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How to describe the food of the second largest country in the world? Indian is a country whose diversity is unparalleled with thousands of languages, different religions and cultures spanning millennia, but like everywhere else food is at the epicenter of it all. Best known for spicy curries, Indian food is so much more. In fact I almost did not writing about Indian food because I felt that in one blog post could I even try to explain or capture the Indian essence. But I couldn’t write about healthy ethic food without talking about Indian because well it’s healthy, and simply delicious.

Some basic Indian food facts:

  • Most Indians are vegetarians (religious reasons see Hinduism , Buddhism and Jain)
  • Even with the inclusion of meat, meals revolve around grains and breads
  • Indian cuisine is notable for the wide variety of spices
  • A typical Indian plate of food is called Tahli
  • Not all Indians eat with their hands although some do
  • Every region has its own unique cuisine

A typical Thali meal: A thali is a selection of different dishes, usually served in small bowls on a round tray.

Rice: long grain or Basmati

Dal (lentils): including red, green, yellow, and black

Vegetables: either in a salad, steamed, fried or boiled

Chapati: flat bread made from wheat flour

Curd: yogurt often made from buffalo milk most popular is Raita

Chutney: condiments made from fresh vegetables ground with spices

Fresh fruit: Sweet deserts are reserved for special occations

Common spices in Indian cuisine: cumin, garlic, turmeric, mustard seeds, black pepper, cardamom, cloves and fennel seeds. Spices are often uncut, ground, dry roasted or stir-fried, and some dishes incorporate them in the form of a creamy paste.

As you can see the Typical Indian meal is great for dieting, it fills you up on a combination of whole grains and pulses, flavored by spices and a little dairy. Seasonal vegetables and fruits are a big part of the cuisine while meat and processed food are not. In the coming posts I would like to pick apart the main dishes and offer some great tried and true recipes

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Forget traditional PB and J, try these updated, fresh, and healthy bag lunches that will save calories, and money. Plus they taste great

1. W/W Pasta salad in vinaigrette dressing  (try this with tuna or canned salmon or beans )

2. chicken salad (for more of a punch add some Bulgar wheat or quinoa)

3. Pita sandwich with hummus and veggie don’t forget sprouts

4. a Grazer pack:

Cut up cheeses, whole wheat crackers, low cal spreads like hummus,  techina or  creams cheese

of course Favorite vegetables include Broccoli, Spinach, Avocado, carrots , Sugarsnap peas,asparagus, spinach, peppers. Olive and pickles

5. Refried rice :  add some onions, cabbage, bean sprouts, peppers, broccoli, and an egg with soy sauce

6. Yogurt with cereal and berries or cut up fruit

7. Quesadilla: tortilla, cheese, peppers, maybe even cabbage or tomatoes

8.  fish tacos  tortillas, grilled white fish, cabbage, salsa and sour cream.

9. Soup minestrone, lentil, cabbage, borst, broccoli, orange soup (pumpkin, carrot and butternut squash)

10 . Dont forget Leftovers from dinner (grilled salmon with buckwheat, black beans and brown rice with cucumber salad)

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