If you are watching that waistline and trying to control your daily calorie intake, you may be hard pressed to find many traditional South African Indian foods that will fit the bill. A little innovative culinary tweaking may do the trick if you are cooking all your meals but dare you eat out, then you will unlikely be able to maintain your daily calorie quote.

Bunny chowIt’s not all bad news though. Simply reducing your portion sizes can in turn reduce your calorie intake. Of course, it is difficult to eat half of a quarter mutton bunny, or try to fill up on a small serving of curry and a single roti, especially if you are accustomed to larger meals.

Difficult but not impossible and as with any lifestyle change, watching your calorie intake while still indulging in your favourite Indian foods requires willpower.

Any person on a weight loss program needs to ensure that their calorie intake is somewhere between the 1,500 to 2,000 calorie mark per day. If you have also included an exercise regimen in your weight loss program then you may be allowed more flexibility, provided that you are burning off those calories at least 3 to 4 times a week during a dedicated workout program.

Let’s take a quick look at the calorie content of some of the more common Indian foods in South African homes. As with any food, the calorie content is a rough estimate which can vary significantly depending on your style of cooking and the ingredients you use or exclude from the traditional recipe.

Calorie content of roti

Fortunately roti is not a devastating calorie-wise as you would think. It can vary from 75 calories for the regular home-made variety to a whopping 160 calories if you have chosen a butter-drenched paratha. You can still improve upon this by using less oil or butter when toasting your roti and size does matter. If you want to eat one whole roti, try rolling it thinner and of a smaller diameter.

Calorie content of curry

Just 100 grams of your favourite chicken or mutton curry can cost you around 110 calories. Once again using less oil, opting for leaner cuts of meat and cutting back on the potatoes could improve the overall calorie content. Remember that with the local South African Indian curry which does not often use cream, you could bulk up your curry a little more with a tomatoes, onions and some water rather than with oil.

Calorie content of biryani

You may be better off with a chicken biryani than a roti or two with a curry. A single 100 gram portion of biryani can come in with as little as 150 calories. The credit has to go to the rice that bulks up the dish without the calorie content of breads, gram for gram. Of course, a 150 calories for a 100 gram portion of chicken biryani  is really the best case scenario and even a little extra meat marinated with yoghurt prior to cooking can quickly add to the calories.

Calorie content of a bunny chow

There is no good news for the bunny chow afficionados. You could easily consume around 500 to 600 calories by tucking into your favourite oil-drenched mutton or chicken bunny, and this is the best case scenario. Dare you wash down those greasy bunnies with a regular cool drink, you will be packing in excess of 1,000 calories in a single meal.