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Here's how to cut the festive calories

health-and-fitness Updated: Nov 13, 2012 01:12 IST
Petrina D’Souza
Petrina D’Souza
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Festivities, family and good food go hand-in-hand — meeting relatives and friends goes with dinner parties, get-togethers and exchanging boxes of mithai. Now, how can one say no to that extra laddoo someone lovingly offers, or when the host insists on a second helping? For those looking to stay healthy and keep your weight in check through all of this, here are a few tips:

Drink plenty of water and avoid aerated drinks
Drink plenty of water before snacking, so that your stomach is partially full and you eat less. “Drinking plenty of lukewarm water/green tea (without sugar) will help perk up your body metabolism and ease digestion of high-calorie snacks. It also helps alleviate false hunger,” says dietician Mitalee Doshi. Also, avoid aerated drinks. “Carbonated drinks only add calories. Instead, fresh juices, fruit shakes or buttermilk and lassi are a healthy option,” advises nutritionist Nupur Krishnan.

Baked, grilled, steamed or roasted
Have grilled, steamed, baked or roasted dishes instead of fried ones. “Avoid fried food. Also, stick to white meats like chicken, or fish. Pick out and eat only the meat or vegetables from the gravy, as they provide proteins. Avoid consuming the oil or cream used to prepare the gravies,” says Munira Jawadwala Kawad, nutrition expert at Gold’s Gym. “If you indulge in fried food items or sweets, compensate for it by cutting down on carbohydrates in the form of chapatti and rice and add more salads,” adds Doshi.

Eat small portions
Moderation is the mantra of enjoying festive food. Eat fatty food, sweets and other fried snacks in small amounts. “Instead of loading your plate to the brim, just take one or two items and eat them slowly,” says Doshi. “Eat slowly and savour each mouthful so that you avoid second helpings,” says Krishnan.

Separate meals from sweets
We tend to eat sweets or dessert after a heavy meal. Instead, treat the main course and the dessert as two different meals. “Always eat sweets or fatty foods as individual items and not along with meals, so the calories are well distributed throughout the day,” explains Doshi. Krishnan also advises, “Postpone a desired snack for about 10 minutes after eating a heavy meal.”

Distribute sweets to others
If you have received boxes of chocolates or sweets, give them to the young ones in the family or the neighbourhood so that you aren’t tempted to indulge in them. “Avoid accumulating boxes of sweets and chocolates at home, get rid of them by distributing it to others,” says Kawad.

Smile wide
Don’t forget to take care of your teeth while indulging in festive food
Drink water when eating something sweet. Drinking water can be as effective as flossing. The water helps to get in between the teeth, which stops sugar from doing as much damage as it can.
Mouthwashes have great anti-bacterial properties and help in limiting the colonisation of bacteria in the mouth.
An apple helps to clean teeth between brushings, makes for a good snack, and fresh fruit helps to fight tooth decay. So munch an apple during any time of the day.
Rinse your mouth out with salt water once a day or a few times a week. It helps to disinfect your mouth and keeps your gums healthy.

- Karishma Jaradi, aesthetic dentist, Dentzz Dental Care Centre