite.
• It reduces build up of sodium in your body.
• It reduces fat deposits.
• It helps maintain proper muscle tone.
• It helps your body get rid of waste and toxins.
• It relieves constipation. Among other fluids, fresh lime water should be preferred. Fresh lime soda (without sugar), buttermilk, coconut water, vegetable juice and clear soups are also recommended for a healthy body. Start your meals with one of the above or just a glass of plain water.