Eating Habits in the Indian Culture

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The eating habits in the Indian culture are largely based on religion and tradition. A high-vegetable diet with no beef and generally no pork comes from the Hindu religion.

Habits of how and when food is consumed are also based on social traditions, and most families form their particular habits around a combination of cultural and family traditions.


Eating habits of the Indian culture are based on culinary traditions. Most dishes feature meat or vegetables mixed with sauce and rice. Many Indians are vegetarian, so eating habits are often based on a diet that excludes all meat. When meat is incorporated in dishes, it is most commonly in the form of chicken, beef or lamb, and sometimes seafood, such as prawns. The majority of the Indian population is Hindu, so beef and pork are often excluded from Indian dishes due to religious requirements.


There are three main meals in the Indian culture, so the meal timing is similar to western cultures. In India, most people eat a morning meal, a midday meal and an evening meal. The evening meal is generally the biggest meal of the day, followed by the midday meal. Any time curries and rice are not being eaten, breads, fruits and vegetables are consumed.


Meals are most often eaten with family members. Indian families create their eating habits around the schedules and preferences of everyone in the family. Women traditionally do most of the food preparation for the household.


Cutlery is not traditionally used to eat food in the Indian culture. Food is meant to be a whole sensory experience, so an eating habit in the traditional Indian culture is to consume Indian foods such as curry, rice and nan bread by picking it up using the hands. Bread is often used to scoop up the curry sauce and rice, and it is dipped into traditional soups such as daal, a lentil-based soup. Indian people are supposed to eat with their right hands, because eating with the left hand is sometimes considered to be unclean.