Weight Loss Foods
Indian cuisine is known for its dynamic spices, fresh herbs and a wide variety of rich flavours.
Though preferences in diet and foods vary throughout India, most people follow mainly a plant-based diet.
The traditional Indian diet usually has a high intake of plant foods like vegetables, lentils and fruits, and very low consumption of non-veg food.
However, obesity is an increasing issue among the Indian population. With the increasing availability of processed foods, India has seen a burst in obesity-related chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Traditional plant-based Indian diets focus on fresh, whole ingredients — ideal foods to boost optimal health.
Why Eat a Plant-Based Indian Diet?
Plant-based diets have been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers like breast and colon cancer.
Additionally, the Indian diet, in particular, has been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe this is due to the emphasis on eating more and more vegetables and fruits.
Following a healthy plant-based Indian diet may not only help to lower the risk of chronic disease, but it can also help in weight loss.
What Food Groups Does It Include?
The Indian diet is very high in nutritious foods like whole grains, lentils, healthy fats, dairy, vegetables and fruits.
Most Indian peoples' diets are heavily influenced by religion, particularly Hinduism.
Whole and ground spices such as turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, ginger and cumin are at the forefront of traditional dishes, adding rich aroma, flavour and powerful nutritional benefits.
Turmeric, one of the most popular spices used in India, is very well known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anticancer properties.
A compound in turmeric called curcumin has been found to fight inflammation in the body, enhance brain function and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Healthy Foods to Eat
There are several yummy foods and beverages to opt from when following a Lacto-vegetarian diet for weight loss.
What to Eat
Try adding the below-mentioned ingredients to your daily meal plan:
Vegetables: Tomatoes, eggplant, spinach, mustard greens, okra, bitter melon, onions, cauliflower, mushrooms, cabbage and more
Fruits: Mango, papaya, guava, pomegranate, oranges, tamarind, lychee, melon, apples, pears, plums, bananas
Nuts and seeds: Cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds and more
Legumes: Mung beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lentils and pulses
Roots and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, yams
Whole grains: Brown rice, basmati rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, corn, barley, whole-grain bread, amaranth, sorghum
Dairy: Cheese, yoghurt, milk, kefir, ghee
Herbs and spices: Garlic, ginger, cardamom, cumin, coriander, paprika, black pepper, turmeric, fenugreek, basil and more
Healthy fats: Coconut milk, full-fat dairy, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, mustard oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, ghee
Protein-rich foods: Tofu, legumes, dairy, seeds and nuts
Meals and snacks should primarily focus on fresh, whole foods flavoured with herbs and spices.
Also, adding non-starchy vegetables like eggplants or tomatoes to your meals will give a boost of fibre that can help you feel fuller for a longer time after eating.
What to Drink
An easy way to cut back on excess calories and sugar is to avoid any sugary beverages and juices. These drinks can be high in both calories and sugar, which can have a negative effect on your weight loss plan.
Healthy beverage options include:
- Sparkling water
- Unsweetened tea
Unhealthy Foods to Avoid
Choosing foods and beverages that are too processed, and loaded with too much sugar or calories can sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Items like candy, fried foods and soda are not good for weight loss as well as not for overall health.
Eating too much processed food and products loaded with sweeteners can increase the risk of chronic diseases.
For example, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, fruit punch and juices daily has been associated with more risks of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Also, consuming unhealthy foods can make it harder to maintain a healthy weight.
For optimal health, minimise the following foods or if possible avoid them altogether:
- Sweetened beverages
- High-sugar foods
- Sweetened sauces
- High-fat foods
- Refined grains
- Trans fats
- Refined oils
Although it’s perfectly fine to have an occasional treat, limiting the foods and beverages mentioned above is good for overall health.
A Healthy Indian Sample Menu for a Week
A healthy one-week Indian menu that focuses on fresh, nutritious food to help you with weight loss is mentioned below.
You can adjust it as per your calorie needs, food preferences and dietary restrictions.
Breakfast: Sambar and brown rice idli
Lunch: Whole-grain roti and mixed-vegetable curry
Dinner: Tofu curry and mixed vegetables and a fresh spinach salad
Breakfast: Chana dal pancakes and mixed vegetables and a glass of milk
Lunch: Chickpea curry and brown rice
Dinner: Khichdi and sprout salad
Breakfast: Apple cinnamon porridge made with milk and sliced almonds
Lunch: Whole-grain chapati with tofu and mixed vegetables
Dinner: Palak paneer and brown rice with vegetables
Breakfast: Fruit yoghurt and sunflower seeds
Lunch: Whole-grain roti and vegetable subji
Dinner: Chana masala and basmati rice with a green salad
Breakfast: Veggie Dalia or Poha and a glass of milk
Lunch: Vegetable sambar and brown rice
Dinner: Tofu potato curry and mixed vegetables
Breakfast: Multigrain parathas with avocado and papaya slices
Lunch: Green salad with rajma curry and quinoa
Dinner: Lentil pancakes with tofu tikka masala
Breakfast: Oats porridge and sliced mango
Lunch: Vegetable soup and whole-grain roti
Dinner: Masala-baked tofu and vegetable curry
Drinking water or unsweetened tea with and between meals will keep you hydrated without adding more calories.
Make sure to consume a lot of non-starchy vegetables at every meal, as well as good sources of healthy fat and protein.
This will keep you feeling fuller the whole day and minimise the chances of overeating.
Following a Lacto-vegetarian Indian diet is an effective method to lose weight.
It will help you avoid sugary foods and beverages, eat more vegetables and boost your protein intake. Adding regular exercise, weight loss foods and a balanced diet to your routine can boost your health and weight loss even more.