5 super carbs to reduce weight

Eat less and lose weight.

This theory sounds so easy, so simple, so doable, you think. Or is it? Reduce your food intake and you are hit with the reality of a hungry tummy asking for more. Then you are constantly worried wondering if you will get hungry before the next meal, what will you or will not eat, etc. Thus you think of food all day long and get hungrier in doing so.

Eat foods that cause satiety and lose weight. Therefore you can eat lesser and thereby you will reduce weight.

Two major components in a food that qualify it to help control hunger are fibre (soluble and insoluble) and protein.

In traditional Indian cooking we have no dearth of high fibre complex carbohydrate foods that add bulk and satiety. In fact, what we have are economical, far superior nutritionally and easily available complex carbohydrates than ready-to-eat commercial cereals.

Here are some items you can include in your diet plan.

Barley: Our own desi equivalent to the western promoted oats. High in soluble fibre, barley is officially approved just like oats to commercially state that it reduces cholesterol. The beta glucan and pectin derived from these beautifully yellow grains are known to enhance satiety. Thus, it helps reduce weight as part of a healthy plan. One cup contains 6 gm of fibre which is about a 5th of your daily fibre requirement.
A good way to make a meal of barley to reduce weight is to make porridge of it with fat free milk. Use scotch or pot barley if available. If not, use pearl barley. Since barley is not so easily broken down by gastric juices it stays in your stomach longer curbing hunger.

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Rice flakes: Though not as high in fibre as bran flakes, our humble poha/aval with its unique ability to absorb 3 times more liquids makes it a very effective bulking agent to reduce hunger. There are several ways to make poha but in our diet context treat it like bran flakes. Eat it with milk.
Throw a handful of red rice flakes in a glass of skimmed milk, add a tablespoon of raisins for sweetness and another tablespoon of your fancied nuts ( I prefer black sesame seeds roasted) and you have a wholesome meal that will keep you going till the next meal. You might find yourself thirsty after a while so gulp down a whole glass of water and this would just add to the bulking effect.

Wheat dalia: Versatile, nutritious and easily prepared, a fulfilling carbohydrate food that tastes good too. The coarsely ground broken wheat retains its nutritive value and you may cook the dalia anyway you want but without oil. Cook it along with moong dal to make a kitchidi or eat it like a paal kanji, Kerala style.
Alternatively add a cup of diced and steamed vegetables to 2/3rd cup of cooked wheat, generously garnish with chopped coriander leaves, several squeezes of lemon and salt to taste. No oil, less calories and high in satiety- perfect for losing weight.

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Ragi: Staple breakfast food for the farmers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, a ragi meal sustains them day long without going hungry. Highly nutritious, rich in antioxidants and most minerals (particularly calcium) and vitamins, ragi complements well with milk providing a complete drink to ward off hunger. Replace a meal at night with this drink to lower your total calories in the day.

Legumes: The Indian’s source of protein and fibre all in one. Sprout them and they gratefully give you a world’s worth of nutrition in a bowl and fill up your stomach with very less calories. This is a must on every weight loser’s meal plan.

Take the moong for instance. You can just make a meal out of it. Add chopped coriander/methi leaves, onions, green chillis and tomatoes to a cup of sprouted (raw) moong, mix with the juice of ½ a moosambi and a tablespoon of dry roasted peanuts for crunchiness. You have a good deal for so less calories.

The best sources of fibre and proteins come from whole grains and legumes. When you are eating lesser amounts of food to effect weight loss you need the best of foods to nourish you. Incorporate these sensibly and creatively into your diet plan and losing weight becomes a challengingly fun culinary experience.
Parvathy R Krishnan
The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at http://premadiet.blogspot.in/

More by this author:
How to reduce cholesterol in the Indian diet
What do you eat to manage diabetes?

Image: Getty Images

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