BANGALORE : solid good health packed into those pretty-looking, great-tasting dishes.
When you go shopping for your food Buy vegetables in different colours: mix up greens (both dark and light) with a good number of reds, browns, maroons, yellows and oranges. Colour has a big bearing on nutrients and you want to make sure you have all of them packed into your food. Besides, it also adds some colour to your cooking.
DO NOT buy vegetables and fruits from supermarkets: Make that necessary trip to the local market. Things are cheaper there, fresher, and you know for sure that nothing is coming out after a month of hibernating in the cold storage. Storage vegetables are dead. Potatoes from these stores, you will notice, are black on the inside. This happens when they have been stored in the cold for long.
Do not buy pre-cut vegetables: Once a vegetable is cut open, it is exposed to the atmosphere - this triggers the process of oxidation. The same goes for fruits.
When you shop from street vendors: You will notice a lot of vendors selling small cabbages, lady fingers, cauliflowers - pick those. The big, bloated ones are artificially inflated and lack taste, colour and life, and are often riddled with worms. The small ones are fresher, not tampered. Remember, this does not mean that you should go looking for small, shrivelled stuff - keep your eyes open for small, fresh and colourful.
Buy seasonal vegetables: Buy carrots and leafy vegetables in winter in higher amounts, for instance. The same goes for fruits. Your body needs them in that season.
Buy vegetables you have not eaten or seen before: This will help you experiment, try new things, and add more variety to your cooking. Pick up a whole grain, a whole meal, a new nut, a new fruit even. Your body will love you for it. For packaged things, always check the expiry date.
Go for fresh, whole alternatives: Choose what is fresh over packaged food. Like mangoes instead of a mango jam.
Get cloth bags: And carry them with you when you go shopping. Keep one bag folded inside your purse for those times when you go out, not intending to shop, but stumble upon something you were hunting for. Avoid plastic like the plague - this is good for you and the planet.
Reema Prasanna is a baking coach, cook, travel & food writer. More about her here http://about.me/reema.prasanna