Food talk with Nandita Iyer

Nandita Iyer is a very popular and well respected name in the field of nutrition and food. She is well versed with the art and science of food. That explains the fact that she is a qualified doctor in nutrition and an Uber popular Food writer with a blog that is very widely read! I have been following her for a while on social media. She is  approachable, globe-trotting and a very interactive person. So I thought that I will chat with her about my favorite topic – Food! Her thoughts about Cheese, Oily food and Maggi made me happy! Very Happy!


Tell us a little more about yourself

​I’m a medical doctor by qualification with a specialization ​in Nutrition. I work as a nutrition counselor and freelance writer. I also have a food blog –Saffron Trail, where I’ve been sharing recipes since 2006.

Is India eating right now-a-days? All sorts of concoctions and funny stuff are being peddled as snacks/food now! What’s your take?

​The fast food culture has indeed taken the country by storm. No one has the time to cook 3 meals a day, which explains the mushrooming of food delivery services in India. In Bangalore, I hear of one new such company every week.​ ​With people working crazy hours, poor work-life balance, it is indeed tough to focus on cooking healthy food.​

The number of bachelors living by themselves is very high now, are there any simple rules that these fine young men can follow to cook and eat healthy?

Everyone must know to make a few basic healthy meals. If one learns to use a pressure cooker, a healthy meal can be ready in under 15 minutes – throw in grains, dals, veggies (and meats if you are a meat eater) with spices and a pulao or khichdi is ready. Learning to cook eggs in different ways is also a big saviour when it comes to cooking healthy in the shortest time.

Please help us break the suspense, cheese is bad and fattening or good and filling? There are exponents of both schools of thought running around now

I would say that moderation is key. Each day a new research proves the earlier held theory wrong. But no one can die of moderation – so be it cheese, ghee, butter, coconut oil, everything in moderation is what I believe in.​

Avoid Oily foods, fried stuff and spicy stuff if you are over 35! What do I eat then? Cookies and Water? Isn’t this unfair?

The word ‘avoid’ is slippery territory. While one can avoid certain foods for a week or a few months, it is not a permanent solution. And spices are actually good for you. Unless one is suffering from reflux or some such disorders, when very spicy (hot) food can lead to heartburn. Fried stuff once is a while is perfectly okay.

Does Zero Calorie food exist in our universe? What’s the closest one can get to it? And is it  healthy to eat it regularly?

Sorry, not aware of any zero calorie foods  except coke zero and water.

Women are by default brilliant cooks and men are the slackers – this is the majority opinion, agree?

Not at all! If men were forced to take on cooking as a domestic responsibility, I’m sure they’d be as good as women or better. The world has more male chefs than female.

How much of a role can Tech play in cooking and eating healthy? 

Apps that help tracking your food, exercise, providing healthy calorie-counted recipes are all ways how technology helps in eating healthy​

Please share one simple recipe to whip up when two/three people arrive without notice and it’s the middle of scorching summer.

My favorite go-to recipe would be a veggie pulao made in the pressure cooker, big bowl of cucumber raita and microwave roasted papads.​

Maggi or No Maggi?

Maggi is as good or as bad as any ready to eat food. So eat too much of it, and you are doing the body as much damage as regular intake of any refined food would. Regarding presence of toxic elements etc. that of course needs to be checked out.​

What’s your take on weaning today’s young folks away from fast food and colas that seem to be what they thrive on?

Today’s young folks are better at understanding things and then taking a decision themselves, rather than being forced to follow what we think is right. Teaching them the importance of eating good wholesome meals and keeping anything refined or ready-to-eat as occasional treats, inculcates the habit of healthy eating from their early days which they will stick to when they grow up. 

What is your advice to aspiring food bloggers who are starting out?

It’s a good time to be a food blogger. Be focussed and consistent in blogging, produce good quality content and it is bound to be rewarding.

Thanks a lot Nandita for chatting with me! This was very interesting!


About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

View all posts by Shakthi →