What exactly is healthy Indian Food? It can be safely assumed that the vast spectrum of cooking techniques and ingredients available across India has led to a wide spectrum of Indian recipes, each as diverse as the culture they represent. The varied climate of this area, ranging from the arid plains of Rajasthan to the tropical and hilly areas of Kerala, has led to a wide spectrum of ingredients becoming readily available while at the same time local cuisine has grown to be reflective of social and religious identity, with differing preferences and taboos dictating which ingredients are preferable. This has also led to an eclectic usage of cooking methods that do not necessarily reflect the regional variation prevalent across the various states. What are these ingredients?
Roti is probably one of the most commonly used ingredients in healthy Indian food. While the variety of rotis available has led many to assume they are used rarely in this part of the country, the simple truth is they are used prevalently in virtually every part of India. The word ”roti” means ”inflamed or cooked rice” – hence the literal meaning is ”roasted rice”. While traditional versions of Rotis are of the chapatti type (kerriyas), the modern version is much more diverse with ingredients such as chick peas, tomatoes, onions and even spinach incorporated into the making of modern day rotis.
A big plus of traditional Indian cuisine is that it is made with plain, natural ingredients, which make it ideal for consumption by all age groups and is therefore ideal for nutrition and fitness. While this may sound like the best thing about traditional Indian diet, one needs to be careful not to fall into the trap of following this as the only diet for you. Rather, healthy Indian food should ideally comprise a blend of several different styles of eating, along with ensuring you have a well-balanced diet.
One of the best ways to incorporate healthy Indian foods into your diet is to include legumes (in moderation) in your meals. Legumes provide many of the necessary nutrients to keep you going through the day while at the same time being relatively low on the Glycemic Index (GI). The best way to get your recommended dose of fiber (less than 40 grams per day) from legumes is to make sure you consume them in the form of whole beans. This means you should avoid most varieties of dried legumes such as chickpeas, Lima beans and pinto beans. While dried beans are low in GI, consuming them in any form will leave you feeling full for longer, thus increasing your ability to lose weight.
Grains (including millet and barley) are another area where you can include healthy Indian food in your diet without increasing your calorie intake. Grains such as wheat and oats contain high amounts of protein and are easily digested by the body, making them a perfect combination with a wide variety of Indian dishes. Of course, it is also important to remember that when incorporating grains into your diet, you need to be careful about the amount of calories that you take. Too much of a good thing can be just as bad as taking too little. Try and consume balanced diets of cereals, whole-grain breads, pastas and other simple carbohydrates.
When looking for healthy, Indian foods to eat, you might want to consider including one of the best known traditional Indian recipes – the tandoori chicken. A traditional recipe of tandoori chicken contains ingredients like garlic, coriander, cumin, red chillies, oil, spices, and lemon. To make this dish healthier, you can add just a small dab of oil onto the outside of your chicken; use yogurt to soak your chicken in, and then add your dry ingredients to the sauce and cook for about two minutes. Once done, serve with your favorite pickle, and enjoy! Tandoori chicken is a delicious way to warm up your belly on a cold winter’s day and can also be enjoyed by all the family, which is something you should be able to enjoy at home no matter what cuisine you prefer.