Healthy alternatives to maida: Besan’s high nutrition value
Bonny Shah

Bonny Shah
30 April 2020

This article is authored by Bonny Shah. Bonny is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator.

Maida or refined flour is made from wheat. But unlike your regular atta, it does not incorporate the wheat germ and wheat bran. When compared to atta, it appears whiter, has a finer texture and is more elastic. Due to these properties, maida is most commonly used in baking, confectionery and in the preparation of savoury snacks like kachori and samosas.

In terms of nutrition however, maida does not fare as well as wheat atta. The additional refining it undergoes significantly depletes the vitamin and fibre content of maida. This is why we tend to feel hungry again a while after eating foods prepared from maida, whereas atta-based foods keep us feeling full for longer. Maida also has a higher glycaemic index than atta, thus, making unsuitable for diabetics.

But don’t worry, minimizing the maida in your diet is easier than it seems. There are a number of alternatives out there waiting for you. And with the right cooking technique, it’s easy to substitute maida for a healthier flour and still indulge in your favourite foods. Try these healthy flour options.

1. Ragi Flour: Healthy BesanRagi is a good source of carbohydrates and helps to keep you feeling satiated for longer. It is rich in calcium, fibre and antioxidants too. Having a low glycaemic index, it is suitable for diabetics. What’s more, it’s gluten-free.

It contains more calcium and potassium than other millet varieties and most other grains and cereals. It is also believed to help in lowering blood lipid levels.

2. Quinoa Flour: Another gluten-free option, this nutrient dense flour is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It also contains antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. Although it can sometimes have a slight bitterness, this can be taken care of by toasting it lightly before use. It is high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.

3. Bajra Flour: This heart-healthy flour is more energy dense than wheat flour and is also gluten free. Bajra flour is known to help regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.

It is rich in vitamins B and A, high in calcium, iron and zinc, and also contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese.

4. Chickpea Flour: The unique profile of nutrition of besan offers all the benefits of these alternate flours and more. It is not only gluten-free and packed with essential nutrients, but it also boasts an excellent protein content, making it that much more wholesome.

Besan Nutrition


Besan or chickpea flour has a protein content of about 20%. It is rich in essential minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium. It is also a good source of vitamins C, E, K and B group vitamins. Besan also contains carotenoids which have antioxidant properties. It has a carbohydrate content of about 60% and a fibre content of about 12%. Further, it has a low glycaemic index, making it a great option for diabetics. Chickpeas also contain bioactive compounds such as lycopene and saponins which have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Tata Sampann Besan is made from the most carefully sourced ingredients. It contains 100% chana dal and is free from adulterants and contaminants. Choose from our normal and fine chickpea flour variants and make the most of the nutrition of besan.

Do you have any tips or tricks for swapping out maida in your favourite recipes? Share them with us in the comment section below.


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