From white rice to naan and from papad to pakodas, a typical Indian diet is full of carbohydrates. While carbs are one of the three most essential macronutrients required by the body, you must pay attention to the type and quantity of carbs that you consume. Simple carbs like refined flour and sugar can cause sudden spikes in your blood sugar levels which can have a negative impact on your metabolism. If you are looking to lose weight, you must have heard that reducing your carb intake and increasing your protein intake can help. So, how does one go about such a dietary tweak, especially since our diet is so heavy on carbs?
Bangalore-based nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood explains "One has to ensure the perfect balance of two components in the meals - complex carbs and proteins. Complex carbs releases a low quantum of sugar and they are rich in fibre. Increasing the intake of these types of carbohydrates is advisable for weight loss. If you couple them with it some protein source that makes the meal all the more wholesome and nutritious. From plant-based proteins, whole grain pulses like moong dal is a good option, beans are high on protein as well as fibre and cottage cheese is another low carb vegetarian alternative. From animal-based proteins, chicken or fish clubbed with vegetables makes for an ideal low carbohydrate dinner option."
Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora lists down some interesting dinner ideas, which are both delicious and low in carbohydrates.
1.Quinoa PulavDitch your regular starchy rice pulav for a low carbohydrate alternative made with protein rich quinoa. According to the book Healing Foods by DK Publishing House, the south American grain quinoa is easy to digest and is a complete source of vegetarian protein and a good source of mono- unsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. A heart healthy grain, it is known to reduce 'unhealthy' cholesterol and contains high levels of antioxidants.
Ditch your regular starchy rice pulav for a low carbohydrate alternative in quinoa pulav
2.Greek salad with Goat Cheese The all time favourtite salad, made with healthy toppings of goat cheese, olives, cucumber, red onion and olive oil, in addition to the standard lettuce and juicy tomatoes can make for an excellent substitute to your high carb dinner. Dense in nutrients, the leafy green salad is storehouse of protein and iron and provides you with a healthy dose of vitamins A and C, and potassium.
3.Grilled salmon with Broccoli
Salmon does not contain any carbohydrates and is a good source of protein and calcium. Salmon also contains a decent amount of Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your brain development. Team it with boiled or grilled veggies - steamed and sautéed broccoli can be a great option. Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables. It is rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin K.
4.Chicken PattiesHeat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and shallow fry chicken patties made with minced meat until golden and enjoy them with grilled vegetables on the side. Chicken contains about 27 grams of protein per 100 grams (according to USDA), and zero carbs, which makes it an ideal for a low carb dinner.
5.Paneer Scramble Vegetarians need not lose hope. Paneer is great source of high quality protein and is low in carbs (about 3 grams per 100 grams). It is a great dinner option that you can consider. You can try this recipe of Paneer Bhurji by chef Andy, for a delectable protein rich delight.
6.Tofu and Mushroom Tikka Pull out your apron and take out those skweres and make yourself some delicious Tofu and Mushroom tikkas. Tofu has gained immense popularity as a good quality vegetarian and vegan source of protein. It is cultivated by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. Tofu has 1.9 grams per 100 grams) of carbs (according to USDA). Mushroom, on the other hand, are also a great low carb alternative for the dinner.
However one must take note that while trying to lose weight quickly, most of us end up ruling out carbohydrates completely from our diet. By doing so, you are not only hampering your weight loss goals but also putting your overall health at stake. Carbohydrates are one of three essential macro-nutrients that your body requires - the other two being fats and proteins. Eliminating any food group from your diet completely is not sustainable for your health. Altering your food choices and choosing the good carbs is the way to go.
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.