Dr Archana Batra has easy substitutions you can use to make sure you have a healthy festive season
Diwali is quickly approaching, and, in India, it is all about food and fun. It’s that time of year when we get together with family and friends to enjoy a variety of festive sweets and snacks. During the festival, the mouth-watering sweets and dishes leave us wanting more. However, oily, sweet foods can cause health problems such as bloating and constipation, and, in the end, most of us gain a few extra pounds.
Here are some food swaps to help us stay fit through the festive season…
Make Your Sweets At Home
Instead of purchasing store-bought treats, consider making your own with healthier ingredients. Alternatives include coconut barfi or ladoos sweetened with dates or stevia instead of conventional sugar; choco-chia coconut pudding; date balls with dried fruits; and gluten-free carrot cake.
Make chikkis or almond cranberry granola bars as treats. Nuts are high in carbohydrates, protein, fibre and healthy fats, and provide immediate satiation.
Try Baking Instead Of Frying
During the festival, it is natural to want to indulge in your favourite delicacy. Deep frying produces an AGE compound on the surface of foods. This eventually leads to the formation of some carcinogens. If you want to lose weight, consider avoiding fried foods. The extra calories from the oil can make you feel heavy and sluggish. Try, instead, to make your favourite namkeens and gujiyas in an air fryer. Or, instead of frying the snack, bake it. Baking helps to reduce the calories associated with frying.
Choose ‘Smarter’ Foods
Instead of salty crackers, chips and fattening dips with mayonnaise , try vegetable sticks with a healthy dip such as hummus. Carrots, cucumber and celery are all good options. Vegetables have a high water content, making them a low-calorie snack. These veggie sticks will also keep you hydrated throughout the day.
Snack on healthier foods such as makhana, popcorn and nuts. Eating healthy snacks in between meals keeps you active, suppresses cravings, and keeps you full. However, snacks that are served during gatherings, or at the time of card games, can increase the total number of calories.
Replace unhealthy snacks high in fat, sugar and salt with healthier alternatives. Chips and butter popcorn, for example, are extremely tasty, but they are high in saturated fats and calories. Instead of missing out, try roasted nuts and pressure-cooked popcorn – still delicious and more nutritious. Reduce your salt intake by replacing salted nuts with raw nuts, which are high in protein, fibre and heart-healthy fats.
Binge On Fresh Fruits
Fruit is naturally very sweet, making it one of the best healthy alternatives when you’re craving sugar. It can be consumed frozen in a smoothie or in bite-sized pieces. Try dipping your fruit in dark chocolate or making a mixed fruit bowl to make it feel more like a treat. Purchase unusual fruits such as kiwi, plums, peaches, cherries, dragon fruit, blueberries, and so on, all of which taste great and will make your festival feel extra special.
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