Dietary Guidelines

Indian Diet Plan for Weight Loss

Obesity is one of the most common health problems, yet it is neglected in developing and developed countries. Recent statistics report indicates that India is the third most obese country in the world.

Most of the individuals around the world follow a Mediterranean diet, Atkins diet, South beach diet, Paleo diet and many other types of diet plans for weight loss. But our traditional Indian diet plan is no less. It is a perfect combination of high fiber chapattis and high protein lentils and pulses.

Indian foods when consumed in the right quantity, cooked in the correct way and eaten at the right time can do wonders for your health. (1, 2)

Dietary Guidelines – How to Lose Weight with Indian Diet

Traditional Indian food ingredients are also known as ‘functional food’ because along with the calories they provide various other nutrients and nourishing compounds that are vital for weight loss and for the management of diseases. Here are some details about Indian diet plan used for weight loss:

Consume Whole Grain Cereals

Weight gain and the onset of diseases caused by intake of refined wheat flour (MAIDA) and its products such as bread, noodles, and pasta were never a part of Indian diet.

Our traditional diet consists of ROTI and BHAKRI made out of whole wheat flour, JOWAR, BAJRA, and RAGI. These whole grain cereals are rich in dietary fiber that makes you feel full and thus, you avoid overeating.

As refined weight flour does not contain dietary fiber, you may feel hungry again and again and you tend to overeat.

Furthermore, eating two types of cereals at a time can lead to carbohydrate overload. Therefore, eat just one source of carbohydrate at one go. For example, do not eat rice and ROTI together.

Besides quality, the quantity of cereal also matters. Indian diets are high in carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Hence, it is advised that individuals should replace a part of their cereal intake with salads. (3)

Increase Your Protein Intake

Research has found that Indian diets are low in protein. Protein plays a vital role in weight loss and fat loss. Protein consumption increases muscle mass and reduces fat storage.

Its high satiety value keeps the hunger pangs at bay. Lentils and pulses are a ready source of good quality protein for vegetarians. However, the biological value of lentils and pulses is low. This can be improved by combining lentils or pulses with cereals.

For example, DAL-RICE or KHICHDI are a good source of high biological value protein or complete protein.

Low-fat milk and its products such as curd, cheese (PANEER), thick buttermilk are good sources of protein. (4, 5, 6)

Choose Healthy Fat

Cream and margarine are some unhealthy sources of fat, which are liberally used in our day-to-day lives. Frequent consumption of such products increases the risk of obesity, dyslipidemia, diabetes and heart diseases.

Using the right quality and quantity of oil plays an important role in weight loss. Coconut oil, unrefined rice bran oil, olive oil, avocado oil and cold press red palm oil are good cooking oil options.

Daily recommended oil intake is 3-4 teaspoons per day. (7)

Recommended Food Lists

Best Suitable Foods – Include in Your Regular Diet

Food CategoryInclude in Regular Diet
FruitsFruits with high water content and fewer calories such as 1 orange, sweet lime, kiwi, elaichi banana, apple, pear and other similar sized fruits; 1 slice of watermelon, papaya, and pineapple; 1 small cup of grapes, strawberries, and cherries; 1/2 avocado or grapefruit
VegetablesNon-starchy vegetables such cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, fenugreek, onions, mushrooms, lettuce, cucumber, okra, eggplant, celery, bell peppers, green peas, and artichokes.
Edible OilsCoconut oil, olive oil, unrefined rice bran oil, unrefined cold pressed red palm oil and avocado oil.
Salt AmountLimit your salt intake to ½ teaspoon per day.
Nuts & SeedsConsume 4 unsalted almonds or 2 whole walnuts per day.
Spices & HerbsCertain herbs and spices help in fat burning and stop food cravings. These include cinnamon, black pepper powder, ginger, turmeric, and garlic.
Dairy Products Low-fat milk, curd, Cheese (PANEER) and buttermilk.
Animal Foods Eggs, chicken, and fish.
Others Green tea, flax seeds, and infused water,

Restricted Food Lists

You should not take following foods.

Food CategoryRestricted Foods
FruitsCanned pineapple slices, canned lychee, canned mangoes, canned peaches and canned pears. Sugar-coated dried foods should be avoided as well.
VegetablesCanned tomatoes, canned peas, canned sweet corn should be restricted.
Edible OilsRefined oils, margarine, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, refined sesame oil, safflower oil and grapeseed oil.
Salt AmountExcess salty foods such chips, farsan, ketchup, sauces, pickles, papad, salted butter and processed cheese.
Nuts & SeedsSalted nuts and sugar-coated nuts. Eating nuts in excess quantity is not beneficial for weight loss.
PulsesCanned beans
Cereals & GrainsRefined wheat flour and its products such as bread, pav, pasta, and noodles.
Dairy ProductsFull-fat milk and its products and processed cheese
Animal FoodsRed meat, shellfish, and canned fish.
Drinks & BeverageSugar-loaded beverages, alcohol, aerated drinks and sodas
OthersFried foods, chocolates, and candies, ice-creams, cakes and pastries, biscuits, cookies, and rusk.

Health Tips and Guidelines for losing weight

  • Limit your intake of deep fried foods such as chips, samosa, and other snack items.
  • Baked products such as puffs, cakes, bread, biscuits, and cookies contain a high amount of unhealthy fat. Strictly control your intake of such foods. (8)
  • Keep a check on your salt intake. Eating foods loaded with salt can make you feel bloated. In other words, it increases your water weight, which would show up on the scale. (9)
  • Avoid eating packaged foods or ready-to-eat foods. These foods are loaded with salt, artificial colors, and flavors, preservatives, and chemicals. (10)
  • Consume no more than 4 teaspoons (i.e. 20 ml) of cooking oil per day.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Avoid fasting.
  • Drink 1 glass of water half an hour before each meal.
  • Avoid fruit juices and sugar-loaded beverages. Opt for green tea, buttermilk, and infused water. (11)
  • Restrict your caffeine intake.
  • Eat slowly. Eating slowly increases fullness and enhances the action of weight reducing hormones. (12, 13)
  • Choose unprocessed and wholesome foods over processed foods.
  • Stick to your roots and eat traditional Indian foods.

Sample Menu Plan

For your reference, we have included sample menu plan below:

Early Morning

4 unsalted and soaked almondsNuts contain good quality fat. When eaten in right amount they enhance weight loss.


Option 1: 1 bowl broken wheat or DALIA porridge
Option 2: 2 medium IDLIS with 1 bowl thick SAMBAR and 1 tablespoon coconut chutneyIt should contain a good source of protein for muscle strength and fat burning.

Mid Morning

1 fruitChoose seasonal fruits. Avoid drinking fruit juice or eating canned fruits which are loaded with sugar, preservatives, and chemicals.


1 bowl salad or home-made soup without corn flourChoose fresh seasonal vegetables. Cut the vegetables just before eating. Do not store salad in the refrigerator. Eat it fresh.
1 multigrain Chapatti (ROTI) or 1 bowl brown riceMultigrain, fiber-rich Chapatti (ROTI) or brown rice will delay hunger pangs.
1 bowl lentils or pulses or 1 bowl low-fat PANEER SUBZI or 1 bowl chicken curry with 2 medium pieces of chickenPulses, Cheese (PANEER) and chicken are good sources of protein.
1 bowl curd or 1 glass thick buttermilkDo not add extra salt to curd or buttermilk.

Mid Evening

1 cup green teaGreen tea speeds up your metabolism, helps in fat burning and promotes weight loss.
1 small KHAKRA


1 bowl puffed rice (KURMURA) or 1 bowl boiled cornsDo not keep a long gap between lunch and dinner. Choose light and healthy snacks over deep fried foods.


Same as lunch


1 cup milkIf still hungry, have a cup of milk.

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Sneha Sadhwani

Dt. Sneha Sadhwani Sewlani (B.Sc. Food Science & Nutrition, PG in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics) is Clinical Nutritionist & Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Lifestyle Coach. She has expertise in clinical nutrition and 4 years’ experience working as Clinical Nutritionist and Dietician. She has been associated as a nutritionist with LTMG Hospital and S. L. Raheja Fortis Institute in Mumbai.She has also her own private practice where she offers a wide range of different programs, including weight loss, weight gain, diabetes management, diet plan according to diseases and much more through her in-person and online consultation.Sneha strongly believes that a healthy diet and lifestyle modifications are the best ways to prevent and treat diseases. She says, “Eating healthy is an art, be an artist of your own mind and body”.

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