So you've been good, been eating right, doing your workouts religiously and generally feel much fitter. Then comes a dinner party invite from a close friend at a Punjabi restaurant and you are in a fix. Punjabi food is delicious but it’s supposed to be high in ghee, cream and all things bad. What do you do? Don’t despair, there are plenty of things you can order in a Punjabi Restaurant, that aren’t cooked in butter like chicken,dal makhani and aloo parantha, and can actually be healthy and nutritious.
So let’s start with the soup and starters first. Skip the creamy tomato soup and go for a shorba, dal or chicken. Shorba essentially a clear soup is great to kick start the appetite and gives you a dose of protein too.
Now on to the starters. When eating a Punjabi meal at a restaurant I suggest having the bulk of your meal in this course. Punjabi food is as big on tandoori as it is on ghee and cream, and the starters is where you make the most out of the tandoor without ruining your diet. Plus the starters are usually high on protein.
If you are a vegetarian, you could order paneer tikka or tandoori gobi; practically all tandoor options are diet-friendly. The only thing you really have to keep in my mind is to ease off the aloo or anything with a creamy marinade. You may not know this by just looking at the menu, but I believe the key to eating right outside is to just ask. So just ask the waiter and if they don’t know, then have them ask the chef.
For non vegetarians, we all love tandoori chicken don’t we? But your choices aren’t limited to that, Punjab is also big on fish, being the land of five rivers after all. So order the fish grilled with ajwain(carom seeds) or the typical red tandoor masala. Enjoy that with a hearty salad on the side and frankly, that could be a full meal in itself.
Moving on to the next course, the mains. Here is where Punjabi cuisine can get tricky, most curries that you get in restaurants tend to be over spiced and doused in cream and butter. My suggestion here is to stick to channa and dal (just not the makhani variety), or dry vegetables. Eat them with a whole wheat tandoori roti, ormissi roti, if they have it, as it's as low on carb than most bread can get. Go easy on the curry and have a good helping of raita with the roti. Non-vegetarians, the same advice will hold for you, more meat, less curry and steer clear of the butter naan.
By this time you may be too full to fit in another bite, but go on and have a meetha pan to end your meal on a happy sweet note.
There’s no need to shy away from party invitations, a good diet is one that you can make part of your life. Balle balle to eating healthy!
Speaking of eating out you could also read more about it here
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