The traditional South Asian diet

The traditional South Asian diet
can actually be very healthy.

There are so many
healthy traditional ingredients,

such as an array of spices,
such as ginger and garlic,

the dhals, chana, moong,
rice, wholemeal atta

chana atta, jowar or millett
or bajra atta,

loads of delicious vegetables
such as bhindi and brinjal

and exotic fruits
like papaya and mango.

So it's possible
to eat really healthily.

The problem is, we eat perhaps
too much in terms of portion size

and we need to be careful
of our cooking methods.

People from South Asian communities,
especially men,

tend to be more at risk of heart disease
than the wider population.

Also, when you're more overweight,
you're more at risk of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common
within South Asian communities

compared to the wider population.

Food plays a huge part
within our community structure,

but it is important to be careful to cut
down on portion sizes, fats and sugars

to help us lose weight.

If you use ghee or butter in cooking,

it's healthier to swap
to an unsaturated oil

such as rapeseed or corn oil
or sunflower oil.

We tend to pour oil
straight from the bottle

because that's how our recipes
have been handed down.

But it's far better measure.

Measure what you're doing now
using a tablespoon

and gradually start to use less.

Aim for about
one to two tablespoons of oil

for a dish that serves
about four to six people.

If you're worried that your onions
and spices will burn in the pan

because you're adding less oil,

add some hot water
or even lime or lemon juice,

and that will prevent it from sticking.

when we cook a meat curry,

we might fry the onion and spices,

but there is enough moisture and fat
in the meat

for you to put everything in the pot
together and cook a delicious curry.

After cooking a curry,
we often get this oily layer on top.

You can reduce the oil
by skimming it off with a spoon

or using a kitchen towel
just to dab the excess oil.

Some of the ingredients we use are
high in fat, especially saturated fat.

But there are some simple swaps
we can make.

For example, swap fatty meats
for the leanest meat you can afford

and avoid the skin on poultry.

Foods like paneer which are full fat,

it's very difficult to find low-fat
alternative for unless you like tofu.

But perhaps use less
or eat it less often.

Swap creamed coconut
for a lighter coconut milk.

If you're using cream
in dishes like korma,

try a Greek yoghurt
or a low-fat natural yoghurt instead.

If you're in the habit of spreading
butter or ghee on roti or chapatis,

why don't you try this?

Just spread it on one of the chapatis,

put the other one on top
and rub them together.

That way you're cutting it by half.

We tend to fry samosas.

You might have tried grilling them,
but that doesn't taste very good.

Here's a tip. Brush some oil
over both sides of the samosa

and bake them in the oven.

When they come out,
they're brown and crispy

and will have absorbed much less fat

than they would have
if you'd deep fried them.

Avoid fried snacks
like jeera, gantia, sev.

Try a handful of nuts
or some fresh fruit instead.

Sugary foods tend to also
be high in fat and calories,

so they're not very useful
if you're trying to lose weight.

Within the South Asian community,

there's always an excuse
to eat some mithai

like barfi, gulab jamun or penda

because there's a wedding or a religious
festival or the birth of a baby.

All this mounts up.

The idea is to choose them less often,

and when you do eat
these sweets, eat less.

People often drink glucose drinks
or blackcurrant cordial

thinking that they need this for energy.

But it's just pure sugar
and can make you put on weight.

Instead, try having diluted fruit juice

or any unsweetened fruit juice
once a day with a meal.

Eating too much salt can make you
more at risk of high blood pressure.

When we cook, we tend to pour salt
straight from the container.

How about measuring it with a teaspoon
and gradually using less?

We have so many delicious spices such as
garam masala, haldi, jeera, dhania,

that we can use to flavour food.

Even lime and lemon juice
can help you to use less salt.

Being active is a necessary part of
helping you to manage your weight.

This doesn't need to be formal exercise

like joining a gym
or taking up a new sport.

It could be as simple
as walking your children to school,

kicking a ball in the garden
or doing some vigorous housework.

It isn't that difficult if you take it
gradually, if you choose small steps.

Managing your weight
can help reduce conditions

such as diabetes and heart disease.

You can do this by making simple changes
yet still eat your traditional foods.