Healthy alternatives for a sweet Diwali
A handy guide to the best sweet substitutes, and what to do with leftover mithai.Updated: Oct 26, 2019, 19:34 IST
Whether you’re gifting, receiving or nibbling when no one’s looking, the Diwali mithai box can be a health minefield. When in doubt, pick dry-fruits and nuts over mithai and chocolate. And don’t overeat – leftovers make cool treats too
To control blood sugar: Eat pistachios
The pistachios’ low glycemic index means they have minimal effects on blood sugar. They also have protein, healthy fats, and fibre, which support healthy blood glucose in the body. They’re loaded in magnesium, another tool in blood-sugar management. How sweet is that?
If you’re tired and low: Eat walnuts
It packs the most antioxidants (vitamin E, ellagic acid, melatonin, carot-enoids) of all the nuts in your shiny tray. Plus it’s a rare vegetarian source of omega-3s, which help the brain function properly and help beat depression, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you look at screens all day: Eat apricots
They’re loaded with vitamin A, carotenoids and xanthophylls, which protect the retina, and by extension, your vision. They also deliver immune boosting vitamin C and a number of potent antioxidants like quercetin, and catechin, which help keep inflammation away.
If your heart’s in trouble: Eat almonds
Their high levels of vitamin E and magnesium are very heart friendly. Plus they contain tryptophan, which cuts stress, acts as a nerve relax-ant and helps you sleep better.
If your blood pressure needs toning down: Eat figs
Dried figs are rich in potassium, which balances out the sodium from all the salty foods you might be eating. A little extra potassium will go a long way to help balance the electrolytes in the body and tone down blood pressure.
If you’re prone to fractures: Eat cashews
All those trace minerals like copper, manganese, magnesium and phos-phorus, so hard to find in foods, are easily delivered through the humble kaju. Copper helps maintain flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints; magnesium boosts bone health; phosphorous keeps bones and teeth strong.
If your wrinkles are starting to show: Eat peanuts
It is loaded with folate, a mineral that protects against cognitive decline. Also delivers the potent anti-aging molecule resveratrol (also found in red wine and grapes).
If you need an energy boost: Eat raisins
Festivities can be exhausting. A small handful of raisins act as a con-centrated source of energy, vitamins, electrolytes and minerals. They’ll keep you going until the next meal and they’re high in fibre content, so your sugar levels won’t spike quickly.
If you’ve been drinking: Eat dates
- Walnut smoothieCombine 250 ml milk, 1 cup yoghurt, 25 gm walnuts, 1 tsp vanilla ex-tract, 25 gm dates (pitted) and a pinch of cinnamon and whirl in a mixie until the dates are crushed and the mixture is smooth. Add ice and blend briefly.
- Walnut snackMix 8 halves of crushed walnuts and 4 deseeded, chopped dates into 1 cup beaten yogurt and top with 1 tbsp honey. Chill and have.
- Sandwich fillings/toppingsCrushed raisins and nuts (any) soaked in orange juiceCottage cheese, cucumber, tomato and datesCrushed, peeled peanuts and grated carrotsCream and chopped nuts and raisins (any)
Dates contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which help to remove free radical toxins from the body naturally. Eating dates soaked over-night is a common remedy for hangovers too.
If you’re putting on the kilos: Eat pine nuts
They contain pinolenic acid, which triggers the release of an appetite-suppressing hormone, making them a good weight-loss aid.
If your thyroid needs help: Eat Brazil nuts
They’re packed with selenium which can help improve thyroid function.
If you’re prone to illness: Eat pecans
Pecans are one of the best known dietary sources of vitamin E, which keeps the immunity is good shape, apart from helping skin stay supple.