Desi nashta, a far healthier option

Despite all fuss and growing concern over healthy eating over these years, our preference for breakfast remains desi Indian food. Without thinking twice, we are ready to set aside a bowl of corn flakes for aloo paratha smeared with loads of butter.

It’s been quite some time that the concept of light breakfast such as bread, omelette, cornflakes, French toast, sprouts along with fruit juices came to India.  It cast its net even more widely over the last few years with growing consciousness for
healthy living. However, it has failed to replace the traditional Indian breakfast completely.

Indian breakfast or nashta comes in numerous forms and varies from region to region. Idli and upma in south India, poha and wada pao in Maharashtra, parathas stuffed with vegetables in northern regions, dhokla, khandvi and thepla in west India still make for great breakfasts. All these dishes belong to specific regions but have become popular across the country, irrespective.

According to dieticians, Indian breakfasts, especially south Indian dishes, are any day healthier than bread because they have a combination of cereals and pulses.

“Idli and chapati are high in fibre. Bread is taken only when one is in the mood for a western breakfast but no bread can be 100 per cent whole wheat bread. In that sense, Indian breakfast is far healthier if it is a mix of cereals and pulses such as chapati and vegetables, idli sambhar, upma etc.. Even a paratha is better than bread if butter is not added to it. Anything that is made of whole wheat flour is healthy,” says dietician Mona Goel.

“All Indian breakfasts are either a combination of cereals and pulses or made of whole wheat flour which makes them high in protein as well as fibre. These are good options for breakfast because morning is the time when metabolism is on the higher side,” she says.
No wonder, many swear by their traditional breakfasts even now. “I can’t have bread every day. At least four days a week, we get parathas of various fillings as breakfast. It is delicious of course and filling also. I am not worried about calories because I exercise daily,” says Ayushi Sharma, a professional.

Many families are literally oblivious to any other food as breakfast. Malathi Rao, who belongs to Tamil Nadu and has been living in Delhi for many years, says, “We have so many options for breakfast in our own cuisine. Neither my husband nor I can have anything else than our traditional dishes as breakfast. We have been eating these for years.”

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