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8 Apr

A budget diet plan to stay in shape

A diet plan does not solely depend on fancy, expensively-priced food. Busting the myth that the most expensive foods help you give the best result, we bring you a diet plan that is perfect for the to-be-wed on a budget

When it comes to your big day, trousseau and jewellery shopping often eat up most of your budget, right? Very rarely does a to-be-wed invest a heavy sum in pre-wedding fitness; your frugal mind gives you one too many penny-pinching reasons to steer clear from that road to fitness that mockingly does cost an arm and leg! Even something as simple as a healthy diet today comes with a big price tag, but there is absolutely no need to go for the fancy names and products that are available in the market these days, say nutritionists. “A balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fat can be obtained from the normal food cooked at home. You can cut food costs by eating more meals at home and by making sure they feature some of the healthiest foods from the market— whole grains, vegetables, and beans, lentils, eggs, chicken and fish,” says Shalini Bhargava, Director, JG’S Fitness Centre. Eating a healthy diet needn’t be prohibitively expensive. In fact, reducing your use of processed food in favour of fresh, whole foods can be more economical, not to mention healthier and more diet-friendly. “Focus on adding more food items that are nutritionally dense, naturally filling, and of course delicious. A to-be-wed on a road to fitness can do this by focusing on healthy carbs—mainly fibre-rich fruits and vegetables paired with lean proteins such as lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy—at meal and snack time. Fibre and protein add bulk to a meal and they digest slowly, so they are more filling and satisfy hunger longer than refined carbs. Remember, nature provides the highest quality nutrients in foods and our bodies are equipped to absorb and use them for optimal benefit,” opines Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, a registered dietitian from New York.


Smart substitutes

When budgets are tight, the smart way forward is to find pseudo-foods that can proxy for their steeply priced, up-market healthy bites. “Foods such as oats, flak seeds and protein supplements are not very budget-friendly and can be expensive. So, leafy greens (mustard, mint, fenugreek or collard) that contain protein, vitamin K, C, and A, dietary fibre, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and more are pennywise and easily available,” explains Shalini, adding, “Other options such as cabbage, which is both, affordable and nutritionally dense, or spinach that is rich in both, minerals and vitamins, fibre and protein or even carrots, which contain a good amount of vitamin A, good carbs, and a little bit of everything else are not only foods that generally make it to the everyday grocery list, but are also easy on the pocket in comparison.”


Fare and fettle

Besides healthy eating, exercise is equally important to sculpt yourself a chiseled, svelte frame by the time your wedding day arrives. “Daily exercise will not only tone the body and make it look better, but will also improve the skin, making it look radiant,” advices Shalini. She further adds, “Exercise will improve your stamina and endurance, which is extremely vital for to-be-weds who are on their toes planning and prepping for their big day. If budget is a constraint, then there are many options like walking, jogging, swimming or other home exercises that require only effort, willingness and time, but no money.”


A pocket-friendly diet plan

Early morning: 1 glass of warm water + quarter lemon + quarter tsp cinnamon powder

Breakfast: Half bowl daliya upma /oats upma + 150 ml skimmed curd or egg white omelette (4 egg whites + veggies) with 1 multigrain bread slice or cucumber ragi pancake

Mid-morning: 1 cup lemon grass tea + 1 fruit

Lunch: 1 bowl sprout salad/ vegetable raita / egg white salad/ chicken salad + 2 small multigrain rotis OR Half bowl brown rice + 1 bowl vegetable (gourds – bottle gourd/pointed gourd/ridge gourd/ snake gourd/ pumpkin) [avoid potato, yam] + 1 bowl dal / sprouts/ 100 gm chicken/ fish (palm size) + 1 glass thin buttermilk

Tea time: 1 cup lemon grass tea + handful of roasted chana

Dinner: 1 bowl sprout salad/ vegetable raita / egg white salad/ chicken salad + 1 small multigrain roti OR Quarter bowl brown rice + 1 bowl vegetable (gourds – bottle gourd/pointed gourd/ridge gourd/ snake gourd/ pumpkin/ brinjal/ cabbage/ cauliflower/ green tomato/ capsicum/ lady finger) [avoid potato, yam] + 1 bowl dal / sprouts/ 100 gm chicken/ fish (palm size) + 2 glasses thin buttermilk

Bed time: 1 glass of warm water with 1/2 lemon

Post-workout: 1 fresh date + 3 to 4 egg whites or 1 bowl curd or 200 ml low fat milk (within 20 mins)


— Inputs by Sneha Gala, Nutrition Expert, Gold’s Gym India

Lead Photo: Jena Jezy

Lynn Lobo / [email protected]
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