As winter sets in, the parties begin. And continue all the way to March. Everyone’s calendar is packed with social occasions – in which all of us tend to binge on food, sweets and alcohol. Needless to say, diets and exercise routines vanish. So if you want to stay fit this season, here’s the definitive guide to staying healthy – even as you have fun.
Have a healthy drink: Drink lots of herbal teas like chamomile, jasmine or herbal infusions made of tulsi, ginger and cinnamon. “Herbal teas help detox the body,” says Brunch columnist Dr Shikha Sharma. “They also help you get rid of that bloated feeling after a heavy meal or an evening of bingeing. Start your day with it and drink it through the day. Also, since you don’t need to add milk or sugar to herbal tea, it is ideal if you’re watching your weight.”
Cleanse your system: The main problem with social events is that almost everything you eat is either fried or high in salt or sugar. It is also a fact that we tend to overeat when we’re around family and friends. Another problem lies in the fact that nobody eats at the proper time. “After late nights, most of us feel sluggish in the morning due to toxins in the body. To take care of this, have one teaspoon of triphala powder with water or milk first thing in the morning. This helps combat problems like constipation or acidity,” suggests naturopath Yathaarth Sehajpal. “If you can manage it, eat one or two fresh amlas in the morning or mix amla with a juice. That will provide essential vitamins, keep your metabolism high and help remove toxins.”
Drink in moderation: By all means enjoy your drink, but exercise some control. “Try and prolong your drink so you don’t drink too much,” suggests Ishi Khosla, clinical nutritionist and director, Whole Foods. “Otherwise, after every drink, have either a glass of water or soda. Water will make you feel full and also take care of dehydration.” Khosla explains that when you feel dehydrated, you tend to eat more. “Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day as this will remove toxins, keep you hydrated and take care of hunger pangs,” she adds.
Smart snacking: Snacking is unavoidable at any social gathering. But snacks are usually deep fried or high in calories. So make smart choices. “If there is a choice between fried food and nuts, pick the nuts,” says Ishi Khosla. “Almonds are the best as they are low in cholesterol and provide you with a feeling of satiety. But you can also choose a handful of cashews, pistachios, walnuts or even peanuts. Also, start your day with a handful of almonds. They will give you all essential vitamins naturally.” If you have eaten too many snacks, avoid dinner or just eat salad or something non-vegetarian without the gravy.
Stock up on antioxidants: The easiest way to do this is to make green tea part of your routine. Start your day with it and drink it as often as you like every day. “Green tea is extremely rich in antioxidants, which not only help get rid of toxins but also boost your metabolism,” explains Niti Desai, consultant nutritionist at Cumballa Hill Hospital. “Green tea is also rich in flavanoids that help cut down cholesterol levels. So after a heavy meal, drink some green tea.”
Stay active: After a late night, it is usually difficult to get to the gym or even go for a walk. But experts say that even upping your activity levels will help you stay on course. “Make sure to walk more, even if it’s in the house or office or while shopping. Don’t just sit around,” suggests Reebok master trainer Nisha Varma. “Any activity is better than doing nothing at all. Enjoy your morning tea or coffee while walking. At a party, include games that require you and other guests to move around. Or just dance to Bollywood hits, which is great exercise and also a lot of fun.” Varma also suggests playing games with your kids. “Try frisbee or volleyball or any other outdoor game. This will help burn as many as 200 calories,” she explains.
Balance your calories: If you are going to a party in the evening, eat light meals during the day. And after you’ve binged at night, balance your calories the next day. “Instead of a regular breakfast, have fruit or a poached egg or yoghurt and fruit. Or just go on a fruit and vegetable juice diet for a day,” suggests Varma.
Adds Shikha Sharma, “Put a tablespoon of wheat bran powder in the atta you use for rotis. This increases fibre in your body, which helps give you a feeling of fullness. Drink aloe vera or lauki juice in the morning to combat acidity and indigestion.” During meals, have lots of soup made fresh with vegetables or wheat substitutes like barley that can be had in the form of chaat or cheela. “Even at a party, have missi roti rather than a naan or paratha,” suggests Shikha Sharma.