Moog dal, Tara tells us, is one of the staples of every Indian home. It is packed with protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre, which helps build strong muscles and provides necessary energy and nutrients that keep you full for long, which means you aren’t as likely to reach for those post lunch cookies. It’s also the easiest of all the dals to digest. Make this yellow wonder even more nutrient-rich by adding in veggies like bottle gourd and carrot to pack in some extra flavour. Grind the dal into a fine powder and make veggie pancakes. “Carrot and moong dal soup is also delicious,” says Tara. Not to mention, if there’s one dish that puts comfort in comfort-food, it’s got to be a bowl of piping hotdal.
Add in multi-grain roti to your meal and you’re on the right path to health and fitness. Ditch your regular serving of white rice or worse, a slice of bread for this wheat-based household staple. Roast over the fire and cut out the butter, oil and ghee to make your way to better health and weight loss. “Contrary to the latest gluten free fad, whole wheat is actually much easier to digest and sits lighter than many other gluten-free flours like bajra, jowar and ragi. Plus it contains B complex vitamins that are necessary for every bodily function.” What keeps you healthy is that whole wheat chappti requires no additional ghee or fat to make it fluffy, soft and tasty. “Paired with moong dal and veggies, good old chapatti-dal-sabji gives you a nice low-calorie, high-nutrient complete meal. So you don’t unnecessarily have to spend on exotic grains like quinoa to keep slim and feel light,” says the insightful Tara.
Who knew a gujju household favourite could actually be a threat to weight-gain? “One of the few non-fried alternatives to the full range of Gujarati delicacies, dhoklas are high-protein and low-fat savoury cakes that can be a complete meal with the addition of a veggie and salad kachumber. They are much more filling than the so-called roasted and baked snacks which are dry and in reality high in calories for the volume we need to consume to feel psychologically satisfied. Soft dhoklas are a much more real and soul satisfying snack than mass produced packet potato chips which only settle in your hips. Add veggies to the dhokla batter to give you more volume of food and fewer calories,” says Tara. Steamed instead of fried, containing zero oil content, low on calories and made from dal—we’ve got your evening healthy snack decoded.
Dahi, curd or yogurt—no matter what you call it, your body needs it. Made from fermented milk—dahi is one food that is great for weight-loss. “There really is nothing quite like ghar ka fresh dahi to wrap up a hot spicy Indian meal,” says Tara, and we couldn’t agree more. “Packed with good-for-the-gut bacteria to aid digestion, yoghurt is a complete protein and lends itself to almost every tasty item from raitas to fruit yoghurts, to even being a substitute for butter in cakes and pastries, as it gives you the creamy texture without the dreaded figure.” Tara suggests taking some some pureed fresh mango and adding in a drop of vanilla, stevia to sweeten, and a few chopped mango pieces into a bowl of homemade dahi to create your own version of a low calorie mango ice cream. One cup of low-fat dahi contains about 120 calories as opposed to 400 calories from a cup of regular full fat ice cream,” advises Tara.
Steam fermented rice and dal and you’ve got yourself not only one of the healthiest snacks but also one that tastes delectable. The expert tells us that idli – a steamed south Indian delicacy – though made from rice, is still a store-house for easy-to-digest complex carbohydrates and contains a small amount of protein from the urad dal in its batter. Idlis are fat-free goodies that make for a nice monsoon breakfast or post-work snack. Make them even more nutrient-full and lower the calorie count by adding in chopped and grated veggies to the batter before you steam the cakes. “You can even top off with some pizza sauce and cheese for an interesting mix of east and west,” she says.
Add half a glass of yogurt, half a glass of water, salt and chopped coriander leaves and you’ve got yourself the perfect accompaniment to any meal. Buttermilk is low in calories and fat and is enriched with probiotics to keep you feeling full and healthy at the end of every meal. Highly recommended!
Are you going through your Pinterest scroll looking for a healthy salad to pack for lunch but can only find recipes full of alien jargon (read: kale, chia seeds and quinoa). We’ve got a perfectly healthy salad whose ingredients you can find at your local vegetable walla. Whip together a sprouts salad and season with lemon juice. Add in some lentils for protein, diced onions, tomatoes and green chillies, and that’s all you need for a protein and fibre packed lunch that is sure give your love-handles a serious run for their money.