Whether it’s a family get-together, ghar ka function, or a wedding – palak paneer is always on the menu, and it’s one of the most popular dishes across North and South India. What’s more, it’s among the top 10 most popular curries in the United Kingdom, falling back by just a few slots from the numero uno “chicken tikka masala.” And of course, it’s a go-to dish and the most convenient dish to pick off the menu in restaurants across India. Yes, it’s yours and our favorite paneer dish, So, if palak paneer is your favorite dish and you are looking forward to have it during festivities, but also if you are someone who is trying to lose weight – here’s the obvious dilemma – is it okay to have palak paneer during weight loss? Let’s find out:
What’s So Special About Palak Paneer?
It’s a versatile dish that you can have with just about anything – roti/chapathi, paratha, rice, pulao, even on its own. And a delicacy that you can have even on festival days when you need to stay off meat and non-vegetarian stuff. Also, it’s light on the tummy and the spices are balanced to suit every palate. Not to mention, the vibrant green color of the curry makes it appetizing and visually appealing.
Palak Paneer is made with fresh palak puree (spinach) and paneer (cottage cheese). The other ingredients are –
onion, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, and basic spices. But restaurants use heavy cream and cashew nuts to elevate the taste profile of the dish. And there can be as many as 345 calories in just one cup of heavy cream! Also, 100 gm of cashew nuts can have around 553 calories! Just these two ingredients would add up to approximately 1000 calories and make an unpretentious dish like palak paneer a high-calorie fare. And we have the calories from oil, butter and other ingredients to add up.
So, should you just avoid palak paneer to lose weight? No! When you have it the right way, palak paneer is a weight-loss friendly dish.
In India, a significant portion of the population adheres to a vegetarian diet, relying on lentils and dairy-based products to fulfil their protein needs. Among these options, paneer stands out as a valuable protein source, having additional nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Paneer is recognized for its impressive nutritional profile, retaining approximately 90% of the original milk’s fat and protein, as well as 50% of its minerals and 10% of its lactose content. Adding paneer to your weight loss journey can be a wise choice, given that it offers up to 18 grams of protein per 100 grams. Moreover, paneer is so versatile that you can make a diverse array of dishes with it. Also read: “6 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Paneer and Shed Pounds.”
Likewise, spinach is a weight loss-friendly food due to its low calorie count, high iron and fiber content. Also, it is low in carbohydrates and fat. Also, did you know, spinach is a water-dense leafy green with up to 93% water content! Since it has a high nutrient profile with vitamins and minerals, spinach can support your weight loss goals without compromising on nutrition. Also read: “14 Best Leafy Green Vegetables to Boost Weight Loss.”
Since the combination of palak and paneer is considered good and healthy, here are a few pointers to avoid turning this healthy dish into a high-calorie treat:
1. Don’t have it off the restaurant menu because as mentioned above, to appeal to the tastebuds of the consumers, they tend to add heavy cream and other calorie-dense ingredients. Also, restaurant portions are often larger and will increase your calorie count at the end of the day.
2. Avoid deep frying, boiling the paneer in water would be enough to soften them up. Also, do heavy cream and other high-calorie ingredients to this dish even while making it at home.
3. Practice portion control. Do measure out your portions, be aware of the quantity of food to stay in calorie deficit in order to lose weight. Avoid going in for a second serving.
4. Practice Mindful Eating. Eat without distractions, avoid watching TV or phone to eat mindfully. Eat slowly and stop when the hunger cues diminish, not when your tummy starts to feel uncomfortably full.
5. Cook healthy dishes like palak paneer at home, using recipes from a weight loss diet plan. In fact, on the Speed Slim diet, we show you how to make palak paneer to bring about faster weight loss. Join the Speed Slim Challenge on the Rati Beauty for more details.