Is Indian Food Healthy? Low-Calorie Indian Diet Recipes for Weight Loss

Are you a big foodie? Do you love food that has a lot of spices in it? Are you among the people who never compromise on the taste of food? Do you want your meals to be tasty, spicy, and nutritious at the same time?

If so, perhaps you are an Indian food lover. But a lot of people ask the question, is Indian food healthy? Can we lose weight by eating Indian food? What are some low-calorie Indian diets for weight loss?

Well, this article is going to give you a detailed description of Indian food for vegetarians as well as nonvegetarians. After reading this article, you will be able to understand whether Indian food is healthy or not. How can we make it healthy and how can we lose weight by eating Indian food?

Importance of Food in Indian Culture

India is a land of food lovers and certain delicacies have managed to make us die-hard fans of Indian food. Let us take the example of biryani. Today biryani is relished for its taste and flavor, whereas the story of biryani is not about the taste only if we look back at the 17th century.

indian-food-mix

The legendary queen Mumtaz, the wife of Shahjahan, visited the army barracks and found the Mughal soldiers looking weak and undernourished. She asked the chef to prepare a special dish by combining meat and rice to provide balanced nutrition to the soldiers.

The chef made a preparation that combined meat, rice fried in ghee, aromatic spices, and saffron and thus biryani was born. 5000 years of Indian food history is rich with many such stories where food was regarded as a source of good nutrition.

As the traditional recipes passed down from one generation to the next, they evolved to find different meanings. In modern India, grains provide 70% of calorie intake but which grains were grown and consumed changed over time. The essential feature of Indian food is the use of spices. Some that are endogenous to India are ginger, turmeric, black pepper, curry leaves, and holly leaves that are Tulsi.

Is Indian Food Healthy?

Yes, Indian food is healthy if cooked under proper hygiene or if it is cooked at home. The healthiness of Indian food also depends upon how much oil and spices are you adding to it. If it is cooked with less quantity of oil without excessive spices, it is very much healthy and nutritious.

is-indian-food-healthy

Indian restaurants takeaways are often a family affair so it is still homemade and hygienic. Here is the food list that you should order at an Indian restaurant.

  • Biryani
  • Tandoori chicken
  • Healthy Naan bread
  • Lentils dishes
  • Chickpeas dishes

Advantages of Indian Food

  • A variety of Indian dishes can be prepared in the same way by using a single base.
  • Indian dishes are mostly homemade, healthy, and hygienic.
  • You can add the flavors and spices of your own choice.
  • These dishes can be prepared fresh.
  • Most Indian foods contain fresh vegetables and spices are mostly plant-based containing essential nutrients.

Disadvantages of Indian Food

  • They mostly contain carbohydrates that are not good for weight loss.
  • Sweets and desserts can not help in weight loss.
  • They contain excessive oil.
  • The use of more beverages is not healthy at all.
  • The use of salt and more spices can cause stomach problems.

 List of Lowest Calorie Indian Food:

  • Palak paneer
  • Salads
  • Fish
  • Cucumber Raita
  • Oats Idli
  • Dosa
  • Plain rice
  • Chapatti

List of Unhealthy Indian Food Staples That Need to Be Replaced:

  • Samosa should be replaced by Dhokla.
  • Idli should be replaced by Vade.
  • Suji halwa should be replaced by Rasgulla.
  • Butter chicken should be replaced by Tandoori chicken.
  • Paneer Kathi’s rolls should be replaced by vegetable pulao.
  • Papri chaat should be replaced by Bhelpuri.

List of Best Healthy Indian Food

Indian food is rich in all sorts of nutrients, whether they are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, or minerals. We can enjoy all the basic healthy nutrients in only one dish and that is the beauty of Indian dishes. Here is the list of the best healthy Indian food dishes that you must try.

Paneer Butter Masala

This is one of the best seller Indian restaurant dishes. Paneer butter masala belongs to North Indian cuisine. It is a delicious curry cooked in red Indian gravy and served with roti, paratha, and Naan.

paneer-butter-masala

It is very cheap and you can buy it at a fancy Indian restaurant for 2 USD. It is available almost everywhere in India including the major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, etc.

Butter Naan

A very delicious and different kind of Indian bread. Butter Naan is a must for every food lover in India. If any Indian is ordering food in a restaurant, 8 out of 10 times, he will order Naan bread only. Naan bread goes well with Indian Curries like paneer butter masala, Kadai chicken, Palak paneer, Mattar paneer. It is usually cooked in a charcoal oven known as Tandoor.

Kachori

It is famous Indian street food available almost everywhere in India. It is a very good Indian fast food which you can have for breakfast and as a snack. It is a deep-fried Indian savory dish stuffed with vegetable stuffing and wrapped in a crispy cover made from all-purpose flour or Maida. They deep fry kachoris until they become golden brown from outside. It is served with chutney or potato curry.

Dhokla

It is a spongy and mouth-watering food. It is a Gujrati fast food that is heavenly, delicious, and healthy. Dhokla means a steamed sponge cake made from gram flour, available at almost every place in India. Gujrat and Mumbai are the best places to try some amazing dhoklas. It is served with green chutney.

Fafda Jalebi

It is another of Gujrati’s favorite and delicious street foods. Fafda and jalebi are two different dishes served on a plate. Fafda is a Gujarati snack made from gram flour or besan. It is crunchy and very good in taste. They deep fry it until it becomes crunchy and soft at a time.

fafda-jalebi

Jalebi is a very unique Indian dessert common in all Indian cities. It is made from fermented plain flour and sugar syrup. It is a very heavy dish, so whenever eating jalebi, forget the diet and calories!!!

Aloo Paratha

It is a very special kind of Indian stuffed bread that is served with a cup of tea or coffee. It is delicious and made after stuffing masala potato in whole wheat flour. You can buy 6 parathas in only a Dollar.

Lassi

Lassi is made from yogurt, sugar, and some flavors like mango. It is a very good, healthy, and delicious Indian dessert drink. It is very cheap to buy but has so many health benefits.

Healthy Indian Low-Calorie Diet Recipes for Weight Loss

Most people nowadays are struggling with weight loss probably because of a sedentary lifestyle so they ask, is Indian food healthy for weight loss. The answer is yes, there are some low-calorie Indian meals which are very good for weight loss. You can make them more healthy by adding the ingredients of your choice.

Easy Indian Low-Calorie Protein-Rich Breakfast Recipes for Weight Loss

Breakfast is an important meal of the day. It gives us the energy to kick start a new healthy and perfect day. It keeps us fresh and active throughout the day. If you are struggling with weight loss, you must choose a healthy, protein-rich breakfast that should be low in calories, carbohydrates, and fats. Here are some healthy Indian breakfast recipes for weight loss.

Channa Masala

In a pressure cooker, add soaked chickpeas, a green tea bag, curry leaves, elachi, cinnamon sticks, and three cups of water. Cook up till the five whistles. Remove curry leaves and green tea bags. Now to a pan, add jeera, coriander black pepper, Kasturi methi, Dried red chili, fry all these, and grind to make a powder.

Take 2 tsp of olive oil in a pan, add chopped onion, ginger garlic paste, and chopped tomatoes. Saute well. Add channa masala powder and salt. Cook for 15 minutes and then mash slightly. Healthy and protein-rich channa masala are ready to be served.

Sprouts Salad

Soak some moong sprouts in water for five minutes and then drain off the water. Add some chili powder, coriander powder, cucumber, tomato, carrot, capsicum, mint, onion, and lemon juice.

sprouts-salad

Mix it well and your sprouts salad is ready. Moong dal is rich in protein so this is good for weight loss.

Mong Daal Idli

Soak moong dal in water for 2 hours. Blend the soaked moong daal to get a smooth batter. Add some curd in it, mix well. In a pan, add 2 tsp of oil, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves, coriander powder, salt, red chili powder, carrots. Mix them well and add them into the batter. Add one pack of eno to the batter. Brush the idli plates with oil, add the batter to the plates. Place in a steamer and bake for 5 minutes. Healthy moong dal idli is ready.

Mixed Daal Fry

In a cooker, add oil, toor dal, moong dal, chana dal, water, turmeric, salt. Mix it well. Cook until the five whistles. In a separate pan, add ghee, cumin, curry leaves, ginger-garlic paste, tomato, turmeric, and salt. Saute well. Add cooked daal with water into it. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Fried moong daal is ready.

Healthy Indian Weight Loss Lunch Recipes

After doing a lot of mental and physical work all day long, we surely need a healthy, filling, and wholesome lunch that we can enjoy happily despite struggling with weight loss. Don’t worry, many healthier lunch options in the Indian diet keep you healthy and can help you lose weight too. Here are some best weight loss lunch recipes to try.

Low-Fat Roti With Sabzi

The roti will be healthy if it is prepared with multi-grain flour. Combine oats atta, wheat atta, and besan to knead a soft dough. Then make a roti with it that can be served with any vegetable curry. Vegetable curry should be low in fat.

Brown Rice Pulao

It is prepared with brown rice. Brown rice is low in fat. They do not cause bloating. Brown rice can be served with cucumber raita, which is very healthy and nutritious.

brown-rice-pulao

Multigrain Dalia

It is cooked by combining oats with a lot of vegetables. It is rich in proteins and minerals. Boiled oats and boiled vegetables are mixed with some light spices to cook multigrain Dalia for weight loss. Any other grain can be used instead of oats.

Rice Idli with Sambhar

It is very rich in protein. It is healthy and it is one of the lowest-calorie Indian foods for weight loss.

Rajma With Brown Rice:

Rajma is high in protein. Brown rice is very good for weight loss. So, when they both combine, they make a very low-fat Indian food to eat for weight loss.

List of Healthy Indian Dinner Recipes for Weight Loss:
  • Moong Dal chilla
  • Besan chilla
  • Rajma pulao
  • Oats Dalia
  • Quinoa pulao
  • Chana sabzi

All of these recipes are high in protein and low in fat so they are very good for losing weight.

Healthy Indian Salad Recipes for Weight Loss:

Salads are a good source of vitamins and minerals. We can also add some lentils and chickpeas to our salads to make them rich in protein too. But people may get boring by eating the same type of salads for too long. Solving your problem, here are some different salad options that you can also try as evening snacks.

Fruit Salad

Add plain yogurt, diced apples, celery, red grapes, half cup chopped walnuts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Give it a good mix. Serve with lettuce.

Cauliflower Salad

Saute the cauliflower and potatoes. Then add some salt and pepper and cover it with a lid. After it gets cooked, add pomegranates, cabbage, and chopped onion. Mix it well and serve.

cauliflower-salad

Corn and Paneer Salad

Mix some boiled corn, paneer, chopped onion, chopped capsicum, chopped tomatoes, salt, and chat masala. Squeeze a lemon on it and serve.

Healthy Indian Snacks for Weight Loss

Sometimes, we feel hungry at any time of the day, and we have not pre-planned our healthy snacks options, we eat some junk food that can cause a huge weight gain. So, if you want to enjoy snacks without regretting putting on weight, try these healthy and protein-rich snacks recipes.

High Protein Energy Bars

 Take half cup dates with seeds removed and a half cup of jaggery. Soak them both in half a cup of warm water for an hour. Now grind 1 cup of roasted almonds, half cup of peanuts, half cup of melon seeds, half cup of pumpkin seeds, 2 teaspoons of chia seeds, half cup of roasted makhanas together.

Now grind the mixture of jaggery and days and cook it until it is thick. Now add the dry ingredients to it, mix well and take out in a flat tray. Refrigerate it for 3 to 4 hours and cut it into the desired shape.

Murmure Namkeen

Take 3 cups of puffed rice, a handful of roasted chana, roasted almonds, half cup of dry roasted coconuts, 1 cup of roasted Phool makhana, chili powder to taste, mustard seeds, oil, peanuts, turmeric, black pepper, and pink salt.

murmure-namkeen

Add 1.5 tsp of olive oil to a pan and add some mustard seeds into it. Now add turmeric, roasted puffed rice, and all the dry ingredients and stir fry it. Add chili powder, pink salt, and black pepper. Give it a good mix and murmure namkeen is ready to eat.

Whole Wheat Almond Biscuits:

Take 3 cups of whole wheat atta, half cup of jaggery powder, half cup of almond powder, desiccated coconut, skimmed milk, and desi cow ghee. Mix the flour and desi ghee gradually in a large bowl. Add almond flour, dedicated coconut, and jaggery powder. Make a dough with milk but do not knead it.

Now roll with the help of a rolling pin and cut in the shape of biscuits. Bake at 160 degrees in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Healthy protein-rich biscuits are ready.

Healthy Indian Diwali Sweets for Weight Loss:

Events and gatherings are the main reason, people may eat out of the way forgetting everything about their weight loss. What if you get some healthy Diwali sweet options that you can enjoy without even thinking that perhaps you are deprived of eating Diwali sweets, so why not try these healthy sweets this Diwali?

Apricots and Cashew Bites

Ingredients:

  • Dried Apricots
  • Elaichi powder
  • Cashew nuts
  • Coconut powder

Add dried apricots to a mixer jar. Add cashew nuts into it. Then add elachi powder and mix them well. Make some mini balls of this mixture and wrap them with coconut powder.

Dates Bites

Ingredients:

  • Dates
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peanut butter
dates-bites

Add seedless dates to a mixer jar. Now add chia seeds and pumpkin seeds into it. Finally, add peanut butter and grind this mixture together. Make the mini balls and your healthy dates bites are ready to eat.

List of Healthy Oats Recipes for Weight Loss

Oats are a good source of protein and are very helpful in weight loss. We can make many healthy dishes by using oats. Some of them are:

  • Oats pancakes
  • Oats laddu
  • Oats and vegetables daily
  • Oats poha
  • Rolled oats cupcake
  • Oats snacks

List of Healthy Indian Vegetarian Recipes for Weight Loss

  • Mong Dal Chila
  • Green pav bhaji
  • Missi roti
  • Palak paneer rice
  • Besan chilla
  • Rava uttapam

List of Healthy Indian Nonvegetarian Weight Loss Recipes

  • Tandoori chicken
  • Grilled chicken
  • Grilled fish
  • Biryani
  • Boiled eggs
biriyani

FAQs

What is the healthiest Indian food to order?

Some of the healthiest Indian foods to order at restaurants are Tandoori chicken, plain rice, chapati, vegetable curry, and jalfrezi. But make sure that all these should be cooked under proper hygiene.

What is the most unhealthy Indian food?

Some of the unhealthy Indian foods are samosa, butter chicken, chat papri, and all those cooked with a lot of spices in them.

Is Indian food high in calories?

It depends upon how the food is cooked. If it is cooked more than oil then it will be high in calories. Moreover, it also depends upon the ingredients which are added while preparing food.

Final Words

The answer to the question “is Indian food healthy” is that yes it is healthy if it is cooked by using healthy ingredients. While cooking food, one should use ghee instead of using oil. Ghee is very good for weight loss. It is also a characteristic of Indian food that it has a lot of spices in it.

These spices have so many benefits. For example, turmeric is an antioxidant. It has anti-inflammatory properties. It is very important for bone health too. Similarly, other spices have their benefits.

Other advantages of Indian food are that you get too many nutrients in only a single dish. The food is not processed and is prepared under proper supervision.  Grains and cereals used in the Indian diet are very nutritious. You can enjoy carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins on just a single plate. So, the article gave you many reasons to enjoy Indian food as a part of your diet.

Dr. Swathi Kilari

Hello there! This is Dr. Swathi Kilari here, a writer in progress. I am a graduate of Cebu Doctors' University from the Philippines and am currently registered to practice in India. I write now and then to share my knowledge and experience about healthcare. I am happy to help you make wise choices to lead a healthy life. Healthcare and teaching are two of my passions. I am a food enthusiast, home baker, and cook. If I am not doing any of these, I am probably sleeping.

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