Want to go on a low carb Indian diet but not sure which foods to eat? Your search for the best low calories Indian food options ends here. All food items and recipes are broken into lists that are easy to find and easy to cook.
There is an assumption that Indian food is not catered for people on a low calorie diet especially for those hoping to loose weight.
This is absolutely untrue and the many myths associated with Indian food. There is a whole range of high protein low carb Indian food available to choose from.
In fact, including few low calorie Indian meals within your diet regime makes it more interesting and varied.
Since spices are the integral part of Indian cuisine, there are some scientifically proven spices and herbs that assist in weight loss especially when combined with other complementary ingredients.
In this post we will find out what low calorie Indian food options to choose from, what foods to avoid, low cal Indian recipes and helpful tips for planning a low carb Indian diet.
What Is Low Carb Indian Diet?
Recent years have seen an increase in Indian keto diet followers. I am no expert in Keto diet so will not comment on this, but instead touch upon my personal experience of shedding the extra kilos off after the birth of my daughters by making few sustainable food and lifestyle choices without depriving myself from eating foods I liked to eat.
But at the very onset I would like to clarify that this is NOT a keto Indian diet or weight loss diet program to follow.
The aim of this post is to inform people about Indian food with less carbohydrates to opt for when looking for healthy low carb Indian food options .
Starting a low carb Indian diet means reducing the intake of carbohydrates therefore forcing your body to use stored fat as the main source of energy instead of using glucose that is generated when you eat high carb foods and sugar.
A challenge for most Indians is that a typical daily Indian meal will include high carb components like rice, roti, potatoes, lentils. Shifting to a low carb diet especially for vegetarians requires more consideration and planning.
However saying that , since Indian cuisine caters to a large vegetarian population, there are many low cal vegetarian meals to choose from.
Low Carb Indian Food List
There is no other cuisine in the world that uses a variety of food components such as vegetables, proteins, spices, herbs and grains, as Indian cuisine.
By swapping high carb foods with complex carbohydrates and carefully selecting what you eat you have more options to choose healthy, delicious dishes while on a low calorie Indian diet.
Apart from adding flavour, spices and herbs are known to have anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant compounds that are good for your body, some even assist in suppressing hunger and burning calories due to the nutritional properties .
Below is a list of low carb Indian foods with high protein and low calorie that you can add to your daily diet:
List of Complex Carbohydrate Foods
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in the body, it is therefore not advisable to completely eliminate them from your diet. Instead you can swap for the many Indian foods high in complex carbohydrates.
- Instead of making roti with wholemeal flour make them with jowar (Sorghum), bajra (pearl millet), ragi (finger millet), almond flour, flax seed flour
- Swap white rice with dalia (bulgar wheat), buckwheat, shirataki rice, poha (beaten rice), quinoa and brown rice
- Substitute pulses and lentils with whole legumes such as whole mung beans, black eyed beans (lobia), kidney beans (rajma), black soya beans, chickpeas (chana)
List of Vegetables
Select from the list of vegetables below and make your favourite curries, sabzis and salads with them
- All types of dark green leafy vegetables
- Aubergine (Baingan)
- Bottle gourd (Dudhi)
- Bitter gourd (karela)
- Bell Peppers
- Pumpkin (kaddu)
- Green beans
- Drumsticks (moringa sticks)
- Ridge Gourd (torai)
- Snake Gourd (chichinda)
List of Fruits
Get your daily nutrients by eating fruits that have low sugar content and high in fibre.
- Goose berries (amla)
- Water melon
Other Food Items
Indian meals also include dairy based products, nuts and seeds as a base for many Indian dishes or as a side dish. Here are some options that you can take for low calorie snacks or substitute for a curry base.
- Low fat milk
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Greek yoghurt
- Parmesan, gouda, cheddar, feta cheese
- Heavy cream
- Ghee in moderation
Nuts and Seeds
- Pecan nuts
- Brazilian nuts
- Hazel nuts
- Pine nuts
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Makhana (Lotus seeds)
- Puffed rice
Meat, Fish and Others
- Most fishes
- Lamb meat
List of Spices and Herbs
Add flavour to your diet food by adding a some of the listed spices and herbs that help in weight loss and boost your metabolism:
- Red chilli
- Fennel seeds
- Black pepper
What Foods To Avoid
When opting for a low carbohydrate Indian food it is advisable to avoid adding the below foods in your daily diet.
- Sugar or foods high in sugar content
Avoid eating high sugar drinks like sweet lassi, mango drinks, juices, sweet yoghurt and Indian desserts. Also avoid high sugar fruits and nuts based Indian sauces
- Refined grains
Do not eat anything made from polished grains like wheat such as naans, laccha paratha, puris, white rice, noodles, semolina upma, pasta
- Transfat Oil
Exclude hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils that produce trans fats on heating. These include vanaspati, margarine, vegetable shortening.
- Pre-packaged snacks
Before you buy any packaged snacks such as chips, namkeens etc do read the label carefully for the carb content. Most pre-packed snacks have added sugar and are fried in trans fat for longer shelf life.
- Avoid starchy grains and vegetables
Starchy foods like potatoes , yam, legumes, have high carb content. So if you wish to go for a low carb diet, it is best to either avoid them or enjoy them in moderation.
- Alcohol and aerated drinks
If you are serious about weight loss then it is highly advisable to stop your alcohol consumption especially high carb and sugar laded drinks such as beer, liquor, wine and soft drinks. You can if you wish enjoy an occasional glass or two.
Tips For Planning Indian Low Calorie Diet
In order to reduce the intake of daily carbohydrates, especially if the aim is to loose weight then take your lifestyle and health under consideration before making any drastic changes to your diet. If needed you should also take advise from a health practitioner to ensure you are doing your body good by making the changes.
It is best to follow a diet program that is sustainable and practical to follow in the long run as opposed to a short term fad. Here are some helpful points to keep in mind before you start on a low calorie Indian diet regime.
- When opting for foods less in carbs, you may find yourself feeling more hungry. It is a good idea to spread out small meals and snacks maybe 5-6 times throughout the day as opposed to eating big meals only 3 times a day.
- Select roasted namkeens like makhana, puffed rice , roasted nuts, kale chips, olives, fruits for snacks and make them delicious by adding a sprinkle of spice such as chaat masala, chilli powder and lemon juice.
- Start your day with a low carb breakfast of avocado toast, yoghurt with fresh fruits, lettuce wraps, boiled eggs and slowly built on intake until 5 pm after which you can start to reduce carbs and calories again.
- Ensure to keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water and herbal teas.
- Avoid eating anything after 8 pm, or going to sleep immediately after a meal.
- If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, consider taking some vitamin and calcium supplements to maintain your daily intake of nutrients.
Best Indian Recipes With Less Carb
Low carb Indian cooking does not mean that you need to cook any differently than you normally would nor make separate meals for each member of the house.
There is no dearth of scrumptious, nutritious, varied low carb, low- fat and low-calorie options available thanks to the variable climatic conditions and regional cuisine that exist within the sub continent.
Below are is a list of Indian dishes with less carbohydrates, that you can try .
Low Carb Indian Breakfast
When it comes to breakfast, you will be surprised to find that there are many alternatives to simple grains and high protein energizing foods to start your day with. There is a list of some delicious low-calorie Indian breakfast for weight loss purposes. You can also eat these dishes as a main meal if you wish.
Low carb Indian vegetarian breakfast
A very traditional Indian dish made with flattened rice, vegetables and nuts that is easy to digest and light on the stomach. For a Keto version you can swap flatten rice with cauliflower.
Another of the countries favourite breakfast, upma is traditionally made with semolina, you can substitute semolina with bulgar wheat and make this nutritious high protein, low carb Indian vegetarian breakfast.
Made with wholesome vegetables, this spicy oatmeal recipe is a great breakfast option and an excellent way to start the day.
This popular Indian crepe has been given a twist for the weight watchers by substituting rice and lentils with quinoa and oats.
Make this delicious flat breads in just few steps. This recipe uses almond flour for a no – fat Indian meal but you can also use chickpea flour if you wish.
Low carb Non- vegetarian Indian breakfast
For those who eat meat and eggs being on a low carb diet is far more easier. Here are some high protein healthy Indian breakfast recipes for you to try.
Spice UPP your omelette and vege it up with your favourite vegetables with a healthy light spicy omelette.
Give traditional chila a protein lift and make this delicious egg chila for breakfast.
For an indulgent weekend breakfast, make these delicious spicy chicken stuffed parathas. Use one of the complex carbohydrates listed above to replace plain or wheat flour.
Low Carb Indian Food Recipes
When it come to Indian dishes with less calories and carbs, you have a myriad of dishes to choose from. Be mindful of the amount of and type of oil you use and substitute ingredients which have a relatively higher number of carbohydrates with foods listed above.
Below are some low carb vegetarian diet dishes to choose from
Soft paneer pieces in a creamy spinach based sauce. Make the dish more healthy by making it in the pressure cooker or instant pot.
Baingan methi is a delicious everyday Indian sabji made using eggplant and fenugreek leaves both vegetables being excellent for low cal options. It’s easy to make and tastes delicious.
Lauki or bottle gourd contains 96% water and therefore a great vegetable to opt for weight-loss. This is a delicious easy recipe made with onions and tomato.
A keto version of delicately spiced pan fried Indian mushroom recipe. You can add other vegetables of your choice to this dish as well.
A semi dry spicy Indian okra curry ready in 30 minutes. This spicy vegan okra recipe is easy to make with just 4 spices, onions and tomatoes.
A wholesome healthy Indian daal recipe with vegetables and Indian moong daal (Mung Beans) cooked in whole spices. Its easy, simple and really tasty.
Below are some low carb non- vegetarian Indian recipe
Classic Indian style roast chicken. Tender, juicy and packed with flavor, you cant go wrong with this favourite.
An incredibly easy and flavour-packed slow cooker Kashmiri Roganjosh recipe made with only 2 tsp of oil for a healthy low-calorie Indian lamb curry version.
Tender and luscious marinated chicken cooked in a gravy made of spinach and flavorsome Indian spices.
A roast chicken recipe inspired from the Goan chicken cafreal recipe made with aromatic fresh herbs and spices. A twist to a classic dish.
One – pan easy Indian salmon curry with coconut milk, spinach and spicy vindaloo spice blend is bursting with flavours and good health.
Keto Fish Molly is yummy and a comforting recipe. You cannot go much wrong while cooking it. Serve with low card rice or bread options or just as a soup.
The aim of this post is to debunk the myth that Indian food is unhealthy and that you do not have to eat salads, soups and boiled vegetables if you wish to go on a diet.
There are a plethora of Indian dishes that are low in calories and carbs that you can make even when your goal is to loose weight.
A low calorie diet is not a temporary fix to loose weight, you will likely gain back the calories if you return to old eating ways.
The answer to a healthy body weight is to balance your intake of food with physical exercise.
Indian cuisine being primarily vegetarian,and given the diverse geographic and climatic conditions there are many options of healthy vegetables, grains and fruits of low carb variety to choose from and make some delicious recipes.