Healthy Food Choices for Indians- What to eat at home or On the Go
We all must have tried some form of dieting to lose weight. Most ofus might have also tried our hands at cycling, running or even going to the gym for losing weight. A lot of us are successful in losing a few kilos however we are never able to maintain this weight loss nor the diet.
Hi, my name is Anshuman Sen. An average 32 something guy has been stingy about never going on a diet. I have struggled with my weight issues until recently when I pulled off a 27-kilo loss in approximately 6 months. I realized that going on a diet was not my thing. I could never measure and cook my food, nor could I stop eating outside because of my professional commitments. Nor could I afford to buy those expensive olive oils and almond flour etc.
How did I still pull off this weight and fat loss? Well, I call it making smart healthy food choices. Make changes to your eating habits which are sustainable in the long run else you will end up putting back the weight which you have lost in no time. This blog is about how you can make healthy food choices in your eating habit to lose weight and stay healthy.
Healthy Drink Choices
The first mistake that we do is in the choice of our drink. We consume a lot of unhealthy drinks over the day without realizing the amount of sugar and calories that go on with it.
Tea and Coffee
The first thing that we Indians consume in huge quantities is Tea and coffee. What we do not realize the number of empty calories that we consume with the sugar that comes with it. Also, the milk that comes in these drinks adds a lot of calories.
We could either choose to limit the amount of tea and coffee that we have in a day or choose alternatives like
- Green tea
- Tea and Coffee without Sugar
- Black Tea or Black Coffee. Add lime juice to add some fun to your tea and some cinnamon powder to your black coffee
If you cannot just avoid the sweet then add honey instead. Adds a nice flavor to your drink.
All About Juices
The biggest myth that we have going around is that juices are healthy. Well, the best nutrient value of the fruit is in its fibers and vitamins and minerals, most of which is discarded in the juicing process. Also, a lot of sugar is added to the equation to make the juice palatable.
Till the time you have your teeth intact, I would recommend that you eat your fruits. This will be the best healthy alternative, add value to your food and also keep you feeling fuller.
The best juice to have is fresh lime sans any sugar.
Or if you really want to enjoy a juice then have it sans any sugar. Salt and masala are good to go.
Cold Drinks and Fizzy Drinks
Cold drinks and fizzy drinks are a strict no. Soda is nothing but sugar and water. Zero nutrient value. Rather chose to have a fresh lime water with soda if you want. You get the added vitamin C which is definitely needed by your body. And remember to take that any sugar or probably add honey if you need to.
The best thing to do is to avoid the empty calories that alcoholic drinks give you. However, if you really need to get yourself a drink then try and limit yourself to one drink. A glass of wine would be a better choice than Beer or whiskey.
Healthy Choice for Breakfast and Snacks
There is no second guessing the fact that your breakfast is the most important meal of your day. Skipping it is a strict No. However, we make a lot of unhealthy choices for our breakfast that gets us off on the wrong foot at the word go.
Avoid bread altogether. Bread is usually made up of refined flour which means that the health benefits of atta have been taken off. And no, whole grain or brown bread does not qualify as healthy.
Eggs, idlis, upma, oats, and poha are a much better choice to start the day. Add a fruit to your breakfast and you are ready to fight the day.
Healthy Choice for a Snack
So you are out on the go and are hungry. Order dosa or idli instead of that vada pav or bread pattice.
A dahi vada could be an even better option. For that matter, a plate of bhel would be a better option than your pizza or sandwich.
If you can afford it and have access to it then, I generally snack on some fruit like an apple or a guava or simply have some museli with curd.
Throw in a few nuts and dates and you are set.
Healthy Choices for Meals
The main idea around meals is to keep your calories in check. Substitute food items with the ones which have a higher satiety level. Protein, complex carbs and fat are known to keep you feeling full longer as they take more time to be digested by the body.
- Go easy on the amount of oil that is used for cooking
- Add a protein source to your meal like dal, chicken, egg or paneer
- Go easy on the amount of rice and roti that you have per meal
- Fish and chicken are a better option than mutton or beef.
Healthy Choices when eating out for Lunch or Dinner
If you are out for a meal at a restaurant then you can try the following
- Call in for steamed rice instead of Jira rice. That cuts out the oil
- Have Dal fry instead of Dal Tadka.
- Tandoori chicken or Chicken Tikka could be a substitute for that chicken gravy that you were planning to order
- Have rice instead of roti or nan. Most of the time they use refined flour (maida)
- Having Panner Tikka would be a better option instead of that Paneer gravy that you were planning to order.
- Similarly, Palak panner is a better option as it uses less of onion for the gravy
- Going to a south Indian joint for lunch is a better choice than going to a burger or Pizza joint
I used the above tricks to make healthy choices for my food and was able to pull off my weight loss. Remember what you eat is very important. For weight loss, one needs to be on a calorie deficient diet. The above tricks help limit your calorie intake and promote a long-term healthy living. Pair these choices with a bit if resistive training and one can see wonders.
All the best.
Hi Anshuman, thank you for such a wonderful and encouraging article, I am 31 yr old and weigh 95kg.
It’s coz of my job wherin I have to spend 10 hrs at my desk with a ridiculous diet ( samosa n vada pav r d frequent one).
I have bought a cycle and pledged myself that lossing weight will be my new year resolution (fingers crossed).
I started going for morning walk but again it is so painful for my knee n calf…so finally I decided to go for cycling.
I am not sure how far will I reach but certainly ur article boost up my moral and I will follow diet plan you have mentioned.
Thanks a lot. People like u encourage others.
All the best for your journey Rahul. trust me, pain is temporary, as you progress things will get better.
Just a side note, if you are really looking to lose weight then invest some time in weight training and focus on diet. Cardio has been proven to be not the best way to lose weight. It is a very healthy choice but if weight loss is the aim then weight training is what you should look towards. remember 70% is diet, 30% is the workout.