In 2013, a study named Indian Breakfast Habits Study surveyed different breakfast items across India and their nutritional estimates. Conducted at four major metro cities–Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai–with a sample size of 3,600 subjects, the study found that Chennai has the best ‘nutrient profile’ of the four.
And one of the most common breakfast items in Chennai is the steaming hot Idli.
Made from urad dal and rice, this soft puff of rice is a healthy treat due to its lightness and its nutritional content. Idli is said to be light as it contains no fats, saturated fats or cholesterol.
Further, it has merely 39 calories per piece, which seems measly to the 2,000-calorie daily requirement. This means idli is one of the best foods for your diet plan.
For the small-scale wonder, idli packs a good punch of protein, fibre and carbohydrates. In a single idli, you would consume 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of dietary fibre and 8 grams of carbohydrates.
As some variations of idli also consist of black lentils, there is also a decent amount of iron, about 1 milligram per idli, where a few pieces can come close to fulfilling your daily iron requirement of 8 milligrams for men and 18 milligrams for women.
With all this said, is idli good for weight loss?
As a whole, idli cannot compensate for your body’s daily needs, and that doesn’t translate to weight loss. However, idli can be used as a part of a structured diet plan instead of the replacement for healthy food.
For some, the white idlis can become a plain and dull treat over time. So here are few renditions and recipes for different types of idlis that you can try.
Rava idlis are an enhancement of the idlis. An enhancement, not only in taste but also in nutritional quality. Rava idli consists of semolina or sooji which is also rich in iron and other essential minerals like b-complex, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium.
For a healthy kick, one can also add carrots to the batter before steaming. This healthy recipe can be found here!
Ragi or finger millet is a perfect ingredient for weight loss. This gluten-free whole grain is jam-packed with fibre, which takes time to digest but gives a fullness in diet consumption.
Moreover, ragi contains a special nutritional amino acid called Tryptophan, which helps in curbing appetite and managing body weight. Combine this with the humble idli, you got yourself a healthy mix of weight loss food.
You can read the recipe for ragi idlis here.
Out of all the types of idli, podi idli is not necessarily the best in nutritional content, but it beats everything else when it comes to unique flavour. Podi idli is for those who occasionally enjoy a treat.
Podi is a coarse mix of spices and grains, and when it comes to idli, one can use other different kinds of powder like peanut powder, sesame seeds powder, flax seeds and curry leaves powder.
The idli is made in the usual way, and after steamed to perfection, they are mixed with hot ghee with the podi added evenly on top. This lip-smacking delight can be made with the recipe here.
And if you think ghee is something you need to stay away from a from, think again. Ghee has incredible benefits about which you can read about here.
So even though idlis aren’t the ideal weight loss food that we need, the health benefits sure can complement for a weight loss diet.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)