What is Junk Food?
Before we proceed to the Indian junk food list, it is really important for all of us to know that what exactly junk food is. These are mainly described as the processed foods with little to no nutrient value in them. And anyone who thinks all fast food is junk food is completely wrong about their opinion.
Junk food items contain really high level of calories in them. In fact, they are prepared in a way which might look appealing to us, but really harmful for our health. Some of the most common types of junk food are candies, gums, desserts, fried items like French fries, cheese loaded items like pizzas and burgers and many more.
Despite being so harmful to health, many people consume junk food on a daily basis because of their appealing looks and mouthwatering taste. But you need to know that there is always a healthier option for you and we are going to talk about it all in this section.
What Kinds of Junk Food are There
Sugars and Refined Foods
Defining junk food in a single form is a really complicated thing and this is why we can explain them in three broad categories. Whether it is Indian junk food or any other type of junk food, sugars and refined products are always included in them.
These are basically processed sugar, all-purpose flour and the items made out of these ingredients (which are many). The high amount of sugar is eventually converted into fat in our body which ultimately leads you to gain a lot of unwanted weight.
Food Laden with Salt
Just like excessive sugar, consuming excessive salt can be really harmful for our bodies. There is no doubt in the fact that Sodium is equally important for our body as it helps in maintaining the water balance in our body.
However, an amount of salt higher than the daily needs can cause lots and lots of trouble and having a bloated tummy all the time is one of them. Canned food items like pretzels, chips and others contain very high amount of salt in them which is a major reason of high blood pressure.
Food with Excessive Fat and Hydrogenated Oils
Another category of the junk food is fats and hydrogenated oils. No matter how healthy Indian food your make in your kitchen, if you are not using the right kind of oil, this will ultimately harm your health in the worst way possible.
These contents are generally found in cookies, candy bars, fried food item, muffins, chips, etc. You can actually imagine the huge amount of junk food being prepared with these content like burgers, fries, etc. which have really high amount of fat in them. This excessive fat ultimately sticks to the arteries causing blockage leading to diseases like cancer and major heart issues.
The Indian Junk Food List
Medu Vada is a super popular South Indian breakfast staple and undoubtedly tastes amazing. But do you know how much it can harm your health, especially if you are having this for breakfast every single day?
It is prepared with black grams which surely contain a great amount of protein, but it is difficult for our body to break it down. What makes it even worse is that they are deep fried in the oil for quite some time which totals the calorie count in each medu vada plate to 334 calories.
We would strictly urge you to not have only medu vada as a breakfast meal. You can swap it or even supplement them with fluffy idlis which are much lighter and contain 50 calories only. That way you don't fill up only on fried food.
Samosa and Kachori
We surely do not need a reason to discard the deep friend Kachori and Samosa from the list of breakfast dishes you can have. In fact, there are various other healthy Indian breakfast dishes to opt for. For example, you can easily replace samosa and kachori with dhokla.
A single samosa contains a whopping 308 calories and 18 gm of fat. Samosas are prepared with all-purpose flour which contains great amount of sugar content. It is then filled with aloo masala which is super fatty and then finally deep fried in oil which is the sole reason of increasing bad cholesterol in your body.
If you want to make a huge difference in your life then you should strictly avoid consuming food items like samosa and kachori in your life. A treat once in a while, especially accompanied by hot tea on cool rainy days, is fine, just don't make these a regular fixture in your diet.
Sooji Ka Halwa
Putting suji ka halwa, often considered a healthy and heart breakfast item, may seem odd to you. But let's late a look at how and when was this food traditionally consumed. Most halwas were made during winters, specially in places where it gets very cold. This is a time when the body needs more fuel to keep itself warm and ingredients like ghee and sugar, along with the carbohydrates in suji create a warming effect on the body. Of course, even then it is eaten in moderation.
Suji is healthy for your body as compared to other items but Suji ka halwa also includes some wheat flour and gram flour in it, which increases the amount of fat and carbs in it. These are welcome at times your body is burning more energy, but can add unnecessary weight otherwise.
Furthermore, you should know that Suji ka halwa is prepared in tremendous amount of ghee which is super rich in fat. After including sugar in it, the total amount of calories in a bowl of Suji ka halwa is 450 which is too much in a day.
If you want to soothe your sugar craving soul then you can rather consume Rasgulla instead of Suji Ka Halwa which has only 100 calories in it.
Butter chicken as the name says is comprised of two main ingredients i.e. butter and chicken along with a number of other spices and herbs. Both butter as well as chicken (meat) has high amount of fat in them as well as protein.
It surely deserves to be in the list of Indian junk food list as about 140 gms of Butter Chicken contains 438 calories, 28 gms fat, 14 gm carbs and 30 gms protein.
This is actually too much for your body and you will always end up feeling overstuffed when consuming butter chicken. You can actually replace it with tandoor chicken which has half of the calorie count of the butter chicken. Also, you should always include meat in a limited amount in your meal.
Deep Fried Breads Like Poori, Parathe, Kulche, Bhature, etc.
All types of deep fried breads are super harmful for your body and have numerous ill-effects too. For example, Bhatura and Kulcha are prepared with all-purpose flour which has high sugar content in it. They are then deep fried which adds the amount of oil which causes bad cholesterol in your body.
Poori and Paratha are less harmful as they are prepared with wheat flour but it increase the amount of carbs in them and deep frying further worsen the things.
Consuming them with stuff like Achar and Chole further increases the amount of fat in them. Even if you are consuming such breads rarely then you should make sure to never consume them at breakfast time.
We are not denying the fact that puris and paranthas have been a staple food in many parts of India, but these traditions developed at a time when people did more physical exertion. Many people in the Punjab, where paranthas are likely eaten most, did strenuous work in the fields, or at home. You cannot eat the same diet as physically active people while living a sedentary life without some ill effects. While the active use up the calories in their food, the excess will be stored as fat by the more inactive.
One of the most popular snack items is Bhujia, which can be found in every Indian household. But do you know that it is worthy enough to be included in this Indian veg junk food list?
You will be shocked to know that a single tablespoon of Bhujia contains 78 calories. A single person can consume about a bowl of Bhujia in one go, which adds about 1000 calories in your body instantly. This can be a huge trouble for your health.
The combination of gram flour and deep frying technique is more dangerous than you can imagine. You should totally swap your Bhujia with puffed rice or parmal.
Pani poori is undoubtedly the most popular street food in India. Along with its popularity, you receive the news of Pani Puri being one of the worst junk food ever and do not even get us started on the numerous health problems it causes.
The puris are prepared with all-purpose flour which are further deep fried and you can imagine how deadly this combination is.
Further inclusion of mashed potatoes, chutneys, sev and other things make it super rich in fat and carbs which is too much to take in for your body. This ultimately result in most common issue of acidity and gas. Also, the water used with them is never clean enough to drink and this is the sole reason of stomach infection in India.
You can never recall a time when you had pakora and didn’t suffer from acidity or stomach ache issues. This is what pakoras do. They are made with Besan, salt and other spices and then deep fried for quite some time to make them crispy.
This amount of oil increases bad cholesterol in your body and lowers good cholesterol which ultimate gives rise to the issue of obesity in you.
To be precise, a small serving of pakora contains 76 calories, 4gm fat and 8gm carbs. The fact that you are having them as an evening snack with tea makes it even worse for your body.
White Rice Biryani
The sole reason of Biryani being unhealthy for us that it includes polished white rice which has high calorie count in them. The reason of including white rice biryani in this Indian junk food list is the unhealthiness of white rice included with lots and lots of oil.
The best way to make your Biryani healthier is by swapping white rice with whole grain brown rice. It may take a bit longer to cook is super nutritious.
A bowl of White Rice Biryani contains 161 calories and 22gms of carbs in it. You can also use cauli rice instead of white rice as it is low in carbs.
Potato Chips is one of the most easily available snacking item, not only in India but in the entire world. They are loved by everyone but they are probably one of the most harmful junk food item ever.
Potato Chips are something which contain all sorts of junk food content in them. They are made out of potatoes which are high in fat and then deep fried in oil and then have a lot of salt content in them. To be precise, chips have 535 calories in them, 36 gms of fat and 525gm of sodium in them.
You cannot find something so harmful for your health in such a small size. If you want to much on something healthier then you can go for Indian makhanas which are full with fibre and zero sodium in them.
Tips for Making Indian Food Healthier and More Suited to Modern Lifestyles
We all are totally aware about the dangerous junk food effects on our body especially when it is consumed on daily basis (which we do). But as we always have an option, you can easily turn your daily basis Indian food into a healthy wholesome meal. All you need is some tips and tricks on how to do it all by yourself.
Gone are the days when simple tasks require physical effort. The modern lifestyle is a lot more comfortable and one can spend the whole day without having to move much or even get out of a chair. This has it's advantages but can also cause problems, more so when we continue to consume foods more suited an active life.
Use the Right Kind of Oil
Oil is a really essential part of an Indian kitchen. From making vegetables to using some for parathas, we use this ingredient on daily basis. Rather than using the regular Sunflower oil, you can use olive oil instead. It has amazing health benefits but it is better for stir frying and pan frying only. You can also use non-stick cookware as it will reduce the amount of oil being used.
Switch to Grilling, Baking, Boiling and Steaming from Frying
If you think that frying is the only option of preparing a meal in Indian household then you are totally wrong about it. There are other methods like grilling, boiling, steaming and baking which turn out to be way better options than soaking your food in a lot oil on daily basis. A lighter cooking will always lead to a lighter and healthier heart.
Lighten the Load in Your Dishes
All the food items mentioned in the Indian junk food list given above have one thing in common which is that they are super heavy for your stomach. You can always try lightening the load of your meal. For this, you can include lighter foods like sprouted beans and lentils in your meal. Also, using less meat in your food will make it quite light for you.
Opt for Simple Swaps in Day to Day Food
And finally, the most important tip is to do little swaps in your day to day life to opt for better diet. For example, what flour and all-purpose flour can be swapped with wholemeal flour for making chapatis and parathas. The same goes for swapping white rice with brown rice. You can do these little swaps to make a big difference in your life.
One Step at a Time, Towards a Healthy Life
We know, it is difficult to give up on the junk food that soothes our palate, but is dangerous for our health in the long run. But it is necessary to take some baby steps to ensure your own health. So you can begin with cutting down on one certain dish that is most harmful to you, and then proceed to the others. Take just one step a day, towards a healthier life for yourself and your dear ones.