Fitness mantra 

A diet that works for working women
Hectic schedules keep working women on their toes and make them opt for calorie-dense, fast food

Women in India now participate in all activities such as education, sports, politics, media, art and culture, service sectors, science and technology, so they have to pack in a lot into their day. They face many challenges each and every day in both professional and personal areas but maintaining a healthy eating pattern sounds like the most trickiest one. Demanding bosses, impossible deadlines, family obligations, in short juggling between an out- of-control workload and domestic chores usually make it difficult to look at themselves especially at their daily diet and nutritional status.

The hectic schedule leaves them feeling stressed and tired. So simply being exhauted, they end up ditching usual meals and physical activities. Slouching on the sofa in front of the TV with a bowl of snacks seems to be the easiest work to do. Skipping breakfast, heavy dinner, long gaps between meals, lack of fibre-rich foods have become a trend nowadays.We make convenience the rule of the thumb today. Instead of taking a whole meal, everyone ends up grabbing big bites of fast-food with a cup of coffee or tea. All these calorie-dense stuff gives us an extra pack of calories and fats, nothing else. Dining out is not only an easier option today, but a fashion too.

Overworked professionals gives excuses like lack of time, boredom, burden of anxiety and stress not to cook at home but to lean on foods from outside restaurants. Smoking and drinking are also the in trend as people think itís refreshing and an easier option to stay away from all the tension. These altogether encounter a rising number of women who are prone to develop non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, other cardiovascular diseases, obesity and type-II diabetes mellitus or "metabolic syndrome". According to recent research, 39 per cent women are suffering from metabolc syndrome in India. It is high time that we look at our diets and work on them before it is too late to control health issues.

So here are some tips regarding nutrition for working women to stay fit, healthy and energetic the whole day. At first, break your eating habits in three meals and two snacks during the day. The old rule "breakfast like a king and dinner like a pauper" still holds good. Start your meal with a fibre-rich light breakfast which is ultimately going to incresase your meatbolic rate. The first meal of the day can begin with a small amount of wholemeal cereal, a low-fat spread, a fruit along with a glass of milk. During mid- morning, instead of munching on dryfruits a little amount of popcorn (plain) or sprouts or a fresh fruit is good for those who get hunger-pangs. For lunch, if you are compelled to take outside food; combine it with a bowl of salad, a low-fat starter, probably baked or grilled, along with cereals, pulses, veggies and curd. An ideal snack, followed by lunch, would be a vegetable sandwich without breadspread.

Dinner should be light but a complete whole meal consisting of roti/rice, vegetables, dal etc. This should be taken two hours before bedtime.