Indian buffets can be an exception to the rule about avoiding all-you-can-eat restaurants, as long as you use some caution. Most of the offerings are high in quality protein. The tandoori chicken is skinless and baked in a clay oven with very little oil. The curries use a lot of spices such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander that are rich in antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. And many dishes are full of beans like lentils and chickpeas.
But there are still traps like samosas and kachori (deep-fried pockets of dough filled with potatoes, meat, and occasionally vegetables), and many of the curries will be loaded with cream or ghee, a clarified butter used in many Indian dishes. Do a little investigating at the restaurant before you dig in. Find out which soups and curries
are broth-based and stick with those to avoid loading up on saturated fat.
Here’s how to make healthy choices:
1. Order the roti bread. It’s typically made with whole-wheat flour or a whole-wheat blend. Skip the naan, a white-flour bread brushed with clarified butter.
2. Start with the dal, a lentil stew or curry that is very filling.
3. Use the raita, a yogurt-based sauce, for dipping your roti, chicken, and fish.
4. Try the palak paneer, a spinach curry with mild cheese.
5. Choose the mulligatawny if it’s broth-based (the creamy version is made with coconut milk, which is very high in saturated fat). It’s a stew of vegetables and lentils, sometimes with chicken or lamb added.
6. Stick with the tandoori-cooked meats. Chicken or fish tikka, cooked tandoori-style, are very lean, and the cuts have been marinated in yogurt and healthy spices.