Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you must ideally never skip it. However, before you decide to go and pile up your plate with your favourite delicacies, take a look at some of the worst things you’re having for breakfast. You’ve been eating them all your life without a thought but you might pay for it later. It’s time to push these out of your breakfast diet right now!
1. Vada Pav
The Mumbaikar’s lifeline. Honestly, there is nothing more unhealthy than piling on fried batata vada stuffed with potatoes and bread into your mouth and stomach. A single vada pav can have as many as 286 calories!
Instead: If you really want something filling, try lightly tossed vegetables with whole wheat bread. Nothing fried or starchy.
2. Medu Vada
A South Indian staple, Medu Vada is considered healthy as it has dal or lentils. Well, it is not. Black gram lentils are difficult for the body to break down and your body needs something easy to digest but healthy first thing in the morning, as it has been empty the whole night. Plus, medu vadas are fried adding to the unhealthy quotient. There are 334 calories per medu vada plate (discounting the calories from chutney and sambhar). Have a plate of medu vada as an afternoon snack to satiate your cravings but not for breakfast.
Instead: Substitute medu vada with idlis as they are healthier and steamed, not fried. Plus have it with sambhar as you will get your vegetable dose from it too!
3. Sabudana Vada
A favourite among Indians especially on their ‘fasting’ days, this breakfast is doing your body more harm than good. The reason fasts were invented in ancient times was so that the body could give a break to all the Rajasic and Tamasic (unhealthy) food eaten and cleanse it internally. It was basically a detox day for your body. However, with sabudana vada, you are piling on the fat as the vadas are deep fried. Oils, potatoes, sago and corn-starch with preservative and colour-laced ketchup make this one of the most unhealthy breakfast dishes.
Instead: Opt for baked sabudana vadas as they are healthier than the friend variant. Also, replace that ketchup with home-made coriander and mint chutney.
Parathas are a North Indian favourite but they are soon catching up as a breakfast item in other parts of India too. Parathas by themselves are healthy food if not fried as they have vegetables and wheat (not for the gluten-free lovers though). However, the addition of all that butter and pickle to dip into makes the paratha as unhealthy as possible.
Instead: Go easy on the wheat flour and try making a paratha with other grains; ragi, jowar, bajra (you can even try a mix of the three), etc and do not stuff your parathas with just aloo. Experiment with vegetables too – you can add onions, capscicum, crushed peas, carrots, mint leaves along with potatoes to the paratha. It will not only add taste to your paratha but even make it healthier. Also, roast it on the pan with very little oil instead of frying. Team it up with fresh curd and chutney instead of pickle. Voila! Healthy breakfast ready!
5. Toast Butter
The quick-fix breakfast dish. Not really an Indian dish but loved by every Indian the world over. However, your toast butter has little or no nutritional value. There’s white bread which is processed wheat and butter which is packaged, and once again, full of extra salt, colour and preservatives.
Instead: Opt for a sandwich as it is healthier. Chuck that white bread out of the window. And before you pounce on brown bread, make sure it is truly healthy, and not just coloured brown. Make up a healthy sandwich with multigrain bread, chutney, vegetables like onions, cucumbers, beetroot, tomatoes, lettuce or get creative and add random vegetables. Top it with salsa instead of ketchup and it will make an interesting variation.
6. Puri Bhaji
A favourite pretty much all over India, this dish comes with its variants. While in some places the bhaji consists of potato chunks boiled and sauteed, in other places there is a mixed vegetable of sorts called kurma. Whatever the variation, the dish is extremely unhealthy. Puris are fried and potatoes are not the best vegetable to eat in the morning.
Instead: Replace your puri bhaji with a plate of chapati-bhaji which is a lot more healthy. Or you can also have pav bhaji (just the bhaji – sans butter and pav) with bhakri.