Authentic Sri Lankan cuisine boasts of a distinctive and remarkable variety of tastes and textures combined into one cooked meal. Sri Lankan food recipes are always mouth wateringly delicious, from the way it’s presented to its explosion of flavours. A traditional Sri Lankan meal is usually made up of a handful portion of red or white rice accompanied by two or three curries of locally sourced vegetables, one meat or seafood curry and one green sambol or pickle, all of which come together in unique harmony to create an exceptional meal.
We’re fortunate that we have the opportunity to learn all the traditional masterpieces from our elders, from delicious chicken recipes in Sri Lanka to healthy rice varieties. Unfortunately, locals have forgotten or choose to forgo the optimal combination of curries and carbs and oftentimes favour meals with oversized portions of rice or meat portions as well as excessively oily vegetable dishes.
Let’s take a look at some simple ways in which you can make your Sri Lankan meal healthier and more wholesome without compromising on taste:
Opt for Smaller Portions of Rice
We Sri Lankans are used to huge portions of rice that is usually more than enough to feed two people. Toning down on your rice portions and increasing the serving of vegetables and green leaves will ultimately lead to a healthier lifestyle. Replacing your white rice with red rice is also a healthier choice and a good way to get in shape.
Always Include a Salad in Your Meal
Green leaves may not be the favourite part of a plate of rice and curry for most Sri Lankans but it is one of the most important item you should include in your meals. A fresh green salad or a properly cooked curry of greens is rich in fibre and antioxidants and adding green leaves is easily one of the smartest meal choices you can make.
Be Wise with Your Spices
Almost all Sri Lankan food recipes include a rich variety of spices but it’s important to add the proper proportion of spices to your meals. The health benefits of spices are immense and it has been an essential part of our long history and cultural heritage thanks to their taste enhancing properties as well as the numerous health benefits they bring to meals.
Avoid Overcooking Your Vegetables
Most Sri Lankans prepare vegetable dishes that are too overcooked and basically stewed into the curry itself, thereby causing the loss of nutritional properties of a properly cooked vegetable curry. Properly cooked vegetables can give you a lot more nutrients than overcooked or boiled ones and this is a backed by studies. So make sure you cook your vegetables only just so as not to lose their nutritional value. Remember, you have to eat to fuel your body and not to feed your emotions.
Opt for Carbohydrates from Food like Quinoa, Brown Rice and Bulgur
While most of us can easily source any local grain from the nearest supermarket, we usually opt for breads and rotis in our meals. This means that we often miss out on the healthy nutrients that we can get from grains and other healthy carb alternatives. If you’re conscious about your health, replacing your usual carb intake with healthy carb choices is the way to go.
When it comes to healthy eating habits, what we have to remember is that moderation is key. It can be a subjective term because it means something different for each person. For example, moderation for one person could mean eating half a roti with a small serving of curry while for another, it could mean having a whole wheat roti instead of white roti.
Moderation may be a complex and even a biased word but it’s an important one. Learning to eat in moderation can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight without having to restrict your food intake. Have you ever tried to cut out sugar, meat, or flour completely, only to crave it so badly that you end up bingeing? Deprivation often backfires and the only thing that will work is healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes.
When we go on a diet, we usually set ourselves up for failure. It all boils down to slow changes vs fast changes. Rather than avoiding certain foods completely, remember to eat in moderation. So that means you can still enjoy the occasional pizza or slice of cake.
Food is there to be enjoyed but remember these three important keys to eating healthy: balance, moderation and variety.