Indulging in Ayurveda’s six tastes, Indian-style
Purvi Kamaliya, a travel enthusiast from India, still remembers the healthiest lunch of her life. “It was in the state of Gujarat, India. The lunch plates there are typically prepared, keeping the six tastes mentioned in Ayurveda, in mind. The food is wholesome, including grains, pulses (any dry legume that grows in a pod), dairy items, and perfectly balanced oil, combined with ghee (clarified butter). This food isn’t just healthy, but also unbelievably lip-smacking,” she says. The delicious, wide-ranging variety of lunch foods in this region include cooked, green vegetables seasoned with Indian spices, known locally as undhiyu, lentils cooked with a perfect blend of sweet, sour, pungent, salty, bitter, and astringent tastes, rice, and soft chapatis, cooked on an open fire, and greased with ghee. “Barley chapatis, seasoned with curry made from spiced up curd, (dhokla), are a distinctive dish. This scrumptious meal ends with a glass of buttermilk, mixed with cumin seed powder.” Spices and ingredients typically used in the preparation of these foods include dried fenugreek leaves, and seeds, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, chili powder, turmeric powder, lemon juice, and bay leaves.
You want (German) kraut juice with that?
In Germany, a healthy lunch is often built around spätzle, a German noodle made from healthy, nutrition-filled spelt flour. Guy Arthur, an American who runs an English language school here, recommends linsen mit spätzle, a super healthy version made from boiled lentils, mixed with garlic, and vinegar. “This healthy, traditional German lunch is, of course, always served with field salad, topped with shredded carrots. Germans love to make this dish extra healthy, by eating it with a nice glass of probiotic kraut juice,” he says.
Local produce equals healthy eating in Switzerland
What happens when a registered dietitian has to leave sunny San Diego, and relocate to Switzerland, for her husband’s job? Amazingly healthy lunches, that’s what. “For lunch, the Swiss offer a wide variety of fresh salads (insaladas) at every restaurant, filled with local produce. By starting my meal off with a bowl of veggies, I begin to get satiated quickly from all the fiber. But, in order to still enjoy some of the delicious cheese, and bread, that’s in abundance in this country too, I’ve taken to splitting a pizza with the whole table. The pizza crust in Switzerland is so paper thin, that it’s just the right portion of delicious carbs to satisfy my fix without over doing it!” explains nutrition consultant, Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT. Birchermüesli, made especially healthy with high protein Swiss yogurt, and fruit, such as apples, and bananas, is another popular on-the-go lunch meal in this country.