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8 Healthy Dishes to Order at Indian Restaurants, According to an RD

Fall is the season of Diwali, one of the biggest holidays for practitioners of Hinduism. The five-day celebration, also known as the Festival of Lights, symbolizes the victory of good over evil, according to Share America, a website run by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Global Public Affairs. Food plays an integral part in any celebration, and Diwali is no exception.

The holiday is typically celebrated with a variety of traditional Indian dishes. If you are not of Indian heritage, you may prefer to experience the food by dining out. Like any other cuisine, Indian food that’s prepared in a restaurant differs from dishes that have been prepared at home — often because added fat, salt, and sugar make them significantly less healthy.

But Indian food naturally has a few things going for it that can make it a great option when dining out. It offers an abundance of flavors and pairs them in unique ways. In fact, after analyzing more than 2,500 recipes from an online database, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur found that the key to what makes Indian food so appetizing is the unique flavor combinations. Many of the spices common to Indian dishes, such as turmeric, have beneficial health properties as well.

Indian food also has plenty of vegetarian options, which tend to be lower in saturated fat than those with meat. Of course, there are still plenty of dishes that are fried or served with creamy sauces, so it helps to know how to navigate the menu when you’re looking for health-conscious choices.