While many people have opened services to provide special COVID meals to those in need, there has been some confusion as to what patients should eat.
Chef Saransh Goila, who has been curating a list of COVID meal providers across the country, took to social media recently to address the confusion. He suggested that khichdi is the “safest bet” for COVID-19 patients.
“While each person has his or her needs according to their body type – a khichdi fits all (you can do a millet one too for people who can’t do rice). Pair with some protein – add enough veggies and there is a complete meal,” the chef wrote on Instagram.
He added, “This one-pot meal wonder is quite the saviour for millions across our country today and I feel we don’t talk about it enough, always underrated and ever so humble.”
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Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, chief nutritionist/dietician at Apollo Hospitals told indianexpress.com that khichdi is an option for COVID-19 patients since it is “high in protein and easy to digest”. However, one need not stick to boiled food or khichdi only, she added.
So, what can a COVID-19 patient eat?
“A simple homecooked meal comprising vegetables, lentils, rice, and multigrain rotis is the best for a person recovering. This is a complete meal that meets all requirements of the body of unsaturated fats, fibers, proteins and essential vitamins,” the nutritionist said.
Food items that are natural sources of vitamins, dietary fiber, folate, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants should be part of the daily diet. Besides, calorie-dense foods like rice, potatoes, cereal and whole grains need to be added to the diet to restore energy in the body, which otherwise gets depleted.
One should make sure that the meals are hot and hygienic. While the portions can be small, they should have adequate protein intake.
Patients are also advised to drink lots of fluids throughout the day.
“In case of stomach upset, simple and easy to digest veg khichdi, dal rice, sambhar rice, curd rice, and soup and toast are good options. Junk foods with empty calories and saturated fats, fried food and drinks that are sugary need to be completely avoided,” Dr Rohatgi added.