Article published in Pune Mirror Daily 11 Oct 2013
Before he begins a charming correspondence with Nimrat Kaur’s character in The Lunchbox, it is the delicious,wholesome meal she accidentally sends him in his lunchbox that Imran Khan’s character falls in love with. The everyday professional is not too different from this film’s protagonist, in that the lunchtime provides a tasty respite from his prosaic nine-to five pattern, and it’s cherry on the icing (sometimes, literally) when the contents of this lunchbox are tasty as well as healthy.
We asked five city-based professionals to share what they carry in their lunchboxes with us and got nutritionist Dr Geeta Dharmatti to assess them. Here is what we found.
SOUTH IN THE MOUTH
VIJAY DESAI, Musician
I’m a fan of my mother’s cooking so I alternate between South Indian dishes like masala dosa, idli chutney or vada sambar prepared by her in my lunchbox. At times, I also like to carry some sev upma. And every meal is accompanied by home-made sweets like barfee or shira.
GEETA SAYS: The Udupi dishes mentioned as well as the sweet dishes are both very high in carbohydrates. For a sitarist who needs a sharp mind and strong wrists, it is a good option but I recommend adding a vegetable to complement the high carbohydrate load and to control energy levels.
BHINOY JAPHER, Techie
If there’s an early dinner planned after work, I carry a bowlful of oats and a single fruit in my lunchbox. Otherwise it’s usually a chapati and egg curry and I finish it off with a glass of buttermilk.
GEETA SAYS: This is a pretty decent choice of food items for a corporate worker. Fruits are always a good option. Oats are fibrous and low in saturated fat and cholesterol but it’s a good idea to have it as a porridge with low fat milk, which is a good protein source. They can also be paired up with sprouts, which will also provide a unique flavour addition. Chapati and egg curry need some fiber to fill the nutritive gap so salad will be a good supplement to go with it.
SULEKHA DEUSKAR, Banker
I prefer my regular diet to be light so I don’t carry any rice. My lunchbox contains a simple Maharashtrian fare — two phulkas (small chapatis), one subji (a good mix of pulses and gourds) and one koshimbir (cooked, runny salad) made of carrot, beetroot or cabbage. I also order a bowl of fresh yogurt to end the meal with.
GEETA SAYS: This meal is perfect for a person with a sedentary desk job. It has a good combination of carbohydates, proteins, vitamins and minerals so there’s nothing that needs to be added to or subtracted from it, really.
Usually, I carry two rotis, dal (yellow or black), a subji and a bowl of raw sprouts. This is washed down with some watereddown curd.However, if I’m travelling, I don’t get time to prepare an elaborate meal so I just pick up a sandwich and some salad (raw cut vegetables, lightly seasoned).
GEETA SAYS: This is an excellent combination of foodstuff for someone who has to shoulder a lot of responsibilities at work. The meal is perfectly balanced in carbohydrates (rotis) which will give him energy, proteins (dal, curd, sprouts) and fibres. I only suggest regularly alternating between the type of vegetable – for instance, carry a cruciferous veggie on one day and a green leafy one on the next and so on. Travelling diet has to be easy to carry and healthy so a sandwich which has dry carbs is the best bet but he can also opt for a chapati roll. Add a fruit as well, since it’s also easy to pick up, and some fresh buttermilk if possible.