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Top Ten Tips To Cook Healthier Indian Food


Indian Food: The Top Ten Tips For Healthy Cooking 

 

Healthy cooking and eating certainly doesn't have to be boring, in fact it can get your creative juices flowing and help you transform traditional, rich dishes in to low-fat versions that are still full of flavour.


With only a few simple changes, you too can enjoy tasty dishes, but without any of the guilt! Here are ten ways to adapt the food you eat into healthier versions:-

 

1.    Use natural low-fat yogurt instead of cream

This wonderfully healthy, and much tastier, alternative to cream, gives curries a rich, thick and creamy consistency. You can also use it as a tenderizer for meat. If you’re adding it to hot food, try using goats’ milk yogurt as this won’t curdle. If you really want to be a health buff and help your body, try using a probiotic natural low-fat Live Yogurt full of healthy bacteria to help digest your meal more effectively.

 

2.    Choose a better cooking oil
Use oil sparingly, but when the recipe absolutely demands it, use Olive oil or Corn oil as a better alternative to other oils which are high in saturated fat. Corn oil contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids and helps lower cholesterol. Olive oil used cold or at a low heat helps prevent gallstones and colon cancer and also offers protection against heart disease by decreasing LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) and raising HDL (‘good’ cholesterol). Olive oil is a great alternative to butter because it literally tastes like ‘melted butter’. Remember to cook over a low heat to reduce the chances of burning.  

 

3.    Use a non-stick frying pan or try grilling
You don’t need to cook with as much oil when you use a non-stick pan. Or even better…try roasting, broiling and grilling meat instead of frying or sautéing in butter; these are all low-fat cooking methods which drastically reduce the chances of using high amounts of oil. If you must fry then make sure to drain off and blot the excess oil with a paper towel to remove any excess fat.

 

 

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4.    Choose the leanest cuts of meat
You can easily reduce your fat intake and maintain a healthy body weight by making sure you choose the leanest cuts when buying meat and by trimming off all visible fat before cooking. When using lamb, try buying spring lamb as it is both leaner and quicker to cook, giving a great flavour. You can also find the leanest cuts of beef by looking for the word "round" or "loin" at the end of the name e.g. tenderloin.

 

5.    Try the Balti Cooking Method
This is a great way of cooking healthier Indian dishes. Balti cooking using small amounts of oil to rapidly cook with a stir-fry method in a karahi (wok-shaped pan), over a high heat, allows you to adapt your food and make it healthier without sacrificing the taste. Remember to use a non-stick karahi or wok when using low amounts of oil.

 

6.    Skim off any extra oil
You can easily reduce the fat content of the food you eat by measuring the oil you’re using when cooking instead of pouring it straight from the bottle; this makes you aware about exactly how much oil you’re consuming, compared to how much you actually need to use. Also, why not try skimming off any extra fat from the finished dish? Oil rises to the top so you can easily remove it, making your food healthier and helping you to maintain a healthy body weight.

 

7.    Stop adding extra salt to your food
Too much salt can give you high blood pressure (hypertension) so cut back whenever and wherever you can. Try not to add extra salt to your food during cooking and at the dinner table. Instead, use tangy alternatives to bring out the flavour of your food without the salt; try using either lemon juice, lime juice, fresh or dried herbs (e.g. amchoor), balsamic vinegar or rice wine vinegar to add that extra flavour to your food without harming your health.

 

8.    Use fromage frais instead of crème fraiche
Crème fraiche can easily be substituted by the healthier, and almost fat-free, fromage frais. This is great for transforming wickedly delicious dessert recipes into angelically innocent and virtually fat-free adaptations.

 

9.    Use brown rice instead of white rice
Feel full for longer by eating brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice is more easily digested and has more nutritional value, containing less carbohydrates and more fibre than white rice. Whereas white rice contains mostly carbohydrates, which quickly convert into sugar in the body and make us feel hungry again after a short while. Brown rice also helps prevent colon cancer and stomach and intestinal ulcers.

 

10.    Reduce the amount of sugar you eat
When eaten too often, sugar-laden snacks and sweets are a recipe for disaster in any diet or weight-loss programme; too much sugar leads to weight-gain and may eventually cause type 2 diabetes. Instead, try eating fresh fruit, which contain natural sugars that satisfy sweet cravings without overloading the body’s metabolism. This will also help towards you enjoying the daily servings of 5 fruit and vegetables recommended for better health. You can also add cinnamon to the food you eat as this spice can help people with type 2 diabetes to maintain lower blood sugar levels and can also benefit others by minimizing their risk of developing insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.

 

By Shahena Ali, as featured in 'Eastern Eye' Newspaper

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