There are many things we look forward to during Diwali – the ritual of decorating the house with beautiful diyas, spending time with your loved ones, the swish of new fabrics, and the traditions we’ve followed since childhood. Whether we choose to spend Diwali with family, or are away from home spending it with friends, there is one thing all of us are excited about this time of the year – the sweets!
With the festive season right around the corner, preparations for the celebration have begun in most households. Spring-cleaning the house, the annual gift shopping, and buying of sweets are now on everyone’s to-do lists. Most of us have already marked those five days as cheat days in our calendar, and while the festival does call for some indulgence, it is essential to take care of our health. Keeping a watch on sugary, fried, and fat-heavy sweets with healthier options can help us cut down on calories while still enjoying a treat. Here are some suggestions for healthy snacking this Diwali:
1. Not Fried, Baked
Fried foods are far from friends for many reasons – deep frying causes the formation of a compound on the surface of foods which is called AGE or Advanced Glycation End product. These eventually trigger the formation of some carcinogens. For weight watchers, frying not only adds extra calories because of the oil used, but can also make you feel heavy and sluggish after consuming them. While most of us try to restrict the amount of fried foods we have through the year, we usually let go during the festive season.
Choosing baked versions of your fried favourites allows you to indulge without guilt and without compromising on the taste. There are baked versions of Gulab Jamun and Jalebis, which can be prepared in the microwave as well. If you are in the mood for trying something new, choose baked custard, or creme caramel for a twist in tradition.
2. Say Hi to New Barfis
Kaju barfi is a fan favourite during the festive season. However, cashews are rich in saturated fats, and eating these nuts in excess can lead to increased cholesterol levels. Opt for healthier sweets like date or anjeer barfis which are as, if not more delicious than your usual run of the mill Kaju barfis! These are also readily available in sweet shops, and are pocket-friendly.
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3. Use Jaggery, not Sugar
Our love of Indian sweets is never-ending, and the supply of these delicious items might seem never-ending in markets during the festive season as well. However, instead of consuming excessive amounts of highly refined sugar, it is a good idea to return to the roots with some humble jaggery. Although not low in calories, jaggery is not processed or refined, and contains vitamins and minerals. Moreover, it is also absorbed slowly by the system, preventing sudden blood sugar spikes which results in weight gain. These properties make jaggery a healthier option as compared to sugar, which provides only energy and has zero nutrient content. Apart from its health benefits, jaggery adds its own distinct molasses flavour to sweets, giving them a deep and rich taste.
4. Introduce Roasted Chikkis and Granola Bars
This festive season is the perfect time to introduce India’s favourite snack – chikki, and granola bars to the menu. The original health bar of the country – chikki, is made of roasted peanuts and jaggery and is excellent for health. There are also many granola bars available today, with chocolate chips, nuts and other grains which are not only a sweet snack but are rich in proteins, good fats, and necessary carbs. These options are not only a healthy answer to your sweet cravings but also give you a boost of energy in the midst of festive hustle-bustle.
5. A Fruit a Day Keeps the Cravings Away
Enjoy the sweets found in nature in their truest form – swap sugar and oil-laden sickly sweet desserts for whole fruits. Fruits are not only naturally sweet but also offer your daily dose of essentials like vitamins, minerals and fibres. Instead of guilty helpings of a decadent dessert, enjoy fruits which will leave you feeling satisfied and light. Enjoy a fruit salad, or whole fruits with cream for a festive spin on the regular apple, banana and orange. Try new, exotic fruits available like berries, avocados and kiwis as well for something different and exciting during Diwali.
To Sum It Up:
In our country, food is an integral part of festivities. Diwali is a time to take a breather and enjoy the celebration and the delicious food that fills the house during the five days. However, it is still vital to take care of one’s health, especially if you are already dealing with pre-existing conditions, or plan to achieve specific health goals. Instead of cutting out sweets completely, switch to healthier options, and enjoy them in control.
DocVita wishes you a safe, prosperous, and healthy festive season! If there’s a health issue bothering you, our doctors are ready to help at DocVita. Stay safe. Visit docvita.com to consult a nearby doctor on a video call. Pay for an online visit, and meet in-person at no extra cost.