The best breakfasts from the south to lose weight

Breakfast is one meal you can be sure that your dietician will not ask you to eat less. In fact eating a good breakfast is the usual norm in any diet plan. It is the meal where even fat is guaranteed a respectable place because at this time of the day it consents to get well metabolized.

The quote by Adelle Davis, a nutritionist who lived half a century ago still holds strong in weight management. She said, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”

Several studies have shown that eating a good breakfast helps one to eat lesser throughout the remainder of the day, thus helping weight reduction. So today we feature the right combo of grains, fats and legumes in our breakfast menu that make them some of the best breakfasts from down South that will nourish you, fill you up and shape you!

Puttu and kadala

I am particularly biased towards this being a Keralite myself. The goodness of this meal lies in its high fibre red rice and the fact that puttu is steamed and eaten with a legume. Bengal gram is one of the foods having the lowest glycemic index which means the sugar in it is released slowly and steadily keeping your hunger at bay. Make the kadala curry with healthy oil. Plantain is more fibrous than regular banana and adds to the wholesomeness of the meal. The grated coconut adds fibre and fat.

The nutritious way to eat puttu is with kadala (Bengal gram curry) and a piece of steamed ripe plantain. A 4” tube of puttu, one teacup of kadala curry and ½ of a steamed plantain is sufficient breakfast for those on 1500 kcal diet.

Though, in Kerala puttu is popularly made of red rice powder, you can make it with ragi, corn meal or wheat flour.


A personal favourite of mine – pesarattu, an Andhra creation is a wonderfully nutritious easy –to-make dish made of whole green gram giving you carbs, protein and fibre all in one go. Go light on the oil used to prepare it.

Spread two medium sized pesarattus with a chutney made of green mango, green chillis, coconut and curry leaves. Now eat them with a low fat yoghurt dip to enhance the protein and vitamin content and provide sufficient calories for breakfast time.

Adai dosa

Popularly made in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra, this is again another quickly prepared tasty dosa made of rice and different dals, spices, etc. You can make it with any choice of dals to your liking.

Use proportionately more of the dals and lesser rice and it becomes a fibre and protein rich meal.

Two adai dosas (60gm) medium sized and thinly made can be safely put on your breakfast menu.

Use less oil to made the dosas and eat it with onion and red chilli paste or tomato chutney. Drown it with ginger tea to add an extra punch to the whole eating experience.

Veg Uthappam

Although made with the same batter, uthappams have an advantage over regular dosas. They can be prepared without oil and still taste really good. Since it is thickly spread on the tawa, it is not expected to turn out oily crispy too.

Add whatever vegetables you like into the batter like onions, tomatoes, cauliflower, coriander leaves, capsicum, etc. Spread the batter thickly and cover with a lid allowing it to cook in the steam.

Two uthappams can find place on your breakfast menu without guilt. Uthappams are lesser in protein content as compared to adai or pesarattu so it is best eaten with sambar.

Idli sambar

No South Indian breakfast list is complete without mention of the global favourite idlis and sambar. The Tamil Brahmins eat these steamed rice cakes with a teaspoon of ghee poured over it accompanied by sambar. Use a proportion of 1:2 for urad dal and rice to make the idli batter and get more protein.

Two big idlis with a sambar made of lots of vegetables is needed to make this a filling breakfast. If you are on a diet not less than 1500 kcal and a total vegetarian, then indulge the teaspoon of ghee.

If not skip it. And please eat up your veggies from the sambar. Nothing like freshly ground coffee to finish the meal!

Ragi mudde

Karnataka’s very own ragi mudde and the pride of millets! Nutritionally resembles wheat in protein content but far superior due to its high iron and calcium content. Just 2 tablespoons full of ragi contain 12% of the daily fibre requirement. No wonder it is chosen here as one of the best breakfast items from Southern India.

Ragi mudde is basically dumplings made out of ragi, and eaten with a little ghee and sambar. When the already nutritious ragi is partnered with sambar, it becomes a superlative meal. Dumplings made from 60 gms of ragi and enough sambar to soak it, is just right to fill you till the next meal is served.

The nutritive components in these breakfasts complement each other to give a wholesome meal that essentially give the right calories and include enough protein and fats to steadily sustain blood glucose throughout the day.

Your body will not crave for sweets later in the day and a cap is put on the urge to snack towards evening. If both of these are accomplished, then you have won a major part of the battle with hunger.

Parvathy R Krishnan
The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at

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