1. Cold curd rice with ripe mangoes, tempered with curry leaves, red chilli and mustard), with a side of cucumber-tomato kachumber, is a light yet complete meal (300-350 calories). Salad veggies add hydration while yogurt’s probiotics aid digestion.
2. Mousse of tinned tuna and apples(or melon) with bread fingers and cold crudités (cucumbers, kakdi, carrots, apples, radish, water chestnuts or singhara, jicama or mishrikand is a power lunch of quality protein and all essential electrolytes and minerals: vitamin B6, selenium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. 300 calories.
3. Fruit sundae with one scoop frozen-flavoured yogurt, one scoop no-sugar sorbet, diced fruit (mango, melons, strawberries, chikoo, papaya), muesli for crunch, fruit coulis for sauce, a splash of low-fat cream and dark chocolate chips is 200-odd calories, yet satisfying. The fruits add hydration; yogurt supplies protein and satisfaction.
4. Roti rolls of cold tandoori chicken, cucumber slices, chilli and papaya are a perfect on-the-run meal for satiety that won’t weigh you down (220 calories).
5. Ginger and cantaloupe cold soupwith honey-sesame bread croutons, plus a skewer of grilled fish with lime and chilli make for an adventurous meal. Quality protein is laced with omega-3 fatty acids in fish, ginger is good for digestion and is anticarcinogenic too. Go easy on the croutons to restrict calories to 350.
6. Fruit-and-veg potato ‘chaat‘ with raw mango or guava, water chestnuts, tamarind juice, ripe mango, cucumber, pomegranate seeds gives you all the necessary vitamins and minerals (A and C, iron, calcium, potassium). Add a good handful of cold boiled chickpeas or a splash of yogurt for protein. Sprinkle flax, sunflower or melon seeds for fibre and beneficial fats. Satiety at 300 calories.
7. Paneer fruit-and-nut sandwich of thin-sliced brown bread, mashed and lightly seasoned paneer, slices of mango or melon and a teaspoon of chopped walnuts (don’t forget to add some pepper) has fibre and B vitamins and is important for digestion and hence, good skin. The fruits add the necessary electrolytes as well as vitamin A. Paneer provides protein. And it all adds up to 350 calories.
8. Mango/lychee and jamun lassi(no extra sugar, maybe a pinch of salt to taste) is perfect for those days when lunch must be quick and light (150-200 calories, so eat a good breakfast). Lychees have more vitamin C than oranges or lemons.
9. Cold roast tomatoes and tinned sardines/mackerel on lightly toasted bread (vegetarians can puree the tomatoes and stir in a can of corn) is light, refreshing and satisfying (350 calories ). It is rich in vitamin C from the tomatoes, and corn adds fibre and folic acid.
10. Chocolate pudding cheat: Whip a cup of hung curd, a bar of melted dark chocolate, the rind and juice of half an orange or lemon, and refrigerate till set. Now that’s a mouthful no one can say no to. The trick is to keep it a rare treat: It approaches 500 calories but has probiotics and protein from yogurt, vitamin C from the orange, and antioxidants from chocolate.
*All calorific values approximate.