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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Jul 2014

Take a sweeter route to health this Diwali

Petrina D’Souza, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 06, 2012
First Published: 14:08 IST(6/11/2012) | Last Updated: 17:18 IST(8/11/2012)

Diwali is a time for celebration, and Indian celebrations are incomplete without sweets. Yet, for the weight-conscious, indulging in the tons of fat-loaded mithai can be too much to digest. Not anymore, as we speak to chefs and nutritionists on different ways to make healthy sweets, just to make your festive season a whole lot sweeter.

The healthy oil
The amount and type of oil you use determines how healthy your sweets are. “Prepare sweets using olive oil or coconut oil, as saturated fats in cooking oil clogs your veins and eventually causes harm,” says Isahaque Mondal, sous chef at Ibis Hotel. “Even pure ghee can be used as it does not turn into fat once consumed,” says Amit Chakraborti, executive chef, Tunga Regenza.

The right kind of milk
Experts suggest using milk made from almonds, rice or oats, or skimmed milk instead of the regular kind for making sweets. “The better alternative is raw yoghurt, as it has acidophilus bacteria which help in digestion,” says Mondal. “Use skimmed milk powder to prepare rice puddings, kheer (sweet porridge) or fruit custards,” says nutritionist Nupur Krishnan. In addition to these, the use of cow’s milk or soya milk helps in lessening calories. “You can also use cow’s milk to cut down on the fat content and calories. Soya milk, which is rich in proteins, high in fibre and low in calories, is a better option compared to cow’s milk,” explains Mondal.

Healthy variety of sweets
Including dry fruits in sweets is another healthy option. “Make sweets out of dry fruits and nuts like almonds, dates, walnuts or figs, as they are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. Avoid or use fewer cashews, peanuts and pistachios as they are high in calories and fat content,” says Kawad. “Try to consume dry fruit barfis, like anjeer (fig) barfi, as it is a good source of calcium and fibre,” adds Krishnan.

Try this healthy sweet recipe this festive season

LASOONI KHEER
Ingrediants:
1/2 cup lasoon (garlic) n 2 cups milk
3 tbsp honey n 2 tbsp mawa n 5 pods crushed cardamom n a pinch of saffron (kesar)
 
Directions:
Cut garlic in fine slices. Boil half a litre of water in a saucepan. Add garlic flakes when the water is boiling and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from flame and drain. Boil milk in a thick-bottomed pan. When milk begins to boil, add honey and cook for 5 minutes over a low flame, stirring continuously. Add mawa to thicken milk and then add garlic flakes. Remove from flame. Add dissolved saffron and crushed cardamom. Serve hot.

Benefits:
Garlic contains compounds like allicin, which is supposed to suppress the appetite and help in weight loss. And since the recipe also contains honey, it is healthier.

- Amit Chakraborti, executive chef, Tunga Regenza, Navi Mumbai

A substitute for sugar
Instead of using refined sugar, natural sweeteners are safer and healthier as they contain sucrose. “Make your mithai by adding natural sweeteners like honey or jaggery,” says Munira Jawadwala Kawad, nutrition expert at Gold’s Gym. “You can also substitute sugar with rose petals, which are not only more appealing as compared to refined sugar, but also contain fibre,” says Krishnan.

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