How to Eat Indian Vegetarian (Gujarati) Food and Lose Weight

A few of you have asked me about how to eat Gujarati food, which is Indian and vegetarian, and lose weight. This is mainly for people who cook at home because restaurant Indian food is usually North Indian or South Indian.  Full disclosure I don’t regularly cook Gujarati food.  I asked my mom, Massi (aunt), and a couple of friends for help with this post.

Food Ratios

Gujarati food tends to be healthy already, so if you’re having trouble losing weight you need to change your ratio of roti, rice and protein (dhal, lentils, chickpeas, etc) to vegetables. When I was growing up my plate looked like 25% wheat roti, 25% white rice, 25% vegetable shaaks, and 25% dhal (protein).

To lose weight, you need to increase the ratio of vegetables on your plate. Your plate needs to be closer to 25% rice or roti, 50% vegetable shaaks, and 25% dhal (protein). Gradually increase the amount of vegetable shaak and/or salad you’re having to make up 50% of your meal. Any vegetable shaak will help except for potatoes and corn shaaks. Potatoes and corn are not as beneficial for weight loss because they’re moderate in glycemic index.

Another option is if you’re making something like handvo or muthia you can add more vegetables, like spinach or zucchini, to the actual mix.

Add More Protein If You’re Still Hungry

If you’re still feeling hungry after changing the ratio of your meal to 50% vegetables try switching to more foods that are lower in glycemic index and higher in protein to your meal. 

Here are some options:

  1. Switching your vegetable shaaks to ones that are higher in protein like peas, broccoli, and spinach shaaks.

  2. Using higher protein flours that are lower in glycemic index such as almond flour.

  3. Adding a handful of nuts like almonds, walnuts, or soy nuts to your meal.

The Types of Fat You Cook With

When you’re looking at what to cook with the type of fat matters. Your goal is to cook with something low in saturated fat and trans fatty acids and high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids. It’s best to use oils from fruits, seeds, and nuts like canola oil, soybean oil, and olive oil. Canola oil is likely the easiest to cook Gujarati food with. This means to avoid using butter and ghee which are higher in unhealthy saturated fats. Also, avoid using vanaspati or margarine which tend to be higher in trans fatty acids.

On a side note, not all things high in saturated fat are bad for you, for example, avocado, just as all things low in saturated fat are not necessarily good for you. However, currently, there are no clear medical studies in humans showing that butter, ghee, vanaspati, or margarine are beneficial for weight loss and your overall health.

Make It Into Habit

Some studies say it takes sixty-six days to form a habit, so about two months. Ask your family that eats with you to change how they eat too. This will make it easier for you to develop the habit of eating healthier.

If your family doesn’t want to change how they eat try making it a 60-day challenge. You can give your family members a prize or reward at the end of 60 days for eating healthy with you. Think of this as an investment in your health. It’s worth giving out prizes to your family if it helps you lose weight.

Want to lose weight with science-backed advice? Get my free guide Lose Weight Without Cooking or Calorie Counting and start losing weight this month.

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