Eating in restaurants is the ‘in’ thing in urban India. Considering the fact that eating out is a regular thing in our life and we love to eat a variety of foods, it is important to make healthy choices.
Mr. Akash is a software engineer. He is working on an off shore projects and hence needs to travel frequently. He feels guilty because he is not able to take care of his diet and is gaining weight. He usually attends luncheon meetings that generally end after dinner. He cannot avoid eating restaurant meals as it is attached to his work profile.
There are many young Indians who face this dilemma. They are forced to socialize and eat out as a part of their work routine. There are many who dine out for compulsion while there are few who enjoy eating out from time to time. This can be a risky path if you are trying to follow healthy eating principles.
Do not lose heart. If you have to eat out at restaurants, you can choose the healthier option and enjoy the dining experience without any guilt. By making the right food choices you can enjoy a good meal without exceeding your calorie limits.
Traditional Indian food is the best and healthiest of all world cuisines. The use of fresh ingredients and authentic Indian spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin adds to the health quotient. However, one has to be very careful with heavy naans, bread and buttery chicken.
Choices to savor
- Boiled rice
- Dal, a lentil based dish
- Vegetable dishes prepared in tomato gravy
- Barbequed or tandoor dishes
- Raita, a combination of curd and vegetables
- Chicken, fish and prawns grilled and cooked in tomato gravy
Choices to watch
- Deep fried starters such as samosas, pakoras, poppadums
- Curries or gravies prepared in rich cashew sauces
- Naan, Peshawari Naan, as they are maida based
- Butter roti as they are served with a liberal helping of butter
- Traditional Indian food uses a lot of ghee (clarified butter).Choose dishes prepared without ghee, order one protein and one vegetable dish to cut down the fat and calories.
- Choose wisely and jump directly to the main course. Every extra course will only add extra calories
- Order first so that you do not get carried away by other people’s choices.
- You can choose clear soups and grilled starters. Avoid creamy pastas and any starter termed fried or crispy.
- Always ask for salad without the dressing or dressing to be served separately.
- Avoid desserts like cakes, pastries, sweets like gulab jamun, rabaddi, ice creams etc if you want to control your calories.
Well known Nutritionist, Shamika Kulkarni suggests, “Desserts are the most craved for and enjoyed by all especially while dining out. They become unavoidable especially in group dining, hence, choice of desserts must be made thoughtfully and the cravings should be tackled successfully. Desserts such as fruit custard, mixed fruit plate, fruit salad are healthier options. But cravings for yummy deserts like pastries, ice creams, Indian sweets like gulab jamun, rabdi, ras malai etc. can be fulfilled by sharing these desserts between 2 or 3 people and hence reducing the intake of calories but still enjoying the dessert.”
Along with choosing the right food it is equally important to control the portion size. You can control your portion size by sharing entrees with a companion, or get half the portions packed to enjoy another time.
You can make selective choices while eating out and still splurge. The key is to utilize these strategies in order to make the most of your dining experience and still eat well. Follow the right path and you can enjoy your meal out without having a calorie disaster.