Tasty and loaded with nutrition: Here’s why you should tuck into some khichdi today
Long before quinoa salads and kale chips entered the scene, we had the humble khichdi as a superfood. As it makes news again, read on to know what makes it so delicious and healthy at the same time.fitness Updated: Nov 03, 2017 12:26 IST
Khichdi might not be the national dish of India, but it’s a much-loved preparation in most Indian households. A simple dish of rice, lentils and spices has become the comfort food of many. Every Indian state has its own version of khichdi. It’s a superfood that people across age groups are encouraged to eat. We ask wellness experts what exactly makes it so healthy.
“A staple food, khichdi is one of the best combinations in the Indian diet. There are many variations - like jawar khichdi, bajra khichdi and oats khichdi. So, you can modify it based on your taste and diet requirements,” says Tripti Gupta, founder of iPink, a nutrition firm. “The variations can also be colour based. For example, you can add beetroot to make it red, and spinach to make it greenish. For the tempering, you can even swap ghee for virgin olive oil.”
One of the biggest plus points of khichdi is that it’s light on the stomach. So much so, it’s often the first solid food fed to babies. People are often advised to have khichdi when they are unwell or having digestion trouble. “If you add vegetables to it, khichdi is a great source of fiber, which helps with constipation, loose motions and vomiting,” says nutritionist Anjali Peswani. “If you are suffering from gas or bloating, you can avoid moong dal and instead use toor dal in the khichdi. Besides that, khichdi with veggies is a great way to ensure intake of vitamins and minerals.”
The consistency of khichdi can be changed as per requirement. Babies and senior citizens are often given a watery khichdi because it’s easy to chew and digest. The spices can also be toned down. “People on ventilators are often fed khichdi through a food pipe. Besides being easy on the stomach, it provides them with substantial nutrition,” says Peswani.
Moreover, khichdi has anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to the spices added. Turmeric, hing, and cumin powder are the common spices used while preparing the dish. “Khichdi creates an anti-inflammatory environment in the body. Moreover, it’s also rich in anti-oxidants, which you need because your body is always prone to oxidants and ageing,” says Dr Siddhant Bhargava, co-founder of Food Darzee, a diet and nutrition firm.
Bhargava adds that khichdi is a complete source of protein. “There are two types of protein – complete and incomplete. Complete proteins contain all the 9 amino acids. While meat is a complete source of protein, there is no vegetarian source that it a complete source by itself. But, with the combination of rice, dal and spices, khichdi becomes a complete protein. It is also a good way to consume unsaturated fats and complex carbohydrates.”
People trying to lose weight are conscious of what they eat. The good news here is you can tuck into some steaming hot khichdi even on a diet. “The only type of khichdi to avoid is sabudana khichdi. Sago is high on starch and we tend to add peanuts to the dish, which makes it heavy. If eaten on a regular basis, it can lead to weight gain,” says Peswani. However, as a general rule, be cautious of the amount of ghee or oil you use in the tempering while cooking khichdi, and refrain from sprinkling a lot of spices.
So, eat the way our ancestors did and make eating the good old khichdi hip again. Our bodies will thank us for it.
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