Indian Foods that Help in Weight Loss

Indian Foods that Help in Weight Loss

India is facing a flood of obesity. We were ranked the 3rd most Obese Country in the world in 2014, and since the prevalence of obesity has oncreased even more as per NHFS-5.
And being Overweight is causing a flood of Health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure have become common.

There is an overwhelming amount of information available online on losing weight, but people are still struggling with it. 

Losing weight is the most challenging thing to do if you overcomplicate the process. It is not about restriction, following fad diets or eating foods that are low in calories. It is about eating food that nourishes your body and provides it with all the nutrients it deserves, and doing it consistently over a long period of time, not punctuated with weekend binges.

You don’t need fancy smoothies for breakfast or avocado toast for lunch. The humble Indian food is enough to help you shed the extra fat – in a healthy way. 

There is a misconception that Indian food is oily, overcooked, and unhealthy. This is far from the truth. Time and again, research has shown that if prepared properly, Indian diet has huge benefits. Modern India is slowly moving towards eating a more westernised diet, though there is nothing wrong with it, but we shouldn't forget the benefits of our Indian food. The food which our ancestors used to eat and now is passed down to us. 

Our ancestors, without going to nutrition schools created the Indian meal or thali in the most balanced way with dal (protein), vegetables (fibre), chapati/rice (carbs), buttermilk/curd (probiotics), and pickle (for digestion). Other than being balanced, our food is also locally grown, which has its own benefits - supports the Indian economy, reduces excessive packaging, and has higher nutrition because local food won’t lose nutrients in the process of import. 

Here are 5 Indian foods you should include in your diet if you are on a journey to lose weight - the healthy way. 

  • Khichdi (Dal khichdi and Bajra khichdi) 

  • Poor man’s food, our humble Khichdi. A dish we eat when we are not well but a dish that should be a part of our daily diet.

    Khichdi is made by combining rice and lentils. It provides carbohydrates, protein and fibre in one bowl which makes it a complete meal on its own. The protein and fibre in lentils keep you full for longer which reduces the unnecessary snacking you do in between meals. 

    Khichdi gets a bad name for being a food for the sick, but it is one of the healthiest and yet tastiest dishes you can add to your diet. If you find the taste a little bland, you can top it with some tadka. The spices in tadka will provide additional benefits. Add ghee on top for healthy fats or veggies to increase fibre level.

    (Khichdi; Photo by Thomas Nahar, Source)

    You can also opt for bajra khichdi which provides even more benefits. Bajra, being a millet, provides additional benefits for weight loss.

  • Basil Seeds (Sabja Seeds)

  • Chia seeds are beneficial for weight loss and your overall health, but they are also expensive. So, replace them with an affordable alternative – Basil Seeds. You know those tiny jelly-like seeds on top of the faluda? Yes, those. 

    Basil seeds, or Sabja Seeds as they are known in India are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, fibre, and omega-3. The high fibre content will keep you full for longer, and the micronutrients will provide you with a bunch of health benefits. 

    They are best eaten during summers because of their cooling properties. Mix them with water to have it as a morning drink, have it with curd for lunch or soak them in water and add on top of your favourite dessert. 

    Keep in mind if you're pregnant or have thyroid, it is best to avoid them.

    (Basil Seeds; Photo by FeitianXiao, Source)

  • Chana Sattu

  • When you are on a weight loss journey, it is advisable to increase the protein in your diet. 

    The protein shakes you get in the stores are good, but there is no assurance if they are heavy metal tested or not. If not, in the long-term, they can do more harm to your body than good. But you don’t need to go out and buy expensive proteins because you can make a protein shake at home. 

    The humble Sattu, popularised by the state of Bihar. Made from ground bengal gram, it is consumed extensively by the working class in Bihar. It is an Indian superfood, high in protein and micronutrients like calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.

    You can find vendors selling sattu drinks on the street side in many parts of India. If you can’t find it, the sattu powder is easily available in stores and online or you can even make it at home. 

    You can mix it with water and have it in the morning or after your workout. You can even use it to fill chapatis; there are ton of recipes online.  

    (Sattu Powder; Photo By Jing, Source)

  • Lentils (Urad, Chana and Moong)

  • You probably eat this every day, if not, it’s time to make lentils a regular part of your diet. Lentils are packed with nutrients, both macro and micro. They are high in protein and fibre, which means they will keep you satiated for longer. 

    They are one of the richest sources of plant-based protein. They have a low glycemic index; they won’t digest fast, and you won’t feel the hunger pangs kicking for a few hours after eating them.

    Losing weight is not only about the food you eat but also about physical movement. If you are including a high-intensity workout in your routine, you need more iron than a sedentary person, especially females.

    With more than 10 types of lentils available in the Indian market, there is no excuse for you to not eat them.

    (Variety of lentils; Photo by cottonbro, Source)

  • Sorghum (Jowar)

  • Sorghum, a powerful, gluten-free grain is a staple for the people in Maharashtra. It is slowly getting the love it deserves in other parts of India as well. Being a millet, it is naturally gluten-free, so perfect for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

    It is rich in micronutrients like iron, zinc, copper, potassium and B vitamins (thiamin, niacin and riboflavin). It is high in fibre, which means it will keep your gut healthy, keep you full for longer and maintain your blood sugar levels. 

    Antioxidants like phenolic acids and flavonoids are abundantly present in sorghum, which helps in fighting oxidative stress.

    A study showed that sorghum can be beneficial in losing weight as compared to wheat; one group of people were given wheat and the other sorghum. Even though the group that consumed sorghum didn’t lose more weight, but they ate more calories than the wheat group and yet lost more body fat. 

    You must know, weight loss is not about the number on the scale but the fat percentage in your body.

    Motherkart Jowar (Sorghum); Source


    Weight loss is a marathon, not a race, so instead of spending money on expensive food you can’t afford, create a diet you can follow for life. You don’t need to search for complicated diets online; all you need for this journey is already in your kitchen. A simple and balanced home-cooked Indian meal is all you need to lose weight.

    Remember to move your body, keep your mind stress-free and eat healthily. 

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