A major portion of Indian diet consists of carbohydrates. Does our body really need as much carbs as we consume? Are we pushing ourselves towards ailments by eating so much carbs? A balanced diet comprises of three main nutrients- Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat. Many people eliminate carbs completely from their diet thinking if it is carb, it is unhealthy. However, not all carbs are bad.
Carbs are of two types: Simple (Unhealthy) and Complex (Healthy).
They are refined and processed sugars which do not contain any fibre, vitamins and minerals. For this reason, simple carbs should be consumed in limited amount. As they are digested quickly, they lead to quick rise in blood sugar level, obesity, diabetes and cardiac diseases. Simple carbs include sugar and sugary products, sugarcane, honey, jaggery, white flour or maida and its products.
Complex carbs take longer time to break down in the digestive system thus giving us a feeling of fullness for a longer period of time. As they are slowly digested and absorbed, they do not quickly raise the blood sugar level. They also contain dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals which make them very healthy. Complex Carbs include whole grains such as ragi, jowar, bajra, oats, brown rice, legumes and pulses. Vegetables such as spinach, zucchini, okra, broccoli and carrots.
Here are a few things to do for reducing carb intake in Indian diet
- Replace conventional grains (rice, wheat, corn) with low-carb grains such as ragi, quinoa, jowar, bajra, etc. Instead of whet rotis, start making rotis of ragi, jowar, bajra, oats, etc. A part of wheat flour can be replaced by these low-carb flours.
- Rather than making white rice pulao or khichdi, substitute white rice with brown rice or dalia.
- Include more green leafy vegetables and cut down on potatoes and other starchy vegetables.
- Increase the frequency and quantity of salads and sprouts. A simple sprouts chaat with spices and lemon juice will do the trick.
- Cut down the gravy dishes and always rely on boiled, steamed, stir-fried vegetable dishes. If you are a non-vegetarian, you can always cut down the gravy dishes and rely on roasted, grilled or boiled meat, fish and eggs.
- Consume at least 4-5 servings of green leafy vegetables and sprouts and 2 servings of fresh fruits daily.
- Have healthy snacks in between meals such as roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ragi chips, quinoa puffs. Healthy snacking helps in maintaining blood sugar level along with keeping your hunger at manageable level.
Most importantly, you need to change your belief that a well-cooked oily and spicy Sabji Roti and rice is must for lunch and dinner. You can have all the listed good stuff boiled, roasted, steamed or in soup form.
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