Diwali is almost here and that means mithai, special snacks and lots of rich food. No matter how hard you try to stay away, it’s difficult to not indulge in a laddoo or four, while celebrating the five-day festival. So do your best to avoid bingeing on all the good food, but even if you do indulge, don’t worry, we have experts to help you counter the calories.
A good trick to avoid feasting on fatty, sugary foods is to have a small meal before you head to a Diwali party. Snack on fibrous fruits, nuts, cereals and soups, which are low-glycemic index foods, and keep you full for longer. “Eat seven-eight small servings of fruits throughout the day. This will keep your sugar cravings satiated and fill your tummy,” says nutritionist Rakhee Todankar. However, don’t go cold turkey off all Diwali treats.
“Treat yourself to one sweet serving a day — after all, it’s Diwali and you should be able to enjoy it. Psychologically, too, you feel better and satiated when you do this,” she says. Todankar suggests opting for baked snacks and khakras over fried ones like aloo bhujia and chaklis.
Your friends or relatives might get upset if you take a small helping of the yummy stuff they offer. “The best solution is to eat at home and then venture out. This way, you won’t be tempted by all the delicacies. Drinking water will fill you up as well,” says Todankar.
“Be on the move constantly. Make sure you take short walks, or climb flights of stairs — do not let go of your exercise routine just because it’s festival time. This is when you need it the most,” she says.
You tried your best to say no to all the rich food but couldn’t refuse that persistent aunt who was hell-bent on stuffing you with mithai? Or did you just eat your way out of depression after losing big bucks on a card game? “Don’t beat yourself up over it,” says city-based nutritionist, Saniya Pilgaonkar. “Go on a detoxifying diet for the next day. Consume lots of fruits, soup and other liquids to wash away the toxins from your body.”
Pilgaonkar also suggests that you don’t skip on exercise only because you feel too stuffed. “If you can hit the gym, there’s nothing like it. However, try and do some basic yoga like surya namaskars, or go for a quick jog or brisk walk,” she says. She also advices that you drink enough water and supplement it with lemon water and green tea. “Make smaller chaklis and karanjis so that your portions are controlled and you don’t feel bad about missing out on Diwali goodies,” says Pilgaonkar.
Skip readymade Diwali food and make these easy, yet healthy, versions at home
Ingredients: n 1 kg black dates (deseeded) n 2 tbsp honey n 2 tbsp skimmed milk n Coarsely ground dry fruits of your choice (almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashew nuts, raisins, dried figs and walnuts are some options)
Method: Soak the dates in a bowlful of warm water for 5-6 hours to soften them. Blitz in a blender with the milk or mash with milk to make a thick paste. Add the nuts and knead into a dough-like consistency. Roll out into a long cylinder and cut into discs.
Ingredients: 3 cups hing yoghurt n 3 tbsp honey n 1 tsp cardamom powder
Method: Whisk together all the ingredients until a thick consistency is reached. Chill for 3-4 hours. Serve with fresh fruit.
Ingredients: n 1 cup gram flour n 1 cup rice flour n 1 cup ragi flour n 1 pinch asafoetida n 1 tsp baking powder n 2 tsp chilli powder n 1 tsp cumin seeds n 1 tbsp ghee for kneading n salt to taste
Method: Sift the flours with the baking powder for a couple of times through a fine sieve until thoroughly mixed. Make a smooth dough by adding water at intervals, while kneading continuously. Make sure there are no lumps. Add the chili powder, cumin powder, salt and ghee. You can get creative at this stage and add your choice of condiments. Make a pie using a thick rolling pin and cut into strips. Alternately you could use a sev-making press. Spread out on a greased baking dish and cook in a pre-heated oven (200 degree C) for 15 minutes. Serve with chutney or dip.
— Recipes by Manasi Karmarkar