Top 9 foods to eat every day-

There are multiple kinds of healthy food that we must intake throughout a week, but some foods are mandatory to be eaten every day. These foods are beneficial to keep us healthy throughout the day as well as for a long period of time. Here are the top 9 foods to eat every day for taking care of us from head to toe-

  • Garlic-

Garlic coming from an onion family has many antibacterial properties which boost our immunity and also helps us in fighting the common cold. A small clove consumed every day can do wonders by also detoxifying our body, reduce our blood pressure and also lessen the risk of cholesterol. Well, now you know why garlic is at the top of the list of 9 foods to eat every day.

Garlic- Foods to eat every day

 

  • Tomatoes-

Tomatoes are known to be good for avoiding heart attacks or any other blood or heart-related problems. They are also a very good source of anti-cancer agents and help us in fighting mainly prostate, lung, and stomach and breast cancers. Apart from that, tomatoes are very good in taking care of our skin, especially for people who are prone to sunburns frequently.

Tomatos

  • Avocados-

Avocados, also known by other names like ‘butter fruit’ and ‘alligator pear’, are a highly recommended fruit due to its various health benefits. One of the best reasons to eat an avocado is that it maintains our blood pressure levels due to its high levels of potassium. Avocados are also super heart healthy and also help in weight loss; which makes it the third in our list of top 9 foods to eat every day.

Avacado

  • Spinach-

Nothing is as awesome as this dark leafy superfood which contains high levels of magnesium, calcium and iron. Some of the top benefits of having spinach every day are that it helps in controlling our diabetics level, and also helps in preventing cancer and asthma apart from other benefits. Now you know why spinach is listed as one of the top foods to eat every day.

Spinach

  • Yogurt-

A cup of yogurt a day is beneficial to our body in many aspects, especially if you are on a diet as it helps in appetite and weight control. It also helps in combating many digestive related issues like constipation, bloating and diarrhoea. Apart from that, yogurt is a very good source for boosting your immunity levels.

Yogurt

  • Kale-

This leafy veggie has proven its magic in many aspects of health and is one of the highest recommended foods by doctors. Kale is mainly consumed for a better eye health, detoxifying the body, and also for a better wellbeing of your skin. These are just some of the reasons as to why it is on the list of foods to eat every day.

Kale

  • Cucumbers-

This yummy vegetable contains a lot of water and nutrients and hence is a must to eat every day. Cucumbers are generally very good in reducing the risks of chronic diseases like heart problems, cancer and autoimmune diseases. They are also a very good source of water, hence helps in hydration and also in weight loss.

Cucumber

  • Grapefruit-

One of the major reasons as to why people love grapefruit is that it helps in weight loss aggressively. The citrus factor of the fruit reduces chances of strokes in women and also helps in controlling our blood pressure and heart health. This is exactly why it is one of the foods to eat every day.

Grapefruit

  • Bell peppers-

These beauties are a wonder when it comes to maintaining our eye health. Due to its high vitamin C properties, it also helps in boosting our immunity to high levels. If you are pregnant, capsicums area great source of nourishment to your foetus.

Bell peppers

Now maybe you are not a person who can easily eat all this every day as you are a busy bee. But you can definitely incorporate healthy eating by simply eating homemade. Subscribe to healthy homemade meal plans now only from Masala Box, or simply download the app.

Recipe Thursday: How to Make Cheesy Vegetarian Chilli Mac

Looking to add some variety to your culinary expertise? A cheesy vegetarian chilli mac might just do the trick. A favourite among both kids and adults alike, this quirky take on a classic mac ‘n’ cheese is hit all the right flavour notes and is packed with all the good stuff your body needs. Make it for dinner, brunch or packed lunch, this one is a winner!

Chilli mac

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium-sized onion – diced

2 cloves of garlic – minced

2 tbsp flour

2 cups of diced tomatoes

1 ½ cups of tomato puree/sauce

2 cups of kidney beans (soaked overnight)

2 cups of black beans (soaked overnight)

2 cups of pinto beans (soaked overnight)

1 cup of corn kernels

2 cups of vegetable broth

2 cups of uncooked macaroni (elbow) pasta

1 cup of cheddar cheese

Method of preparation:
  • Sautee the diced onions and minced garlic in olive oil in a large pot on a medium flame for about 2-3 minutes, until the onions become transparent.
  • Add the flour to the sautéed onion and garlic mix and continue to stir the mixture for about 2 minutes. You can continue this step until the flour and chilli powder mix starts to form a coating at the bottom of the pot.
  • Drain water from the kidney, black and pinto beans. Add all the three varieties of beans, corn kernels, diced tomatoes and tomato puree to the pot along with the vegetable broth. Stir until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. While stirring, it’s important to make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
  • Add the uncooked elbow pasta to the mixture and stir until it’s combined with the bean-tomato mixture. Close the pot with a lid and cook until the water in the pot comes to a boil. It’s advisable to carry out this step over a medium flame. To avoid the formation of clumps, make sure you keep stirring the pasta mixture every now and then.
  • When the pot reaches a boil, turn the heat down so that contents continue to simmer. Let the simmering continue for another 10-12 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the pasta becomes tender, add the grated cheddar cheese to the pot and mix until all the cheese has melted.

Your cheesy vegetarian chilli mac is ready to be served!

Happiness Through Healthy Eating

Healthy eating habits, unlike common misconceptions, aren’t about restricting your diet or steering clear of foods you love to eat. Healthy eating is all about feeling energetic, improved health and mood – basically, feeling great. The amount of diet and nutrition advice that is out there can you leave you overwhelmed and confused. But the truth is, maintaining a healthy diet isn’t that difficult.

Healthy Eating

How Eating Habits Affect Your Mood

Everyone is aware of how healthy eating helps maintain a healthy weight and avoid weight-related ailments. What’s overlooked is how your diet has a serious effect on your mood and sense of wellbeing. Studies have linked diets consisting of processed meats, frozen meals, restaurant food and sugary snacks to increased susceptibility to depression, stress, bipolar disorder and anxiety. An unhealthy diet can even trigger serious mental health disorders such as ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

A diet that comprises of a lot of fruits and vegetables, more home-cooked meals and reduced intake of sugar and refined carbs can remarkably improve your mood and lower the risk of mental health issues.

How You Can Adapt Healthy Eating Habits    

Transitioning to a healthy diet doesn’t require giving up all your favourite foods or changing your eating habits all at once. Sudden changes in your diet often lead to cheating or giving up in the early stages. The best approach to switching to a healthy diet is to incorporate a few, easy-to-adapt health hacks – such as adding a portion to salad to your meals. Here are some simple steps you can adapt to make your diet healthier:

Eating more homemade food

Cooking your own meals or ordering homemade food rather than commercially-prepared, restaurant food makes it easier to monitor what you consume. When you eat homemade meals, you are consuming fewer calories as well as avoiding the chemical additives, added sugar and unhealthy fats that make you feel bloated and lethargic.

Simplify your diet

Health Tips

Instead of focusing on counting calories, try to approach your diet in terms of colours, variety and freshness of the ingredients. Try to minimize the intake of packaged, frozen and processed food and eat more food that is prepared using fresh ingredients.

Making the right diet changes

Eating HealthyWhile eliminating the unhealthy foods in your diet, it is imperative that you replace them with healthier alternatives. Replacing trans fats with healthy fats – eating a portion grilled salmon instead of a bucket of fried chicken – can improve your health. However, replacing animal fats with refined carbohydrates won’t help in any way.

Listen to your body

How you feel after a meal is a great way to determine if your meal choice was healthy. The healthier the meal, the better you feel. Unhealthy, junk food makes you feel bloated, tired and lethargic.

Drink loads of water

WaterDrinking enough water is an integral part of staying healthy. Water helps flush toxins and other waste products from the body. Dehydration can often cause tiredness, low energy and headaches. Keeping your body well-hydrated can also improve your overall eating habits as thirst is often mistaken for hunger.

Planning and moderating your diet   

Homemade FoodPlanning your diet is a great way to keep your diet in check. Moderating and portion control is yet another great way to maintaining your health. Eat the right amount of healthy, homemade food during the week and reserve the restaurant food for that weekend outing or a cheat day.

 

 

Make a lifetime investment by understanding how you can keep yourself healthy, make eating the right food choices. Happy World Health Day!

Recipe Thursdays: Thai Mango Salad with Peanut Dressing

With summer almost in full swing, mangoes are taking over the stands in fruit shops, grocery stores and supermarkets. Delicious when eaten just by itself, mangoes also make for a very versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of savoury dishes, from fish curry to salads. Salads are a great way to keep the body cool during the sweltering summer. Here’s a simple, mango salad in a delicious Thai peanut dressing that you can experiment with this mango season makes a great appetizer and even better main.

Thai Mango Salad

Ingredients For the Mango Salad:

1 small-sized head of lettuce. You can replace the lettuce with any leafy greens of your choice.

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into long strips.

3 ripe mangoes (you can use any kind), diced into small cubes

½ cup sliced onions

¼ cup cilantro

1/3 cup roasted peanuts

Pickled jalapenos as per your spice tolerance

For the peanut dressing

¼ peanut butter, the creamy kind

¼ lime juice or juice from 2-3 medium-sized lemons

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 pinch of red chilly flakes (if you like your food spicy)

Peanut dressing

Instructions

Combine all the ingredients for the mango salad in a large salad bowl and mix thoroughly.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a mixing bowl and whisk until its mixed thoroughly.

Drizzle a generous amount of the peanut dressing over the mixed the salad and toss it gently to mix. Voila, delicious Thai mango-peanut salad is ready for consumption!

You can add some grilled prawns or fish to give this salad your own twist. Happy cooking!

How to Make Homemade Ice Cream

There’s nothing like a scoop of delicious ice cream on a hot, summer day. Even better if it’s homemade. However, most of us don’t attempt making ice cream at home as the process requires an ice cream maker. But, what if you could make homemade ice cream this weekend without the use of an ice cream maker? Here’s a simple recipe to make smooth, creamy ice cream in just four steps.

Homemade ice cream

What you need:

Process of making homemade icecream2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

3 tablespoons of melted butter

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

The process…
  • Whip heavy cream in a bowl until it starts forming stiff peaks.
  • Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, butter, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl until it’s mixed thoroughly
  • Fold the condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream.
  • Transfer the ice cream mixture into an airtight container and freeze for 6 hours or until the mixture becomes firm.

Cinnamon ice cream

That’s it. Delicious, homemade cinnamon-vanilla ice cream is ready for consumption!

5 Delicious Watermelon Recipes to Try at Home

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of watermelon. Apart from being a delicious low-calorie diet, the fruit also packs antioxidants and electrolytes that play a vital role in keeping your body cool in this hot, humid weather.

Here are five ways you can use this water-rich fruit to the fullest this summer:

Frozen watermelon ice cubes

Watermelon

If you enjoy the fruit-infused water, then this one is a sure shot winner! Cut watermelon into small chunks and pop them in the freezer. You can use the frozen chunks in place of ice cubes to keep your drink cold and release that subtle, sweet delicious flavour we all love!

Dip it in dark chocolate and season with sea salt

Health Tips

Cut watermelons into big chunks and pat dry them well. Dip the dried watermelon chunks in dark chocolate and sprinkle sea salt on them before putting them in the fridge to set. This one is a definite must-try.

Drink it!

Watermelon Juice

A simple watermelon and mint agua fresca are just what you need to cool down this summer. Juice a mix of watermelon chunks, mint and maple syrup to enjoy the most easy-to-make, refreshing drink. You can also this mix to prepare cocktails on a Saturday night.

Make a salad

Salad

Very few things are as refreshing as a salad in this sweltering summer heat. Cut the watermelon into small cubes and toss it with some cucumber and feta cheese for the perfect balance of sweet and salty. You can experiment with other combinations of vegetables and fruits as well.

Cold soups

Cold soups

It can’t get much simpler than throwing a bunch of ingredients into a blender and transferring into a bowl, ready for consumption. A watermelon gazpacho requires minimal prepping and makes a lip-smacking appetizer. You can find the recipe here.

What are your favourite ways to consume watermelons this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

 

6 Body Cooling Foods to Beat the Heat This Summer

Summer can leave us dehydrated and feel deprived of energy. With the mercury levels soaring higher each day, it is important that we find ways to overcome the impact summer has on our bodies. Keeping your body heat in check can help prevent ailments such as stomach ulcers, rashes and boils on the skin, heat cramps, acidity and heartburn and excessive perspiration, among others. Incorporating body cooling foods in daily meal plans will not only balance our diets but also helps keep the body cool. Listed below are some cooling foods that can be included in our diet to fight the effects the sweltering weather has on our bodies:

Watermelon

Body cooling foods

Watermelon, a seasonal summer fruit, is 91.5% water. It’s a great way of fulfilling your body’s water requirement. The fruit also packs plenty of anti-oxidants. Make some freshly squeezed juice, fruit salads and chaats or just enjoy it by itself to keep your body well hydrated.

Coconut water

Coconut water

There is no better summer drink than coconut water. Available in abundance, this not-so-expensive drink is loaded with electrolytes, essential vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. Drinking coconut water regularly helps fight the hot weather and its negative impacts our bodies. Recent studies have also established that coconut water has cancer-fighting properties. Even more reasons to drink coconut water this summer!

Cucumber

cucumber

Rich in fibre, eating cucumber during the summer can work wonders in keeping any constipation troubles at bay. Use this water-rich vegetable in your salads or just eat them as a snack to stay as cool as a cucumber.

Curd/Yoghurt

Curd

Apart from being delicious, curd/yoghurt is a great coolant and has probiotic properties. It is a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen that can be used to prepare an array of dishes, both sweet and savoury. You can use curd to make spiced buttermilk, raita or sweet lassi. You can also add seasonal fruits to it and make a lip-smacking smoothie.

Mint

Mint

Mint is a cheap, easily available herb that you can find in most vegetable stores and markets. Adding mint in water, chai or curd is great for overall health. You can also use this herb to prepare mint chutneys and dips which make a great accompaniment to snacks. Including mint in your diet is a great way to stay cool and refreshed.

Onions

Onions

Who would have thought onions have cooling properties, right? Red onions especially are loaded with quercertin, a natural anti-allergen. Ranging from mild to pungent, the taste of raw onions may not appeal to everyone. You can chop them up and mix it with other vegetables to make salads. Yet another way to eat onions is to add it to your curries and raita. Adding onions to your food also helps protect you from sun strokes.

Apart from what’s mentioned above, you can also include loads of fruits and vegetables, especially the green leafy kind, in your diet to stay cool and healthy. What are your favourite foods to eat during summer? Let us know in the comments below.

Get to Know the Women Who Drive Masala Box

The growth of Masala Box over the past few years is attributable to its primary driving force, our amazingly talented home chefs! They have consistently assisted us in our efforts to make delicious, homemade food available at your doorstep by sharing their knowledge, skill and time and whipping up delectable dishes. On the occasion of Women’s Day, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate all the strong women who strive hard in their home kitchens and help us fulfil our goal of delivering homemade meals to hungry customers spread across two cities.

We caught up some of our home chefs and chatted about cooking, food, and of course, what Masala Box is to them.
Usha Moorthy, specializes in South Indian dishes, Bangalore

“After moving back to Bangalore for my son’s education, I wanted to spend more time with my family and decided not to continue with a full-time job. I was looking for a work-from-home job with flexible hours when I came across Masala Box on Facebook. Partnering with Masala Box has been like a dream come true for me, especially because I have always enjoyed cooking for other people. Through this partnership, I’m able to do just that and also learn how to cook new dishes in the process. It is a great feeling when people get to know me through the food I cook. Working with Masala Box is more than just an income source, it makes me feel independent and helps me overcome boredom and loneliness.”

 

Nisha Kattikaran, our Malayali cuisine expert, Kochi

“For me, Masala Box has been the perfect platform to exhibit my skills, talents and interests in cooking. My partnership with Masala Box has been comfortable, convenient and long mainly because of their efficient, organised working system. The highlight is the compatibility, I have the freedom to work based on my convenience and also choose dishes that I specialize in. Over the years, Masala Box has served as a platform for me to do a business of my own and make an earning. I’m not only happy but also proud to be associated with Masala Box as a chef.”

 

Nasrath, a Kochi-based home chef, is one of the stars behind our tasty Malabari delicacies

“I have always been passionate about cooking, it gives me a certain joy when I’m cooking for people. I enjoy the process of trying out new recipes and coming up with some of my own, it is my approach to staying stress-free. Joining Masala Box as a chef gave me the opportunity to prepare a variety of dishes in my very own kitchen and share it with people who love homemade food as much as me! I have become more confident through my partnership with Masala Box as the process involves planning, purchases and cooking at a fast pace. The Masala Box team are a bunch of sincere and dedicated people, occasionally convincing me to make more quantity to meet the high demand. Over the short time that I have been a Masala Box chef partner, they have become an extension of my kitchen, constantly communicating  with me and giving feedback.”

 

A Masala Box chef since 2014, Kinnari cooks up delicious North Indian food. Her signature cooking style is Gujarati cuisine

“I first heard of Masala Box through a newspaper ad –  a platform that provided opportunities to housewives like me to bring out their creative and entrepreneurial skills. Formerly, cooking was a passion that only my friends and family knew about. Ever since I joined Masala Box, I have been able to extend my passion into an exciting and fulfilling line of work. I have even learnt a thing or two about cooking over the course of these years.”

 

Gurpreet Kaur, specialises in Punjabi cuisine, Bangalore

“I came across Masala Box when I was searching for employment opportunities as a home chef on the Internet. Being a homemaker, you cook on an everyday basis. By partnering with Masala Box, we are able to turn an everyday routine into a means of income. We also get to learn some entrepreneurship from a food operations perspective. This partnership with Masala Box has been great, I feel proud of how I am able to serve home-cooked food to customers who are far from their family. It’s a wonderful experience.”

 

Gitima, Specialises in Assamese Food, Bangalore

 “I used to work as an HR for eight and a half years before I got married and moved to Bangalore in 2016. Since then, I haven’t been working full-time as there were family emergencies which were stalling my search for a job. Living in a city like Bangalore as a single income family can get difficult. I was dependant on my husband for almost everything. I was researching on how I could make cooking – my passion, a source of income when I came across Masala Box. After partnering with Masala Box, I have been able to earn my own income which makes me feel independent and self-sustained. The flexibility of the job gives me plenty of time to finish all my household tasks, spend with my family, and most importantly, tend to my health when I’m sick.”

 

Kalpana, Rajasthani cuisine expert, Bangalore

“I found out about Masala Box on Facebook. It’s been three months since I started my partnership with them and it’s been a great experience so far. I like how cooperative and helpful the team are, I’m able to choose my own working days and cook based on my convenience. Since I began my partnership, I also have had a steady source of income. It makes me feel great to be earning by cooking for people who live away from their families and crave homemade food.”

In our quest to feed fresh, home-cooked food to hungry customers, we’ve been trying to do our part in empowering the most underutilized asset of our nation – homemakers. We hope to inspire more of you to pursue your dreams and achieve the impossible.

Happy Women’s Day!

 

Simplify Cooking with These Easy Kitchen Hacks

Simple kitchen hacks can a long way. When used effectively, they help simplify quite a few otherwise tedious tasks. Listed below are some tips and tricks that can turn you into a kitchen expert from an experimenting maverick!

Kitchen Hacks

  1.    Add a slice of bread while cooking cabbage to get rid of the smell.
  2.    Microwave lemons for a minute or place them in hot water for 20 minutes to extract maximum juice from them.
  3.    Place boiled potatoes in cold water to make the skin removal process easier.
  4.    Wash salad greens (leafy vegetables) in cold water to make them retain their crunchiness.
  5.    Add a pinch of sugar when you sauté spices for curries. This will make the vegetables look richer.
  6.    Shake eggs vigorously before boiling to make them look more yellow from the outside.
  7.    Placing a long spoon on top of the vessel while boiling milk or water will prevent the content from spilling over.
  8.    Slice both ends of cucumber, apply a pinch of salt on either side and rub with the chopped head till the ends get slightly frothy. This is supposed to do away with the bitterness of the vegetable.
  9.    Adding semolina or rice flakes to pakoras make them crunchier.
  10.  Rub your hands against a stainless steel vessel or against a steel sink to remove the smell of onions and garlic.
  11.   You can check the freshness of eggs by placing them in a bowl of water. The good ones sink and the bad ones float.
  12.  Stick a slice of bread to cut area of a cake (you can use toothpicks) to prevent it from getting stale.

Balancing the Protein Intake in Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Getting the required amount of protein in your everyday diet without consuming too much meat can seem tough, maybe even impossible. It can appear especially difficult if you are vegan or vegetarian and are looking to consume vegetarian protein or plant protein. Getting all the required nutrients and minerals is just a matter of following a healthy, wholesome diet. Protein-rich meats can be substituted by simple, everyday ingredients to get all the protein your body requires.

Listed below are some of the most easy-to-source, simple-to-cook sources of vegetarian protein:

  •  Legumes
    Legumes

Legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, green peas, soybeans, kidney beans, etc. are some of the most common ingredients used in vegetarian, Indian dishes. Legumes are a powerhouse of nutrients as they are rich in fibre, iron, phosphorous, potassium and B vitamins apart from protein. For instance, half a cup of cooked chickpeas contains about 7 grams of dietary protein. Dishes such as lentil curries and hummus are a great source of vegetarian protein and make a perfect substitute for meats. Legumes are often classified as incomplete proteins. However, when paired with rice, it makes a complete protein and can provide all the essential amino acids your body requires on a daily basis. Including dishes such as dal tadka, dal makhani, toor dal fry, channa masala, etc., are a simple, quick and delicious protein-fix.

  •  Tofu

    Vegetarian ProteinTofu, or bean curd, is a plant-based protein. It makes an excellent addition to several Indian dishes and is immensely popular as a vegan alternative for paneer (cottage cheese). Half a cup of tofu contains about 10 grams of dietary proteins. It is also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids including omega-3 fats, making it a heart-healthier alternative for high-fat meats that contain saturated fat. Curries, salads, noodles, etc. are some of the dishes that tofu can be incorporated into.

  • Heart-healthy Nuts

    Healthy Nuts

Including nuts such as cashews and almonds is a great way to incorporate plant-based protein into vegetarian and vegan diets. Furthermore, nuts are excellent sources of heart-healthy fats, dietary fibre and vitamin E besides being a vegetarian protein mine. About 23 whole almonds provide about 6 grams of protein, while around 17 cashews contain just over 4 grams of dietary protein.

  • Dairy Foods and Their Alternatives

Apart from the above, dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese are also great sources of vegetarian protein. Paneer, a fresh cheese used widely in Indian cuisine, contains about 17 grams of protein per cup. Calcium-fortified non-dairy substitutes, such as soy milk and soy yoghurt, are also excellent sources of protein. A cup of milk or soy milk provides about 8 grams, and 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt contains about 13 grams of dietary protein.

These ingredients work great with Indian dishes and are easily available in almost all local stores. If you lack the time to prepare your own food, then you can choose to get a meal subscription plan that includes some or all of the above-mentioned vegetarian goodness in their meal plan. That way, you can still get that vegetarian protein and keep your protein game strong!