Indian cuisine is known for its vibrant spices, fresh herbs and wide variety of rich flavors.
Though diets and preferences vary throughoutIndia, most people follow a primarily plant-based diet.
Around 80% of the Indian population practicesHinduism, a religion that promotes a vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian diet.
The traditional Indian diet emphasizes a highintake of plant foods like vegetables, lentils and fruits, as well as a low consumption ofmeat.
However, obesity is a rising issue in theIndian population.
With the growing availability of processedfoods, India has seen a surge in obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases like heartdisease and diabetes.
This video explains how to follow a healthyIndian diet that can promote weight loss.
It includes suggestions about which foodsto eat and avoid and a sample menu for one week.
Why Eat a Plant-Based Indian Diet? Plant-based diets have been associated withmany health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancerssuch as breast and colon cancer.
Additionally, the Indian diet, in particular, has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers believe this is due to the lowconsumption of meat and emphasis on vegetables and fruits.
Following a healthy plant-based Indian dietmay not only help decrease the risk of chronic disease, but it can also encourage weightloss.
What Food Groups Does It Include? The Indian diet is rich in nutritious foodslike grains, lentils, healthy fats, vegetables, dairy and fruits.
The diets of most Indian people are heavilyinfluenced by religion, particularly Hinduism.
The Hindu religion teaches nonviolence andthat all living things should be valued equally.
That’s why a lacto-vegetarian diet is encouraged, and eating meat, poultry, fish and eggs is discouraged.
Lacto-vegetarians do, however, eat dairy products.
A healthy lacto-vegetarian diet should focuson grains, lentils, dairy, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats like coconut oil.
Spices such as turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, ginger and cumin are at the forefront of traditional dishes, adding rich flavor and powerful nutritionalbenefits.
Turmeric, one of the most popular spices usedin India, is celebrated for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anticancer properties.
A compound in turmeric called curcumin hasbeen found to fight inflammation in the body, improve brain function and reduce risk factorsof heart disease.
Healthy Foods to Eat! There are many delicious foods and beveragesto choose from when following a lacto-vegetarian diet for weight loss.
Try incorporating the following ingredientsinto your daily meal plan: Vegetables: Tomatoes, spinach, eggplant, mustardgreens, okra, onions, bitter melon, cauliflower, mushrooms, cabbage and more.
Fruits: Including mango, papaya, pomegranate, guava, oranges, tamarind, lychee, apples, melon, pears, plums, bananas.
Nuts and seeds: Cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, watermelon seeds and more.
Legumes: Mung beans, black-eyed peas, kidneybeans, lentils, pulses and chickpeas.
Roots and tubers: Potatoes, carrots, sweetpotatoes, turnips, yams.
Whole grains: Brown rice, basmati rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, barley, corn, whole-grain bread, amaranth, sorghum.
Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, milk, kefir, ghee.
Herbs and spices: Garlic, ginger, cardamom, cumin, coriander, gharam masala, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, fenugreek, basil andmore.
Healthy fats: Coconut milk, full-fat dairy, avocado, coconut oil, mustard oil, olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, ghee.
Protein sources: Tofu, legumes, dairy, nutsand seeds.
Meals and snacks should focus on fresh, wholefoods flavored with herbs and spices.
Additionally, adding non-starchy vegetableslike greens, eggplants or tomatoes to your meals will provide a boost of fiber that canhelp you feel satisfied for a longer period of time after eating.
What to Drink! An easy way to cut back on excess caloriesand sugar is to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and juices.
These drinks can be high in both caloriesand sugar, which can negatively affect weight loss.
Healthy beverage options include:Water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea including Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri teas.
A healthy Indian diet should focus on freshingredients such as vegetables, fruits, tubers, legumes, whole grains, healthy fats and unsweetenedbeverages.
Unhealthy Foods to Avoid! Choosing foods and beverages that are highlyprocessed, loaded with sugar or high in calories can sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Not only are items like candy, fried foodsand soda not good for weight loss, they aren't good for overall health.
Eating too much processed food and productsladen with sweeteners can increase the risk of chronic diseases.
For example, drinking sugar-sweetened beverageslike soda, fruit punch and juices every day has been associated with increased risks ofdiabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Plus, consuming unhealthy foods can make itharder for you to lose fat and maintain a healthy weight.
For optimal health, minimize the followingfoods or avoid them altogether: Sweetened beverages: Soda, fruit juice, sweetenedtea, sweet lassi, sports drinks.
High-sugar foods: Candy, ice cream, cookies, rice pudding, pastries, cakes, sweetened yogurt, high-sugar cereals, digestive biscuits.
Sweeteners: Jaggery, sugar, honey, condensedmilk.
Sweetened sauces: Salad dressings with addedsugar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, sweetened curries.
High-fat foods: Fast food like McDonald’s, french fries, chips, fried foods, bhujia.
Refined grains: Products including white bread, white pasta, biscuits.
Trans fats: Margarine, vanaspati, fast food, highly processed foods.
Refined oils: Canola oil, soybean oil, cornoil, grapeseed oil.
Although it’s perfectly fine to enjoy anoccasional treat, limiting the foods and beverages listed above is best for overall health.
A Healthy Indian Sample Menu for One Week! Here is a healthy one-week Indian sample menuthat focuses on fresh, nutritious food.
You can adjust it according to your calorieneeds, dietary restrictions and food preferences.
Monday! Breakfast: Sambar with brown rice idli, Lunch: Whole-grain roti with mixed-vegetable curry, Dinner: Tofu curry with mixed vegetables and a fresh spinach salad.
Tuesday! Breakfast: Chana dal pancakes with mixed vegetablesand a glass of milk, Lunch: Chickpea curry with brown rice, Dinner: Khichdi with sprout salad.
Wednesday! Breakfast: Apple cinnamon porridge made withmilk and topped with sliced almonds, Lunch: Whole-grain roti with tofu and mixedvegetables, Dinner: Palak paneer with brown rice and vegetables.
Thursday! Breakfast: Yogurt with sliced fruits and sunflowerseeds, Lunch: Whole-grain roti with vegetable subji, Dinner: Chana masala with basmati rice and green salad.
Friday! Breakfast: Vegetable dalia and a glass ofmilk, Lunch: Vegetable sambar with brown rice, Dinner: Tofu curry with potato and mixed vegetables.
Saturday! Breakfast: Multigrain parathas with avocadoand sliced papaya, Lunch: Large salad with rajma curry and quinoa, Dinner: Lentil pancakes with tofu tikka masala.
Sunday! Breakfast: Buckwheat porridge with slicedmango, Lunch: Vegetable soup with whole-grain roti, Dinner: Masala-baked tofu with vegetable curry.
Drinking water, seltzer or unsweetened teawith and between meals will keep you hydrated without adding extra calories.
Make sure to consume plenty of non-starchyvegetables at every meal, as well as sources of healthy fat and protein.
This will keep you feeling full throughoutthe day and reduce the chances of overeating.
Healthy Snack Options! Replacing high-calorie, sugary snacks withhealthier options can promote weight loss and help keep you on track towards your weightloss goals.
Like meals, nutritious snacks should revolvearound fresh, whole ingredients.
Here are some weight loss friendly snack ideas: Small handful of nuts, sliced fruit with unsweetenedyogurt, vegetable chaat, sprout salad, roasted pumpkin seeds, sliced fruit with nuts or nutbutter, roasted chickpeas, hummus with vegetables, bean salad, salted popcorn, unsweetened kefir, homemade trail mix, fennel seeds, fresh fruit with cheese, broth-based vegetable soup.
If you are craving a sweet snack to have withevening tea, swapping out your usual dessert for fresh, sliced fruit might do the trick.
For another healthy dessert option, top unsweetenedyogurt with cooked fruit and crunchy nuts for a satisfying combination.
Smart Ways to Lose Weight! Aside from focusing on fresh, whole foods, there are other lifestyle changes that can help you lose weight.
What’s more, adopting the following healthyhabits can help you maintain a healthy weight over your lifetime.
Increase Activity! To create a calorie deficit that will helpyou lose weight, it’s critical to increase the amount of activity in your day.
Find an activity that you enjoy, whether itbe a sport or working out at the gym.
Even if you don’t exercise formally, tryincreasing the number of steps you take every day.
It’s a simple way to burn more caloriesand get fit.
To lose weight, aim for a goal of 10, 000 stepsper day and work up to that goal over time.
Practice Mindful Eating! Many people eat on the run or consume mealswhile they’re distracted.
Instead, make a point to focus on your mealsand pay attention to feelings of hunger and fullness.
It’s a great way to get more in tune withyour body.
Eating more slowly can also promote weightloss by increasing feelings of fullness and decreasing hunger.
Another useful habit to control your foodintake is to avoid eating in front of the television or while surfing the web.
Make Smart Choices! Eating healthy can be a challenge, so setgoals ahead of time and stick to them.
This can help you maintain your plan, evenwhen you are feeling tempted to make an unhealthy food choice, such as when you’re socializingwith friends or family.
Reminding yourself why you want to get healthierin the first place can make you feel empowered and lead you to make smarter food and lifestyledecisions.
A Weight Loss Friendly Shopping List! Having ingredients on hand to prepare nutritiousmeals and snacks at home is vital for weight loss.
So stock your refrigerator and pantry withhealthy foods.
It will motivate you to test out your cookingskills and try new recipes.
Research shows that people who cook more mealsat home are more likely to have better overall diet quality, a healthier weight and lessbody fat than those who eat meals at home infrequently.
Here are some healthy items to add to yourshopping list: Vegetables: Greens, cauliflower, herbs, carrots, peppers, garlic, eggplant.
Fruits: Apples, strawberries, mango, papaya, banana, grapes.
Frozen produce: Mixed vegetables and frozenfruits.
Grains: Oats, millet, quinoa, whole-grainbreads, brown rice.
Legumes: Lentils, pulses, beans.
Nuts: Almonds, pistachios, cashews.
Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, lotusseeds.
Dairy: Milk, unsweetened yogurt, unsweetenedkefir, cheeses, curd.
Condiments: Sea salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, paprika, cinnamon.
Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnip, pumpkin, corn.
Proteins: Tofu, dairy products, legumes, hummus.
Healthy fats: Olive oil, unsweetened coconut, coconut oil, ghee, sesame oil, avocado, peanut butter.
Beverages: Green tea, coffee, sparkling water, Darjeeling tea.
Focus on filling your cart with fresh foods.
These are usually stocked around the perimeterof the grocery store.
The shelves in the middle of the grocery storetypically house packaged and processed foods, which you should keep to a minimum in yourdiet.
Buy grains, nuts and seeds in bulk to savemoney and stock up on staple items you use regularly.
Additionally, stay on task and steer clearof tempting foods by making a grocery list and purchasing only the items you jotted downahead of time.