If you want to lose weight, you have to be reasonably disciplined about your diet. More often than not, this means giving up on your favourite indulgences like street food. Unfortunately, the ingredients, as well as the cooking techniques of many street food dishes, are far from weight-loss-friendly. But that doesn't mean there are no options left. One street food dish that you can enjoy even on a weight loss diet is bhel puri. This tangy and spicy snack is made by mixing kurmura (puffed rice) with chutneys, veggies, peanuts and sev. Surprisingly, it can actually not pose as much of a risk as other street foods.
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Is Bhel Puri Good For Health?
Let us clarify: bhel puri can benefit your body when you make it at home and consume it in moderation. Street food vendors tend to add too much salt, sugar, additives and artificial food colouring, which can damage your health. Furthermore, they may not store or cut the ingredients properly, which can amplify the risks. You might say: but if we make it at home, can it still be called street food? Yes! After all, you don't need to make massive changes to bhel puri in order for it to be healthy. It is simply a matter of having control over the ingredients and their quantities. You can still retain its irresistible taste, amazing flavours and crunchy texture. Unlike many other street food recipes, bhel puri requires hardly any oil and sugar.
Is Bhel Puri Good For Weight Loss?
Each of the ingredients of bhel puri can help you with your weight loss goals. As always, remember that moderation is key:
Kurmura or murmura is also known as puffed rice. It is a low-cal and fat-free ingredient. It is light on the system and is said to promote gut health. However, commercially available versions of murmura may have additives or be processed using oil. But you can easily make kurmura at home too. Find the method here.
Chopped onions, potatoes and tomatoes are often added to bhel puri. They bring a wonderful flavour and freshness to the dish. Onions and tomatoes are water-rich ingredients that keep you filled for longer. They are also rich in nutrients and antioxidants that boost your overall health while helping you stick to your weight loss goals. As for potatoes, many people think that they automatically lead to weight gain. However, they contain fibre and complex carbohydrates that can actually benefit your body. So you needn't cut them off completely from your diet.
A few peanuts are often mixed into the bhel for extra crunch. They are rich in healthy fats, fibre and protein. In small amounts, they can promote satiety and be safely added to your weight loss diet.
Two types of chutney are typically used while making bhel puri: green chutney (made using coriander, mint and chillies) and red chutney made using tamarind and/ or dates. Each of these ingredients is full of compounds and nutrients that can help you lose weight. They can boost your metabolism as well as your immunity.
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Apart from these, red chilli powder and other masalas are added to enhance the spiciness of the dish. Most Indian spices have long been known to be weight-loss-friendly, so there's no cause for worry there. However, you may want to pay attention to the amount of salt you use. Note that the only other ingredients that could possibly pose a problem are sev and puris since they are both fried and often not homemade. However, you can manage their quantities to ensure that you don't consume too much.
Click here for the full recipe for Bombay-style Bhel Puri.
If you want a special low-cal recipe, check out this one. Click here for the recipe.
Did you know that a South Indian version of this dish also exists? It is called Churumuri. Find the recipe here.
Homemade bhel puri is full of flavours that you will enjoy and nutrients that will enhance your health. You can occasionally consume it as part of your weight loss diet, without feeling guilty. According to consultant nutritionist Rupali Datta, "While on a negative calorie balance, this makes a great snack which is nutrient-rich and tasty." As mentioned earlier, avoid adding too much sev, salt or puris. Bhel Puri is a far better option than deep-fried treats and high-sugar packaged snacks. But it can taste just as satisfying. It's a win-win situation! After all, who said a weight-loss diet has to be bland?
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This article has been approved by consultant nutritionist Rupali Datta.