Healthy Fast Food India: Most Popular 10 Items

Healthy fast food India has been a growing industry since the early 2000s when international fast food chains such as KFC and McDonald’s first started to establish themselves in the country.

However, the Indian market is still dominated by much healthier options, which have grown considerably in both number and popularity over time. This report is an initial attempt to identify what are the most popular fast foods in India and the various serving sizes.

It comes as a follow-up to the article ‘Healthy Fast Food India: Popular 10 Items’, which seeks to identify the most healthy items in the industry but does not consider brand popularity.

Healthy Fast Food India
Healthy Fast Food India

Healthy Fast Food India: Top 10 Healthiest Items

The ten most popular healthy fast food items in India are:

1. Paneer Tikka Roll

Paneer Tikka Roll is a unique dish with Indian origins.  It is served with a variety of sauces and vegetables, often covered with bread.

It is considered one of the healthiest options in India because it only contains 160 calories per roll.

2. Sheekh Kabab (Skewers)

Sheekh Kabab is a popular appetizer in India’s healthiest fast food market.  In order to make this dish healthier, Sheekh Kabab no longer includes butter or mayonnaise, which are the main causes of fat content found in skewered dishes popular throughout the world. Instead, it is served with tomato ketchup, which has a less harmful fat content.

3. Veg Biryani

It is clear from the name of this dish that it refers to vegetarian food.  However, this particular type of biryani contains only 52% vegetables and 48% rice.

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Therefore, it is not known as one of India’s healthiest fast foods because it lacks dietary fiber and other important nutrients.

4. Veg Appam

Veg Appam is one type of dish cooked in India that does not contain eggs or dairy products – making it one of the country’s healthier fast food options.

It is also served with a variety of vegetables, which only makes it healthier.

5. Vada Pav

Vada Pav is a type of savory dish that originated in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. It is mostly made of either batata or potato bound together by gram flour, which results in a delicious taste.

It has been considered India’s healthiest fast food since it contains less than 50 calories per serving.

6. Vegetable Spring Roll

This dish originated from China and consists mainly of vegetables and some grains wrapped in rice paper.

Despite this, it has a high-fat content as well as excess salt consumption that makes it unsuitable for consumption every day.

7. Kachori

Kachoris are one of the most popular snacks in India. They are made with various spices and are fried in vegetable oil.  They have been considered unhealthy since they contain a large amount of saturated fat and salt.

8. Paneer Parantha

Paneer Parantha is a type of Indian flatbread that contains paneer (cheese). Since it is high in carbohydrates and contains vegetable oil, it has been considered one of India’s least healthy fast food options.

9. Veg Rasam

It is not an innocuous dish by any means.  Veg Rasam is a type of soup made with a variety of vegetables and tempering (a little mustard oil).

This dish contributes to a large amount of sodium consumption in the country, which has been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure.

10. Poha

Poha is a popular dish that contains flattened rice and is often served with a variety of vegetables.  Nevertheless, it has a relatively large amount of carbohydrates and fat, which makes it unhealthy.

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Healthy Fast Food Chains in India

In addition to the ten mentioned items above, India contains a number of other popular fast food chains with both international as well as local origins.

1. KFC

KFC originated in the United States and is currently one of the world’s largest fast food chains.  This company has established itself in India since 1998 and has spread its wings to over 70 locations since then.

While it is currently trying to promote healthier menu items in order to make up for its fat-laden reputation, it has been linked to an increase in obesity cases around the country.

It is expected that this trend will continue if KFC remains popular among Indian consumers.

2. Subway

Subway is a global fast food chain that was established in the United States in 1965.  This brand has spread its wings to 14,000 locations worldwide and has only recently expanded into India’s healthiest fast food market.

It is expected that Subway will continue to grow in popularity among Indian consumers if it continues to be innovative towards healthier foods.

3. McDonald’s

McDonald’s is one of the largest fast-food chains globally and originated from this country in 1939.  This company also originates from India and has spread its wings throughout the country, with over 22,000 locations as of 2016.

Although it originated in India, it has spread its wings throughout the world due to America’s increasing popularity and an estimated value of $103 billion.

McDonald’s has also been criticized for lack of healthy options – especially due to their use of antibiotics in their beef and chicken.

4. Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut originated from this country in 1958, so it is clear that pizza is very popular in India as well. Nevertheless, Pizza Hut has only recently opened up locations in India with mixed results.

Their popularity may depend on the decreasing trend of unhealthy fast food options throughout the country.  If this trend continues, then pizza may become one of India’s healthiest fast food options.

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How Healthy Is Healthy Fast Food?

Healthy fast food in India can vary dramatically in terms of its nutritional value, depending on which franchise it is from. Generally speaking, the healthier the choice, the higher the price.

Healthy fast food should ideally consist of low-calorie, low-fat, high-fiber, and high-protein meat and vegetables.

Healthy options may include tortilla wraps filled with grilled chicken or vegetables; salad rolls made from lettuce leaves; vegetable samosas served with mint chutney instead of cream, and baked pizza bases topped with green peppers and chicken chunks rather than cheese and a thick tomato sauce.

Nutritious Options

Amazingly, a study conducted in 2012 by the Centre For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that half the calories from the top 100 most popular items in India (chicken and pizza) come from refined carbohydrates.

Refined carbohydrates are unhealthy because they act as a sponge for blood glucose, allowing blood sugar to linger in the body for longer periods.

Higher blood sugar levels increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.  This is certainly not desirable for Indian consumers, who don’t have enough energy to deal with diabetes-related health issues.

The study report mentioned that it is essential that Indian fast food companies focus on decreasing their products’ overall fat and calorie content.

The Bottom Line

With the growing popularity of fast food restaurants in India, health-conscious consumers gradually become aware of the potentially harmful effects fast food can have on their bodies.

The presence of multiple healthy fast food options in India shows that there is strong demand for healthier fast food.

In order to satisfy this demand, localized franchises and companies must ensure that their products are low in fat and cholesterol, full of vegetables and nutrient-rich, and free of unhealthy additives.  This will help them stay healthy in a country that places great significance on the body’s condition.

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