I am not saying I am fat. But if I say I am a little plump, it’s because of my sev puri wala. He’s generous with the chutney, generous with the sev, and therefore contributes generously to my weight. I mean, I can resist French fries. After the 4th fry, I can attempt to stop. I can even resist a chocolaty treat (yeah, I am the kind of prefers creamy, fruit desserts), and stay on my good eating habits. But it’s the walk down a street that really challenges me.

I see a sev puri wala or a sandwich guy and I am so tempted, it’s difficult for me to think straight. If you, like me, dream of marrying the pani puri seller in the hopes of having pani puris all day long and having little pani puri babies, don’t worry. I am like you. And I am also trying to lose weight. So here are the little changes I made to eating street food that ensure I can enjoy an occasional treat without ruining my health.

Sev Puri/Bhel/Pani Puri

I’ll admit it, this is the ultimate in street food. Crispy puris topped with potatoes, tomatoes and onions, smothered in tamarind chutney and finished off with crunchy sev. Allow me a minute to wipe my drool. But did you know one dish of a sev puri packs in 350 calories? Yup, that’s a lot.

Make it healthy: You will have to give up on the sev puri or share so you only eat three puris. The other option is to have sukha bhel where there are no potatoes and no sweet chutney so that’s plenty of calories saved. You can also ask the guy to not add sev. Ask him to be generous with the lemon juice and chaat masala.Avoid the pani puri, while the fillings are yum, the puri is deep fried and a bad idea.

Dosa/Idli

There’s always going to be a dosa guy around dishing out some yummy but odd combinations of dosas. If you are at work and are stepping out to grab a bite, you are likely to run into one of these. Now while they may seem harmless, they can be quite filling especially if the guy who makes it goes all out with the filling. Plus, these guys throw whole blocks of butter on the tava, so your health plan may be sinking much quicker.

Make it healthy: Avoid the masala dosa, have a plain or mysore one. You could have idlis but avoid the coconut chutney. Binge on the sambar. (Pooja Makhija’s orders). Also, stand on their head and demand less butter for your dosa.

Sandwich

Sandwiches come in all shapes and sizes, in various stages of being grilled but always topped with too much cheese. And then of course there is the melting square of butter that goes straight to the hips.

Make it healthy: Rujuta Diwekar says if you must snack, order a sandwich – a grilled vegetable sandwich. And ask for it in brown bread. You can have the cheese (don’t you love her? ) but skip the butter. It has layers of veggies so it can be quite filling, so share with a friend or colleague.

Vada Pav

You don’t need me to tell you this but if you must hear it, vada pav is bad for you. It comes with fried potatoes and white bread both of which can throw a spanner in the works. Work breaks often mean you step out of the building and grab what’s closest and cheapest and unfortunately, vada pavs are both.

Make it healthy: I do not have a solution for you. Vada Pavs cannot be made healthy. One vada pav clocks in at more than 300 calories. I suggest going for a frankie where the potato filling is grilled and not fried or a paneer Frankie but you are mostly better off avoiding this altogether.

Biscuits/Sundry snacks

Everyone gets hungry during the day. Most of my colleagues would stuff their drawers with biscuits and chiwdas for when they get hungry. This they would often consume with sugary, sweet tea and then they complained about packing on the pounds.

Make it healthy: If you want something handy to snack on at work, buy packets of peanuts and channa and khakras (wholewheat and preferably home-made). Dump the biscuits, they prove to be calorie bombs.

If you have a guy who sells cut up fruits, definitely opt for those. Munch on corn but ask him to not go overboard with the butter.

4 comments

    1. Hi Gaurav,

      Short of carrying our own bread to these guys, there isn’t much we can do. We could try carrying our own snacks but it’s not easy to walk past these buttery, cheesy goodies and settle for a cucumber sandwich you’ve carried from home. 🙂

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