This Diwali season, incorporate these healthy eating habits


In India, festival time is when people tend to stray from healthy eating habits and allow themselves to binge-eat, and eat unhealthy food that is typically not a part of their everyday diet. While occasional cheat-meals are okay, one must also learn to consciously stay away from foods that can harm their health and lead to lifelong issues.

As we await Diwali, Minal Shah, senior nutrition therapist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund shares some pointers on how one can enjoy the festival of lights, keep their taste buds happy and also not compromise on health.

Here are a few pointers for enjoying guilt-free desserts:

1. Choose a milk-based dessert like shrikhand, sandesh, mishit doi, kheer, etc. Milk is a good source of first-class protein, and these desserts can easily be made at home with any modifications that we desire.

2. Sugar can be replaced with natural flavoring agents like cinnamon, nutmeg, dry fruits like dates, raisins, and fresh fruits. To an extent, jaggery and honey can also be opted over refined sugar, but with quantity restriction.

3. Make a healthier choice among existing desserts.

– Choose badam katli (omega-3 fatty acids) over kaju katli.
– Choose besan ladoo (protein) or peanut ladoo (MUFA) over rava ladoo, Mysore pak (protein) over coconut ladoo.
– Choose carrot halwa or dudhi halwa (antioxidants/vitamins) or moong dal sheera (protein) over rava sheera.
– Choose payasam over a regular rice kheer.

4. Try something new and unconventional with a functional food added to it. Like dates sesame ladoo, oats dates nut ladoo, walnut ladoo, methi kheer, dudhi kheer, apple sheera, fruit kheer, papaya halwa, beetroot halwa, carrot kalakand, oats pancakes with cranberry syrup or blueberry syrup or chocolate syrup, homemade protein bars, apple pie, pumpkin pie, fruit yogurt, seeds chikki (pumpkin/sunflower/flaxseed).

5. Consider the portion size. There may be desserts which are high in fats like jalebi, malpua, gulab jamun, gulpapdi, sheera etc. If it’s your favourite, reduce the portion size. Cut smaller pieces to reduce the calorie intake.

6. Also, remember the basics — add a good bowl of salad with different coloured vegetables and fruits to ensure healthy fibre in every meal.

7. Add fillers for yourself and your guests, which are low in calories and tasty as well like ginger lemonade, virgin pina colada, kiwi margarita, masala milk, thandai, milkshake with fennel seeds, falooda, cucumber mint cooler, tomato mocktail, etc.

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