I am not a morning person. Many days, I wake up late and end up having a glass of warm milk with a health mix for breakfast. But, is this a healthy option? “No,” says V Kavitha, chief dietician at PSG IMSR, Coimbatore. “Health drinks should never be a substitute for healthy home-cooked food. But with busy lives, many choose ready-made drink mixes that are easy to prepare,” she says. An ideal health drink should be balanced in nutrition.
“There are many factors that should be taken into consideration. For example, the method of processing the ingredients is important to get its right nutritional benefits. Wrong techniques can bring it down, but there is no way for us to know how it happens in industries,” she says.
Manju P George, chief dietician, VPS Lakeshore Hospital, Ernakulam, adds that the selection of health drinks should be based on the macro nutrients (like energy, protein, carbohydrates, fat and fibre) and micro nutrients (like vitamin A, iron, vitamin D, iodine, zinc and magnesium) in it. One of the most important things to do is read the ingredient list on the box carefully. “Stay away from those that list stabilisers to increase shelf life. Look out for items that one can be allergic to, like nuts or milk products.” That said, remember that nutritional requirements differ from person to person.
Here are a few nutritionist-vetted health drinks available in the market.
Little Moppet is an organic multi-grain mix without preservatives, added flavours, sugar and salt. It contains millets and nuts that are sources of protein, fibre and calcium. These make the bones strong and boost muscle growth. The almonds in it help in brain development. “While the company claims that it can be given to a child above eight months of age, the nutritional requirements of a baby are determined by several factors, including birth weight and body composition. Packaged food should be offered to a child only after consulting a nutritionist,” says Kavitha.
Available for ₹363 for 200 gm. Visit https://shop.mylittlemoppet.com/shop/multigrain-health-drink-for-kids for details
Health Sutra Health Mix
It can be cooked with milk or water and has millets, pulses, and nuts and no added sugar. “It is balanced. The flax seeds in it are high in fibre and have lignans and omega-3 fatty acids which improve digestive health and lower LDL cholesterol. It is also good for the brain,” says Kavitha. As it does not have added sugar, it is suitable for people with diabetes.
Health Sutra Health Mix costs ₹110 for a 300 gm pack. Visit https://www.healthsutra.in/health-mix.php for details
Soulfull Millet Smoothix Almond
With vegetable proteins from pea, soya, grams and almond, Soulfull Millet Smoothix Almond helps to meet the daily protein requirements of a person. The powder can be added to milk and shaken well to make a drink. “Millets contain fibre, calcium, minerals and vitamins. Almonds contain mono-unsaturated fatty acids which help reduce LDL cholesterol. Since it has jaggery and milk solids, it cannot be recommended for people with diabetes and those who are lactose intolerant,” says Kavitha.
Available for ₹150 (for five sachets). Visit https://www.soulfull.co.in/products/soulfull-millet-smoothix-almond-5-sachet-pack-free-shaker for more details
Inner Being Ragi Chocolate Drink
This gluten-free drink does not have sugar or preservatives. It has plant proteins and ragi, rich in iron and calcium. It is good for muscle and bone development. The fibre content in it can help prevent constipation. However, “Cocoa-based products may be appealing in taste, but should be consumed moderately,” says Manju.
Available for ₹195 for 250 gms at https://www.foodwalas.com/products/ragi-chocolate-drink-mix