Diwali, the festival of lights, is just a few days away. Perhaps, one of the best memories about festivals like Diwali is treating your taste buds with delectable dishes. But indulging yourself in high-calorie foods in excess can lead to an array of health problems such as unwanted weight gain, high cholesterol, diabetes, and to a certain extent, cavities and other dental problems as well. It is important to understand that keeping away from these extra calories and developing the habit of eating healthy is one of the crucial aspects of a healthy body and mind. Perhaps, preparing the traditional dishes and sweets at home is much better than buying from outside - whether you’re trying to shrink your tummy, stick to your weight loss plan, or simply wish to improve health.
With food being the real star of festivals, eating healthy or sticking to a diet seems impossible for a lot of people. But with a few tricks, you can enjoy your favourite sweets, savoury and other festival delicacies without pilling on the pounds. So, you don’t need to deprive yourself of festive foods you love to prevent fat accumulation, especially around the belly fat.
Tips and tricks to eat healthy during festivals
Here are a few tips suggested by Pavithra N Raj, chief dietician, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital - Yeshwanthpur, Bangalore, to help you make healthier food choices and avoid gaining belly fat this Diwali:
- In most of our Indian sweet delicacies, sugar is an integral ingredient and most of us love to gorge on sweets. It is better to choose an alternative like jaggery over sugar while preparing sweets. Jaggery can be preferred to sugar while preparing kheer or payasam. You could explore healthier options like roasted chikki, a traditional Indian sweet made of sesame/peanuts. Sugar-free is another option that you can opt for. It is better to say no to those extra sweets always. Practice portion control while consuming sweets.
- You can even have dry fruits. Dry fruit laddoos are healthy, delicious and a guilt-free snack. They are good for kids and adults too. One can make this healthy power-packed snack without adding any unhealthy ingredients like sugar or preservatives or artificial food colours. Stock healthy snacks at home instead of potato chips or cookies and keep them easily accessible to kids. Always keep the calorie intake minimal.
- To maintain a good balance of total calorie intake, one could cut down on other carbs during the festive season. Small portions of fresh fruits or nuts, seeds and dry fruits are always the healthier option.
- Have a generous amount of salads and fruits. Also include soups, milkshakes and fresh fruit juice.
- Replace chocolate, cream toppings with fruit topping, avoid fried food as much as possible, instead, choose baked food.
- Hydration is very important - drinking buttermilk, lime water, tender coconut water along with plain water will help in maintaining good health.
Additionally, a regular workout is most important to maintain a healthy metabolism - something as simple as a daily brisk walk of a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes along with a healthy diet can help you burn excess fat and avoid unhealthy weight gain.