Healthy Matters: Surviving Indian Food Without the Guilt

Takeout and delivery food don’t exactly have the best reputation when it come to healthy eating. But the fact of the matter is that there are more than enough healthy options out there for any cuisine. You just have to know where to look. Brooke is back this week with a new take on Healthy Matters:

With its unique flavorings and variety of vegetable-based dishes, Indian food certainly seems healthy at first glance and the ethnic cuisine is a favorite among vegetarians. But just because a meal is loaded with spinach doesn’t mean there can’t be plenty of fats and calories lingering in the dish as well. And with Indian food, much of it is based on cream and paneer (Indian cheese) sauces served over carb-heavy rice and greasy naan (Indian bread). In addition, ghee (clarified butter), is another main ingredient in Indian dishes, which pretty much cancels out many of the redeeming “healthy” vegetable dishes vegetarians love to love. Still, for all the health-conscious Indian food lovers, there is hope!

South Indian cuisine, which is based on protein-rich lentils, chickpeas, other legumes and zesty spices rather than heavy creams, is a lower-calorie option for those who get a hankering for the unique blend of Indian flavors. And as a general rule, steer clear of dishes based on coconut cream and paneer, or vegetables sautéed in oil.

For more specifics, here’s a list of Indian items to avoid and similar, healthier replacement ideas:

  • AVOID: Stuffed Naan; REPLACE WITH: Plain Roti
  • AVOID: Chicken Tikka Masala; REPLACE WITH: Tandoori Chicken
  • AVOID: Pakoras; REPLACE WITH: Chana Masala
  • AVOID: Beef Korma; REPLACE WITH: Yellow Daal
  • AVOID: Lamb Biryani; REPLACE WITH: Mulligatawny Soup

2 thoughts on “Healthy Matters: Surviving Indian Food Without the Guilt

  1. Penny

    Thanks for the great tips! As I have become more health-conscious after starting a family, I definitely became aware that Indian food, which I absolutely love, might not be so easy on the waistline. Takeout is great once in a while, but is often expensive and more fattening than homemade dishes. So I began searching for great, pre-made Indian food that would be healthier for my family. I found this Indian/Pan-Asian food company called Tastybite. All of its dishes are preservative-free, all-natural, low fat/calorie/sodium, and are extremely tasty. My young kids LOVE their madras lentils and the meals only take 90 seconds to make so it saves me time and calories. I definitely recommend them as an alternative to takeout. Otherwise, these are great tips and the next time I decided to take out or go out to an Indian restaurant I’ll look back to these. Thanks!

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