Want to spice things up when it comes to your restaurant life? Indian cuisine offers some terrific and tasty options for South Beach dieters. India is a large and diverse country — and the cuisine reflects its size and variety. Every region has its own style of cooking, from the vegetarian dishes of the South to the lamb-based cuisine of the North, with much in between. Authentic Indian food uses a number of healthy cooking techniques, including grilling and baking, and plenty of wholesome ingredients. Dishes may feature chickpeas and lentils; vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, and eggplant; and lean protein, including seafood, poultry, and meat. And the liberal use of spices like turmeric, ginger, cumin, cardamom, and coriander makes every dish deeply flavorful. Follow these guidelines the next time you’re planning to head out for Indian cuisine.
What to Order
Choose tandoori-style dishes, in which seafood, poultry, meat, and/or vegetables are roasted at very high temperatures in a clay oven. Other good choices include curries and masala-style dishes made with sautéed tomatoes and onions, as well as vegetable salads and sides of dal (a dish made with lentils or other kinds of beans) and raita (a yogurt-based sauce). Many Indian restaurants serve meals with white basmati rice, which is fine on Phase 2 (just limit yourself to a half-cup serving). Also, you can ask if the restaurant offers brown basmati.
What to Drink
Tea is ubiquitous in India. The full-bodied flavors of teas such as Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon are the perfect accompaniment to an Indian meal. If you decide to order a lassi, ask that it be made with low-fat milk or yogurt and no sugar.
What to Watch Out For…
Be sure to avoid all Indian breads, including puri, a puffy, deep-fried flat bread, and even whole-wheat naan, to which sugar is often added. Deep-fried appetizers such as samosas (triangular fried pastries filled with vegetables) and pakoras (fritters) are also off-limits. And always steer clear of dishes cooked with cream, such as malai and korma, and any that are prepared with butter. Fiery vindaloos should also be avoided because these stews, made with meat, poultry, or seafood, traditionally contain white potatoes.