YADAV RAJ JOSHI
KATHMANDU: Welcome to the season of festivals and season of indulgence. Dashain — the longest and biggest festival of Hindus — is also associated with some heavy indulgence when it comes to food.
The variety of food items during festivals may be quite tempting, but food scientists say people must pay heed to their recipe as well if they were to follow healthy eating. Food scientists suggested that people should eat less meat and diversify their food intake during Dashain. Eating less meet and diversifying food intake is best for health, says Promod Koirala, Senior Food Officer at the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control.
Meat consumption jumps seven times from 28 grams to 212 grams during the four days of Dashain — from Saptami to Dashami. The quantity is almost double the prescribed daily dietary intake of 100 grams of red meat — meat of buffalo, goat and sheep — and 150 grams of chicken.
“Eating more meat may cause various health problems. It is not good for people suffering from uric acid,” he said, stressing that urban people should be more conscious. For proteins to be properly digested, one needs physical exercise which lacks in urban people.
According to Koirala, people with low physical work have to concentrate on consuming vegetables like cucumber, carrot and radish to stimulate their digestive system. Paneer and tofu could be the best options for vegetarian supplement during Dashain. They are high in energy and are tasty as well. But its consumption must also be limited depending upon physical exercise and age. “Children can eat 100 grams of paneer or 400 grams of tofu at a time. But elders have to be conscious,” he said. The quantities of paneer and tofu mentioned provide the same amount of calorie. Eating too much paneer could be dangerous to people with heart problems because of its fat content.
“People with over 1.25 body mass index must stop eating paneer and opt for tofu because it has almost zero fat,” he said, “Tofu also has fibre that helps ease constipation.” Constipation is a major problem among fat people.
Phosphorus and calcium found in tofu and paneer are good for bone and muscle development. Paneer and tofu are better sources of phosphorus and calcium at a low cost, he added.
About 1.8 million kg of meat — goat, sheep and chyangra — excluding buffalo meat is consumed in the Kathmandu Valley during Dashain. Buffalo is the major source of meat in the country with more than 60 per cent share in total meat consumption, according to the Ministry of Agriculture Development.
How much you are consuming
Food Meat Tofu Paneer
Protein (gram) 21.4 16.5 23.7
Fat (gram) 3.6 0.3 26
Carbohydrate (gram) 0.0 1.6 0.6
Minerals (gram) 1.1 1.1 1.9
Calorie (kilo) 118 71 331
Calcium (mg) 12 18.4 141
Phosphorus (mg) 193 144 435
Fibre (gram) 0.0 0.03 0.0
(In per 100 gram, Source: Department of Food Technology and Quality Control)