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Recipes and Basic Tips for Healthy Eating During Diwali

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It is very normal for the average person to put on a few extra kilos during Diwali. All that sugar that we stuff settles nicely in our middles and then we dread the rest of the festival season because suddenly we are just too fat.
Celebrations like Diwali can be a challenging time to stay on track with managing health goals and diet.

Healthy Eating During Diwali

We can celebrate the festival of lights without unwanted weight gain. With a little bit of planning we can ensure healthy eating during Diwali for our families and ourselves. The trick is to stop overeating unhealthy foods, workout a bit, drink sufficient water and switch to low calorie recipes.

Get The Basics In Right Way

For healthy Diwali food recipes it is important to get the right ingredients and stock them at home in time for Diwali. A week before the D-day is the right time to get the basics ready so that you can start preparing for your festival eating in a healthy way.

The below ingredients can be used in a variety of ways to make many healthy recipes for a guilt-free Diwali.

1.Take nuts :-Be generous while shopping for nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Get almonds, raisins, dried apricots, dried figs, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds in good measure. Even not-so-healthy nuts like cashew and pistachio are a good bet to add flavor to your Diwali healthy cooking plan.

2.Spice it up :-Some spices can liven up both savory and sweet foods. Your options are saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns and star anise. Grind into a fine powder some quantities of cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom and store them separately in airtight containers.

3.Sweet supply :-Buy organic jaggery and honey. Agave is another ingredient you can use as a sugar substitute.

4.Fruits :- For your Diwali special recipes buy fruits such as apples, oranges, banana, pears, coconut or any seasonal meaty fruits that you can get.

Some Diwali Recipes:

1.Healthy salads

Salads do not conjure up the image of celebrations. Maybe you would just make a salad as a side dish during Diwali if you are having family or friends over for dinner. But eating salads everyday leading up to Diwali as well as during the celebration days can ensure that your cravings are satiated, your hunger abated and that you are able to avoid fat foods with ease. But because it’s Diwali and its celebration time, ditch the boring salads and add some sparkle to fruits and vegetables.

2. Apple-pomegranate salad

Mix together in a large bowl; cubes of unpeeled apples, peeled orange stems, pomegranate seeds, sesame seeds, 2-3 chopped dried figs and salt. Your salad is ready. The tartness of oranges combined with sweetness of figs makes this salad stand out. The pomegranates and apples offer both sweetness and crunch. You can substitute oranges with grapefruit. This salad is perfect for those mid-day hunger pangs. Eating fiber rich foods like apples will fill you up nicely and reduce your cravings. The nutrient-dense dried fruits are an added bonus too.

3. Fresh-sweet salad

Take cube apples and pears, peel grapefruit stems and scoop out some fresh avocado meat. Finely chop lettuce leaves, grate some fresh coconut and mix them together. Add dried cranberries and salt. You can add sliced coconut and mint leaves too. Substitute cranberries with any dried berry. To increase the sweetness of the salad, add dried apricots or raisins.

4. Fiery-green salad

Thinly slice capsicums (yellow, red and green), chop spinach, peppers, jalapeno, lettuce leaves and mix them with a sweet fruit and one citrus fruit of your choice. Then add either pomegranate seeds or 1-2 dried fruits to balance the heat from the peppers and jalapeno. Add salt, black pepper powder and lemon juice. Eat this if you crave the zing and instantly think of spicy snacks.

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Healthy desserts

Low calorie desserts are possible with some creative tweaks. Here are some ideas to help you get started on low calorie sweets.

1.Coconut-chocolate ladoos

Diwali is not complete without ladoos. But we can definitely do without kilos of sugar and dollops of ghee. This is a Diwali sweet recipe that is bound to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

Use fresh coconut but if that is not possible for you, substitute it with dry coconut powder. Mix this with dark chocolate shavings or add chocolate powder. Heat some ghee and add to the mixture. You can add either sugar or jaggery to sweeten the dish. Sugar in limited quantity is acceptable. Make a sugar/jaggery syrup and add the mixture. Then add chopped almonds and pistachio. Shape them into balls and serve with delight.

Both coconut and dark chocolate are healthier options for desserts. Both are fiber rich foods. Dark chocolate is also packed with antioxidants.

2. Oat-saffron ladoos

Soak some saffron leaves in water for a few hours. Dry roast some oats and set aside. Roast with little ghee either semolina or whole wheat flour till it is brown. Add oats, saffron and some cardamom powder. Use sugar or agave or jaggery. Mix together and make your ladoos. You can also shape them into patties.

3. Dried-fruits ladoos

Finely chop almonds, pistachio, cashew, figs and dates and put them through the blender. Add just a bit of ghee and shape the mixture into small balls. The sweetness and stickiness of figs and dates is enough to bind the mixture. No need for sugar here. You can add dried coconut to taste. But make sure to add fresh rose petals into the mixture before making the ladoos. You can also add a bit of rose water for an extra festive touch.

Here are some tips to assist you in maintaining good  health this Diwali season:

*Do follow your eating routine. Do not skip a meal or a snack before going for a gathering.

* Eating every 3-5 hrs is important to manage diabetes and blood sugar levels.

*Do drink “water” to stay hydrated. Not consuming enough water can lead to dehydration which can lead to higher blood sugar levels and imbalance in other blood values that are important for kidney function.

*Do ask for the menu being served at the gathering. This way allow you to choose your favorite foods and skip the rest.

*Do not hesitate from requesting your host to not force you to consume sugary drinks and fried foods.

*Do pace yourself out. Eat slowly, chewing each bite and putting your spoon down between bites.

*Do hold your drink in your right hand. This will reduce your chances to nibble on finger foods.

*Don’t eat too many salty foods!  This can increase your blood pressure and increase the risk of diabetes complications such as kidney disease and heart disease.

*Do remember to get a good night’s sleep.

Most importantly, do not forget to enjoy the celebration.

Consume small portions of your favorite foods to ensure you enjoy the festival.

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  • neha-suryawanshi
  • Neha Suryawanshi
    Dietitian & Clinical Nutritionist

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