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List of Healthy & Tasty Substitutes to Reduce the Risk of Various Diseases

India has been a home for several food ingredients from spices to sweets. We have all the resources in our kitchen. With days, some of the lifestyle changes have made us deprived of our favorite food. For example sweets in general are made up of huge amounts of sugar and some among us can't have those so one of the better substitutes for white sugar is jaggery.

Prity Barman

Food in India has evolved with ages but the authenticity has still been the same. The flavours as well as the health benefits all have been same. People have instead are now trying to bring back the old methods or old food trends which were followed before as a healthy ritual at every Indian household.

Now with healthy, it doesn’t mean tasteless or bland food. In this article, we will talk and learn about good, healthy and really tasty substitutes for every heavy food ingredients which makes us bloated, gives cholesterol and increases health risk.

Our Indian culture has really good food options and we should be the one having complete knowledge rather than the West. Yes! The Western nations have been researching about these Indian based local raw food materials because of their properties.

With substitutes it should be clear that here we would be finding options which are easily available and are locally found, not some kind of pricey and too difficult to find or some luxury items.

Here are some good substituting options:

1. Millets as a substitute for White rice: Most Indian people have rice as their staple food or something which includes rice in it becomes their staple food.

Therefore, it might be difficult for most of us for replacing rice because of a misconception that millets won’t taste good or doesn’t have a taste but if one actually knows millets are the best substitutes for White rice as it’s not only rich in fibres and other minerals but they even taste better.

Millets might not be that moist and soft like rice but that too can be handled with a proper technique. For example, the millets before cooking should be soaked for more hours which would allow the millets to become softer just like our white rice.

Millets can also be used in all kinds of food preparations which include rice for example fermented food like idlis and dosas can be made using millet.

The entire process is almost same only thing is one would need to soak the millet for longer hours compared to the rice. 6-8 hours of soaking time before grinding is important for a good batter preparation of Dosas or Idlis.

Millets has been used as flour and has been consumed as Bajra Rotis in the western states of India majorly. Several other food recipes are there in India which uses Millet and interestingly these all recipes were well used and prepared.

2. Jaggery used in place of white sugar: Sugar has always been a cause of diseases from diabetes to weight gaining. In India deserts are all filled with sugar and sugar syrups. It is almost difficult to find a better dessert option. However, did you know that one of the sugar substitutes is present and has been used in Indian cuisine since centuries? Yes! An alternate for sugar, most famously known as ‘Jaggery’. Jaggery is also made up of sugarcane but it helps in weight loss, improve heart health. There are various kind of Jaggery which is been produced in India starting like palm Jaggery, which are very famous in West Bengal and Orissa. These Jaggery are a much more healthy substitute for sugar as it is still been used in our household for treating cold, cough, calm headaches, relax muscles and anxiety, maintains healthy blood pressure too.

Now as per the recipes in West Bengal people have been using Jaggery in making desserts and many iconic sweet dishes liken the famous ‘Nollen Gurer Rosogolla’ (Nollen is the name of a particular winter available Jaggery). Even a certain type of Paisam in Bengal is made using the same Jaggery. These are all good options for all the health conscious people who love sweets.

Well now as people might think that if Jaggery has so many nutrient values it must be good for diabetic people too. Unfortunately, Jaggery has high glycemic index and diabetic people generally are suppose to follow a low glycemic diet chart.

3. Desi ghee instead of regular oil: In India, when we move from north to south or from west to east, the food changes and so is the method of making those foods. Similarly, the oils preferred and used in various parts of India also changes. Some use Butter, white oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil, and sesame oil while some use coconut oil. Well all these oils are not good for our body as it not only bloats our stomach but also increase the Bad Cholesterol in our body.

As mentioned there’s again a very healthy and taste enhancing substitute for all those oil from our own Indian kitchen, ‘Desi Ghee’. Yes! Desi ghee which we were fed by our grandmother’s every morning has a crucial benefit for our body and guess what it has been scientifically proven that Desi ghee not only enhances the taste of our dishes but also reduces weight, improves immunity, increase hearth strengths and also improves bones strength. There are many more health benefits of using it.

Nowadays, the entire fitness enthusiast has come to follow the old ritual of having a spoon full of Desi ghee every morning because of its nature to breakdown rigid fats. Several northern food branches have been preparing all those mouth watering dishes in Desi ghee like the famous ‘Chole Puri’ well now all of us can eat those without any guilt.

3. Sabudana: Another very famous Indian household food ingredient. It is also known as Saga, Saksak, Rabia and Sagu. This particular ingredient is made using the starch extract from the roots of plants specially Palm trees and therefore have high quantity of starch in it. A wholesome food option for all the Indian families as it is rich in energy and high in calories. This is one of the reasons Sabudana are used widely during fasts. Sabudana helps people to gain weight, maintains blood pressure level due to the presence of sufficient amount of potassium.

Now in India there are several dishes which are made up of Sabudana depending upon the regions. The most famous is the Sabudana Kichdi a great supper meal for many of us full of rich flavours and lots of nutrients.

4. Sattu instead of wheat flour: The Bengal gram flour most famously named as Sattu is the common mans food everywhere in India. It is commonly known as the “Poor man’s food”. Easily available and an affordable food ingredient which is made up of Bengal gram, making it a healthier and cheaper option than our normal wheat flour.

Wheat flour has always been expensive and is rich in carbohydrate. The Sattu flour acts similar to the wheat flour so it would be easy to make chapattis with it too. Till now people have been consuming Sattu with water as a drink, this actually helps the hard workers on the streets to keep the day going as it provides energy and also cools the stomach.

For food recipes Sattu paratha, Sattu sharbat has been present in our breakfast menus. Now let’s try substituting the wheat flour using Sattu and see the difference.

Similarly, there are thousands of such substitutes which can be found in our houses. The whole idea of such substitutes is to lead a completely healthy and also valued life. Throughout the pandemic, many of us have lost our loved ones one of the major reasons were the pre- medical issues like weak heart, or lungs defect. Let’s try and bring about a change starting from our own home and food.

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