Indian food can act like a weakness for many who are trying to shed a few calories and be in shape: think about the bhajiyas and bhaturaspuris or naan with butter paneer masala. But, that is the great thing about desi food: it has an alternative for all kinds of people addressing their varied needs and choices.

So, if you are watching your weight and need to consume only low-calorie food, the following Indian snacks can certainly be your savior.

1. Upma

Upma[Photo Source: Pinterest]

Traditionally, upma is made of semolina which is roasted and then cooked with some vegetables like carrots, onions and capsicum, roasted peanuts, some dals (lentils) and spices. It is one of the most delicious and healthy Indian snacks, which is more prevalent in the South. For reducing the calorie intake, try making upma with oats instead of semolina.

2. Dhokla

Dhokla[Photo Source: Pinterest]

A famous snack originating in Gujarat that has become a favorite of people throughout the country, dhokla is a steamed snack made of a batter of Bengal gram flour, yogurt, semolina, lime juice and some baking powder. It is garnished with curry leaves and coriander and is served with chutney. The oil content is low because it is steamed and not fried. Also, the fermentation of the flour enhances its nutritive value. Moreover, it is delicious and fulfilling. What else do we need?

3. Cucumber Raita

cucumber raita[Photo Source: Pinterest]

This snack is a quick and flavorsome complement to your lunch or dinner—and can also serve it as a light snack. Just mix some curd with spices like salt, curry leaf powder, mint powder, a little green chili paste and roasted cumin and whisk it well. Then, add grated cucumber and some water if you want a lighter consistency. This raita contains few calories and is rich in protein and calcium. You can also replace the cucumber with finely chopped raw vegetables.

4. Sprouts Salad

sprout salad

[Photo Source: Pinterest]

This salad or chaat is included in the diet of many people who are watching their weight. The first step is to soak the moong beans (or green grams) for a few nights so that it sprouts. Then, with the sprouted moong beans, mix onions, chillies, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots etc. and top with lemon juice, coriander and some chaat masala (an Indian spice). Sprouts account for less calories and are a rich source of protein, antioxidants and other vitamins.

5. Oats Idli

Idli[Photo Source: Pinterest]

Idlis are breakfast favorites throughout India and even in other countries that embrace Indian cuisine. You can make quick idlis using a batter of oats and semolina and steam it in an idli steamer for 8 to 10 minutes (or till the idlis are cooked properly). They can be served with coconut chutney, sambhar or even some ketchup. These idlis are rich in fibre and low on the calorie count which makes them an ideal snack for almost everybody.

6. Moong dal cheela


[Photo Source: Pinterest]

This is again a quick recipe if you remember to soak the moong dal overnight. Next day, just grind the dal, add some cumin powder, salt, ginger garlic paste and olive oil and mix well. Then, heat oil in a pan and pour this mixture so it spreads evenly throughout the pan. Turn it over so it’s cooked on both sides. This dish is full of fiber and healthy nutrients and is definitely a savior for those on a diet. Serve it with green chutney or tomato ketchup.

7. Bhel

bhel[Photo Source: Pinterest]

This is a spicy and delicious Indian chaat that also serves as a healthy snack for weight-watchers. The bhel is made by mixing together  puffed rice, finely cut onions, tomatoes, cucumber, raw mango, spices and chutneys. It is topped with sev (which is the only fried ingredient) to add to the taste—but you can skip this if you want. The bhel is low on calories and high on taste—making it the perfect snack!

8. Ragi Dosa

ragi dosa[Photo Source: Pinterest]

This is a variant of the popular South Indian dosa, which is certainly loved by desi eaters everywhere. The ragi dosa is made from ragi (finger millet) and not from rice like the traditional one. The batter is a mixture of ragi flour, rice flour, yogurt, water and spices. You can also add onion and coriander to enhance the overall taste. Then, cook it in a pan and serve with chutney or sambhar. This dosa is a low fat meal and most of the fats are unsaturated making it an even healthier snack.

9. Chicken Tikka

Chicken tikka

[Photo Source: Pinterest]

If you’re not a huge fan of vegetables or vegetarian cuisine, you can include some chicken tikka in your diet. You just need to marinate it overnight with some curd, spices, and ginger garlic paste, then grill it whenever you want to eat it. The chicken tikka is very high on protein and it does have some fats. However, it is delicious and is definitely better than other chicken snacks. It is great for people on a diet and it will keep you full for a longer period of time.