From being an actor to a single mother, Juhi Parmar juggles the various facets of life with ease. The 40-year-old has been quite active on social media sharing about her lockdown life, cooking, DIY remedies, tarot card readings, and spending family time with her parents and daughter Samairra.
Parmar, who shot to fame with the TV serial Kumkum, is currently addressing the nutritional needs of Indian consumers with her association with Tata Sampann’s campaign #SampannPoshanThali.
“The common thing between Tata Sampann and my thought process related to food is the fact that they give as much importance to home-grown, home-made food, as do I. For me, the idea of nutrition stems from my mom’s cooking which was just a simple Indian thali as we call it. Together, we are trying to draw attention to the wealth of wisdom, nutrition and health that Indian food has an abundance of,” she said.
Do you cook?
I do cook, though not on a daily basis. These days, I love cooking healthy dishes which my daughter will enjoy eating. Hence, my cooking usually revolves around whipping up something which is full of nutrition and yet delicious enough for her to enjoy. I also enjoy doing some experiments in the kitchen — to make fried food in a non-fried way. The idea is to enjoy everything but make sure we are eating without harming our bodies.
What is the importance of ‘ghar ka khaana‘?
I love ghar ka khaana. Honestly, I love a good well-cooked homely meal and I’ve grown up that way. My mother is a fabulous cook and hence our tiffin would always have the best of foods. Till date, all my friends love ‘mummy ke haath ki pav bhaaji’. I don’t think I can ever cook as well, but for me, any day, home-cooked food is my preference which is why I tend to carry my own tiffin even on sets. It’s healthy, cooked in less oil, hygienic, and as per my taste.
I truly believe, if one wants a perfect balance of nutrition every day, one need not look beyond the simple thalis we have in India.
Can you tell us about the little ways in which you make your meals nutritious?
I try to make sure we are avoiding too much oil and deep-fried food at home. Our food is generally a good Indian meal which consists of vegetables, protein as well as the usual roti and rice. I stay away from sweets and prefer munching on dry fruits or fruits. And, of course, stay hydrated!
What’s your take on fitness?
Fitness has to be a way of living, something incorporated into your lifestyle! And for me, fitness isn’t just about physical fitness but also about taking care of our emotional and mental well-being. Address the concerns whether they are physical or emotional and find solutions, rather than running from the problems.
What is your go-to exercise?
Dancing! I love dancing with my daughter, it is a great stress buster and helps me stay fit. I am not a big gym person; I’d rather do some activity with my daughter or go out for a walk. Movement is key.
Eating every two hours, eating healthy and right which includes a good home-cooked meal, staying hydrated, and doing simple exercises like just walking is enough to lead a good healthy lifestyle.
What’s the one secret you would like to share with other mothers?
Being a mother is a full-time responsibility. I will always be a mom first and Samairra will always be a priority. Irrespective of how packed my day is, I always take time out for her. Be it taking a break from work and just watching her grow up or just always making sure the night ends with cuddles and snuggles with her, she is my number 1. Children need to be heard; they need time. No matter how many toys we buy for them, nothing can replace quality time. And hence when I’m with Samairra, I prefer staying off my phone and giving her undivided attention, which is most important for children.
Give us a peek into your cheat day…
It’s important to not go cold-turkey and so allowing yourself some room here and there keeps one motivated. Hence, a cheat day can be one in which Samairra is craving a delicious burger and we decide to whip up some good burgers at home and have them. Or sometimes it can be eating out with the family or just ordering in.
Your suggestion for children who are picky eaters?
At some point, all children are picky eaters, as is Samairra. As a mom, just like most moms, I keep finding ways to make nutritious food and make it look “fun” so our kids would have it. I have learned if I involve Samairra in the cooking process, then she feels extremely proud of her creation and is eager to eat it (yes, even if it is healthy). I’ve also learned to hide the vegetables in various recipes and make sure the nutrition goes in.
How was the pandemic experience for you as a mother and as a woman?
The pandemic was a time well spent at home with family. I think we grew closer as a family as we were confined in the walls of our home and yet we had to cook, clean, and even give each other haircuts. Honestly, the self-sufficiency was also an amazing phase and we learnt to celebrate birthdays and so many other special days by just being with each other and yet making it special. Each celebration felt more memorable because of the challenges involved. We’ve all learnt through the pandemic to value the day-to-day luxuries we had, but with it, also learnt there is only so much that is truly important.
How do you ensure your daughter’s screen time is limited?
While with online school and classes, she doesn’t have a choice but to be onscreen constantly, I don’t allow her to watch too much TV or be on the phone. Instead, we try and include playtime, reading, playing board games and spending time with the family into her routine so she has plenty of off-screen time. As a parent, it is very important for me to control her screen time.
How have your fitness goals changed over the years?
With all this conversation around weight loss, there is one important thing everyone embarking on any sort of a health journey needs to keep in mind: it is a slow process. You have to stay positive through it, and your goal should be focused on a healthier lifestyle and not a number on a scale or some tape. Being thin isn’t the goal, being healthy is. You just need to work towards becoming the best possible version of yourself.