Eating Out on a Diet - Indian Food
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Spicy Indian meals can be a great choice because even a small portion can satisfy your taste buds. Go for a really hot curry such as a vindaloo or madras if you can bear it – you’ll find it hard to eat too much!
Bear in mind that many dishes are packed with calories and fat because large amounts of oil or ghee (clarified butter) are used. To cut the calories, choose dishes that include rice as part of the meal such as biriyani – that way you don’t need to order an extra portion of rice.
These make a much better starter than bhajis or samosas, which are packed with fat and calories. Each poppadom contains just 65 calories. Top it with raita (cucumber dip) and tomato sambal (chopped tomato and onion) rather than higher-calorie mango chutney or lime pickle.
Vegetable, chicken and prawn curries tend to have a slightly lower calorie content than those made with beef or lamb and so are a better choice. It’s often the rich sauce that boosts the calorie content so spoon as much of the meat and vegetables on your plate as you want but leave the sauce behind in the dish.
Curries cooked in creamy sauces are the worst. Masala dishes, for example, are made with cream and ground almonds, while pasanda dishes are cooked with cream.
If you’re thinking of your waistline, go for tandoori, tikka or bhuna dishes as they’re made without a sauce or are quite dry.
Without a doubt the best accompaniment for curry is plain boiled rice, which contains around 370 calories per portion. Pilau rice has oil added to it and with 650 calories in a portion it’s best to give it a miss. And if you’re going to fill up on curry, give the Naan bread a miss – each one contains around 300 calories!
You can see how many calories you are actually eating by filling in our easy to use food diary.