Rutuja Mahajan discusses easy ways to make simple substitutions to everyday meals to make them Diabetes-friendly
Indian cuisine comprises of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. The differences found in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic groups and occupations affect these cuisines. They vary according to locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. In India, spices form the backbone of cooking. Although the list and techniques used to prepare some recipes can be intimidating, they provide tantalising flavours and bring sentiment to the cuisine. Wheat is commonly consumed in the northern, western and central states while rice is the staple in the south and the east.
Meal plate in North India
North India has extreme climates with extremely hot summers and extremely cold winters. The northern region comprises of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
The north Indian cuisine has a wide variety of lip-smacking vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The food is generally creamy and served with a generous quantity of ghee. It mostly comprises of rotis, paratha, kulcha etc. served with dollops of butter. Thus this spread can be made healthier, with slight modifications to suit the sedentary lifestyle of the urban Indians.
- Minimise the use of ghee. Cook food in olive oil or any vegetable oil such as sunflower, mustard or soybean oil, instead of cream, butter and ghee. Choose made with whole wheat flour without butter or ghee over refined flour naans, kulchas parathas.
- Opt for grilled, roasted or baked lean chicken over deep-fried mutton. In your diet, reduce the frequency and the serving-size of red meat. Try not to eat meat more than once a day. Try to select lean cuts and always remove all visible fat before eating.
- Add more poultry and fish to your meals. Avoid processed meats because they are usually high in fat.
- Eat only those dairy products, which have low fat such as skimmed milk, cottage cheese and yoghurt. Opt for tofu over paneer.
- Include larger quantities of salads in your diet. Eat some fresh fruits every day. Opt for sprouts and fruit chaats over papri, kachori and samosa chaat. Eat more vegetables particularly peas and beans – fresh or dried – as they are a good low-fat source of protein.
- While eating out, look for grilled, roasted, baked and stewed preparations instead of korma, malai and makhani