Carbohydrates are a very important part of our diet. Found in foods like fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta, and dairy products, their main role is to provide energy. The body converts carbs to glucose, a kind of sugar that can be used right away or stored to be used later. The problem is if you consume more carbs than you need, the body tends to store the extra energy, mostly as fat!
Many nutritionists are now recommending that people cut back on whole wheat. We all know that wheat contains gluten, which causes the small intestines to become inflamed in those with gluten intolerance. But while wheat can be weeded out of the diets of those who have a problem, others need to focus on reducing calories from consumption of carbs and fats.
A balanced plate should have cereals of the size of closed fist only; the rest of the plate should be filled with pulses and vegetables. Just like rotating oils is healthy for the body, trying other grains along with wheat could also work for you.
Nutritionally, grains like jowar, oats, barley and ragi fall into the same category as wheat. Most are close to values of wheat when it comes to nutrients, except jowar, which is a little higher in iron content, and oats, which score more on the fiber front. Kala chana/soy/dal, on the other hand, is a part of the pulse food group, known to be nutritionally richer in proteins.
A few studies have shown that a protein-rich diet can accelerate weight loss if complemented with ample exercise.
I have used oats and pulses in combination to increase protein content for most of my clients. Oats are rich in soluble fiber and pulses (moong dal or besan) are rich in protein. Teamed with a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, they gave great results.
Removing wheat from your diet may lead to a reduction of energy (calories) and fiber (roughage) intake. Include lots of fruit and vegetables to ensure you have plenty of fiber.
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Options to try:
Bajra or jowar as jowar or bajra roti/ khichdi with low-fat curd, kala chana or dal as dal cheela stuffed with vegetables, dal chapatti with any vegetable, soy as soy chapatti with green vegetables, Nutrela curry with brown rice, brown rice Nutrela/ soy pulao with low-fat curd and soy idli with vegetables. Introduce oats into meals as chapatti with bhaji/ low-fat curd, idli, uttapam, cheela, dosa or a smoothie. You can also stuff chapattis with vegetables, greens or low-fat paneer.
Keep in mind that a lot of skill and practice is required to roll out chapattis from these grains. Beginners can try mixing these flours with wheat flour to knead a soft dough.