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Types of Indian Food With Low Calories


  1. Introduction
  2. Indian Cuisine
  3. Why are calories important?
  4. How can we lose fat?
  5. The scary Fad Diet culture
  6. Why is it “scary”?
  7. A balanced diet
  8. Low-calorie delicious Indian foods


India is home to many diverse religions, ethnicities, and traditions. This plays a massive role in the constitution of the famous Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine consists of foods from all over India, making it very special. Some states are renowned for their special foods like Mumbai’s and Pune’s famous Vada Pav, Rajasthan’s famous Dal Bati Churma, South India’s (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, etc) dosas and idlis, Delhi’s tasty Chole Bhature, Bengal’s rasgulla and many more.

Indian Cuisine

India’s cuisine has a deep history and has led to some pretty crucial contributions like facilitating international trade between India and Europe. There are many popular Indian dishes all over the world. Some of the most popular Indian dishes are Chicken tikka, Butter Chicken, Biryani, Samosa, and many more.

Many factors make Indian food so tasty, aromatic, and nutritious. Adding ingredients like different medicinal spices and herbs (turmeric, cardamom, cloves, cumin, mint, tulsi, etc) slow cooking the food to enhance the flavor, use of ginger and garlic helps add the wow factor in the Indian foods.

Talking about the different types of Indian food, we have to face the harsh reality that the majority of the tastiest foods are the ones that are the most fattening ones as well. Did you know that eating one vada pav is almost 300 calories? Or one plate of cheese pav bhaji is around 400 calories?

Why are calories important?

Calories are a measure of energy. It is very essential to your body. It is with the help of calories that your body is able to perform any of its functions. Even functions like the beating of the heart or the lungs breathing wouldn’t be possible if your body doesn’t receive enough calories. But nothing in excess is good and calories are no exception. Excess calories are stored in your body as fat which also results in weight gain. This fat is mainly made up of triglycerides. Elevated levels of triglycerides put your health at risk and can cause serious health problems like the walls of the heart thickening which will put you at risk of stroke or heart attack.  Also, losing fat is a tedious process and a very difficult one at the same. So, it’s better to take precautions first, than face the consequences later.

How can we lose fat?

A very cliched answer to this question is eating healthy and exercising for at least 30 minutes every day. But it is definitely one of the most important steps in losing fat. However, even while eating healthy you can still be over-consuming the calories which do not get burned during exercising. For example, you prepare a salad for yourself because you want to lose weight. You eat salad for a week straight. But by the end of the week, you seem to have gained weight! This can be because even though it’s “healthy” doesn’t mean you can overconsume it or not bother to count the calories. Even a single tablespoon of Olive oil dressing over your salad contains about 120 calories. Or the overwhelming amount of fruits, veggies, or meat in your salad could be the reason. So, it’s imperative to know your calories and consume them accordingly.

The scary Fad Diet culture

Eating salad forever is not a feasible idea and is a part of the fad diet culture. Fad diets are very popular because everyone who wants to lose weight wants overnight results which are very inaccurate. Because the fat in the body hasn’t accumulated overnight. Months and years of slowly accumulating fat in the body aren’t going to disappear overnight. So, any diet that offers you overnight results is a part of this Fad diet culture.

Fad diets sound like music to the ears because it promises you everything you want to hear. They promise results instantly and all you will need to do is either drink lemon water with honey or apple cider vinegar on empty stomach. Some people even follow the apple diet or the keto diet.

If these diets worked, obesity wouldn’t exist and the dieticians would be out of jobs.

Why is it “scary”?

Following some of these Fad diets can harm your health. Most fad diets cut down essential foods from your diet. They say carbs are the enemy. However, that is not the case. Carbs are as equally important as proteins are in your diet. The problem is the portion or quantity of the food you are consuming. A huge serving of rice is sure to shoot your calorie count up high. But a balanced diet is the key. It will take some time but eventually, you will achieve your desired goals. So, lose fat but in a healthier manner, patiently and not hoping to miraculously lose 10 kilos overnight.

A balanced diet

What is a balanced diet? According to Ayurveda, there are certain principles that one needs to follow in order to have a completely balanced meal. By following these principles you will have a much healthier approach to food and keep your calories in check. But in simpler words: follow the rainbow (eating foods of different colors), Fruits and vegetables make up ½ of your plate, whole grains make up the next ¼ of your plate and proteins make up the next ¼. Remember to eat only up to 80% of your full capacity. This will help tackle the problem of overeating.

Most people associate healthy food with bland or tasteless food. But that doesn’t need to be the case. You can have absolutely delicious nutrient-rich food while staying well within your calorie limit. There are different types of Indian foods with varying calories. But below listed are 5 Indian foods with low calories which are tasty and nutritious at the same time.

Delicious Indian Foods With Low Calories

Types of Indian Food

1. Idli:

A very popular breakfast item from the south of India. It is a savory rice cake. Incredibly low in calories, super filling, and nutritious this is one of the best items to be eaten for breakfast. The preparation for the batter of the Idli can be quite tedious but you can purchase ready-made ones to save your time. What makes Idli so healthy is the fermentation process it goes through prior to cooking it which makes it the ideal healthy breakfast choice.

So, to cook Idli, first, we need to prepare the batter. Rice and urad dal are soaked to create the batter. To create a fine batter they are blended together. Add more urad dal because it helps in fermentation better than rice. Then bring water to boil in a pressure cooker or in an Idli maker( if you have one). Then grease the idli molds with oil and put the batter in the molds. Steam the Idli for 10 minutes and allow it to cool down for 2-3 minutes before enjoying your tasty idlis. A single piece of idli has about 30 calories. It is eaten with chutney and sambar (mind the portion) which helps enhance the taste of Idli and provides more nutrients.

2. Dal:

One of the staples for an Indian household is Dal which should not be a surprise because India is one of the largest producers of lentils. Nutrient-dense and also delicious, one bowl of dal is actually just 120 calories! The word dal originates from Sanskrit which means to split. Dal consists of various split pulses like peas, lentils, or beans. Yellow pigeon pea is the most used ingredient to make dal in India. Cooking dal is easier because it doesn’t require prior soaking of the lentils.

So, to cook dal we begin with washing the lentils in water. Rinse the lentils at least 2 to 3 times till the water is clear. Then boil the lentils along with spices like turmeric and add salt according to taste. The process is usually finished by adding a tadka (fried spices like cumin seeds, asafoetida, mustard seeds, dried red chilies, etc, then following it by adding onions, garlic, and ginger and frying it for ten minutes.) When the onion turns golden brown, more spices (red chili powder, garam masala, turmeric, and coriander) are added. The tadka is poured and mixed in the dal. The tadka makes it even tastier.

3. Hara Bhara kebab:

Hara Bhara kebab is a North Indian appetizer. It is one of the popular Indian dishes and is indeed delish. The Hara Bhara kebab is vegan and also gluten-free. A single piece of Hara Bhara kebab is just 45 calories. It is packed with vegetables which increases its nutrient quotient.  Usually eaten with mint chutney and can is a  perfect combo with Indian masala chai (tea ). There are three easy ways to cook these kebabs: pan frying them, air frying them, or baking them.

The ingredients used to make these are sweet potatoes, sauteed green peas, palak (spinach), garlic, and chilies. Put the sauteed vegetables in a blender and blend them along with some coriander. To make the dough, boil potatoes and mash them in the bowl. Add salt, chili powder, chaat powder, garam masala, and lemon juice to the bowl. Add roasted gram flour to this bowl along with bread crumbs and the blended puree. Mix them together to form the dough. Make sure it’s not too sticky. Divide the dough into smaller sections. Heat the pan and put one spoonful of oil. Then place the kebabs on the pan. Pan-fry them till they turn golden brown on both sides and your tasty and healthy kebabs are ready. If this seems like a lot of work then head out to The Coriander Leaf to enjoy a scrumptious Hara Bhara kebab served in minutes.

4. Dhokla:

Dhokla is a Gujarati delicacy however is a favorite of people all over India. Its soft and spongy texture is delectable. Usually eaten as breakfast or an evening snack with mint chutney and tea. To make Dholka a fermented batter is used. This batter consists of legumes and rice. Dhokla is healthy because it is high in the nutritional aspect but less in calories. 2 pieces of Dhokla contain about 125 calories. They are super filling and due to the fermentation process that the batter goes through makes it even more beneficial.

To prepare Dhokla, take a bowl and fill it with ½  cup of water. Then add ½ green chili paste, ½ ginger paste, 1 teaspoon sugar, ⅓ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Then add a sieve on top of the bowl and sieve flour and turmeric into the bowl. The batter should be free-flowing but slightly thick. Beat this mixture in one direction for a minute. Steam this mixture in a large pan or steamer which is greased with oil for 20 mins. Before steaming the mixture be sure to add the baking soda. This will give the Dhokla a nice spongy texture. After cooking, cut the dhokla into small square pieces and enjoy it with a mint chutney dip.

5. Mix vegetable curry:

All over India, the majority of meals mostly consist of dal, rice, curd, and vegetarian or non-vegetarian curry. However, one can easily misjudge the amount of oil going in the dish and it can turn into a calorie-heavy meal. To avoid this, you need to carefully measure the oil and spices going into the food. Mixed vegetable curry is one of the Indian foods with low calories. This curry is also probably the easiest dish to make on the list with no compromise on the health aspect.

To make a simple but lovely vegetable curry there are only three steps! First, select the vegetables of your choice, wash them, cut them into small pieces, and put them aside. Try not to use too many potatoes as they tend to be very calorie dense. In the second step, take a pot and add 1 ½  tablespoon of oil, add chili powder, turmeric, cumin, garlic, and ginger paste, and stir fry it for two minutes on low flame. Add ¼ cup diced onions and stir fry till it turns golden brown. The third step is adding all the vegetables kept aside in the first step, adding ½ cup water, and letting it cook for 20-30 minutes, and it’s ready!

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