To matter how hard you try, it's difficult to stick to a healthy diet for long, especially if you have grown up eating food loaded with calories. You can't suddenly switch over to raw vegetables and boiled meat if fried is what you have enjoyed all along.

By Hina Bakht

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Published: Thu 26 Feb 2004, 2:13 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:37 AM

And that's the reason why most diets don't seem to work. After following a healthy food routine, dieters generally go back to their old habits and quickly pile back the pounds they may have lost.

However, The World Trade Centre Hotel in collaboration with Dr Akel's Clinic hopes to change that with 'The Right Bite'. It includes a series of healthy cooking demonstrations that go beyond healthy eating. Starting on February 28, the classes will be held twice a month and would be conducted by Executive Chef of The World Trade Centre Hotel, Monal Malhotra along with Nathalie Haddad, dietician at Dr Akel's Clinic. Says Nathalie, "Aim of The Right Bite is to provide you with recipes that you can improvise and stick to through the year. Most of us are aware of the foods to avoid or to choose for heart disease, weight loss, blood pressure, but have difficulty transforming these guidelines into appetising dishes to be enjoyed on a daily basis. The Right Bite will provide you with recipes, guidelines and techniques to incorporate in your homes that provide healthy and delicious meals for the entire family."

Also, we are so busy focusing on food that we tend to overlook the role water plays in dieting. Points out Nathalie, "Water is essential to good health. In fact, it is the combination of food and right hydration that helps you achieve your ideal weight and keeps you fit."

The first session is aimed at weight loss and includes a starter, main course and dessert that have been created by drawing from several Far Easter cuisines including Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese with some European influences thrown in, especially in terms of presentation. Stresses Chef Monal, "Apart from the taste, it's important for the food to look appetising. The more colourful a plate looks the more appetising it would be. Generally, when people eat healthy they end up making food that looks terribly boring and unexciting. Never do that as you as you can never eat something that doesn't look appealing."

Chef Monal has over two decades of experience and has worked with some of the most prestigious names in the industry including the Sheraton and Meridien in Delhi, Oberoi in Mumbai, Holiday Inn in Bahrain, Forte Grand in Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah Beach and now the World Trade Centre Hotel in Dubai. He believes in eating healthy no matter where he is. Says he, "Always read the labels on your food. Also, as much as possible go for the low-fat varieties. They are far more healthy."

Monal doesn't like to mix too many flavours. Says he, "When you do that you are neither here nor there. I, in fact, like to experiment more with the presentation."

The best part about the The Right Bite is it gives you the freedom of replacing the ingredients according to your preferences. Explains Monal, "We have selected the dishes in a manner that you can easily choose your ingredients according to your likes and dislikes. For example the chicken recipe would work equally well for fish and if you don't like mangoes in your dessert you can replace them with any other fruit of your choice."

What really makes the sessions interesting and worthwhile are the many nutrition, health and cookery tips given by the experts during the demonstration. Says Nathalie, "When it comes to weight loss and dieting there are many misconceptions that need to be corrected. Like it's not good to starve yourself at all because your metabolism slows down if you don't eat regularly. There are two ways of increasing it - one by exercising and the other by eating regularly every four to six hours. Also, it is very important to have breakfast to start your metabolism.

"All oils, including butter have the same calorie content. Generally, people use olive oil instead of butter thinking it has less calories but it isn't really so. Again, carbohydrates are not fattening. It's how you cook them. To get fat-free stock, refrigerate it for an hour, then remove the top layer of the fat."

Each session of The Right Bite focuses on a different health aspect and costs AED100 per person per session inclusive of the demonstration, lunch and recipe booklets. The programme is being sponsored by Siemens Home Appliances, Oasis Water and Spinneys.

The following recipe is low in calories but rich in vitamins so just enjoy - cooking as well as eating!

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