Diwali may be the festival of lights, but it’s a time of year that weighs heavy on our diet. Tempted by delicious looking mithai, crispy namkeens and other calorie-rich foods, we watch as our healthy eating habits fly out the window and the festive kilos pile on.
While we are encouraging you to celebrate a #GuiltFreeDiwali by letting yourself off the hook and giving yourself a break from the strict diet constraints; if you still wish to avoid overindulging, and want to cut down calories, we recommend you try these healthy hacks:
Don’t give in to your sweet tooth
It would be a crime to cut out sweets entirely during the festive season but stick to a single piece or one small bowl a day. If you’re shopping for Indian sweets, choose laddoos, mithais, etc made with sugar substitutes or dates that are available in the market.
Use low-calorie ingredients for homemade sweets
Store-bought mithai tends to be over-sweet, high in fat and blended with artificial flavours, so if possible, eat sweets prepared at home.
To enjoy a #GuiltFreeDiwali, substitute several high-calorie ingredients with healthier ones in your own recipes. For instance, using jaggery (gud) to prepare sweets is healthier than using white sugar. Using natural sugar substitutes available in the market is also an option. Ragi, jowar or bajra are low in calories and healthy and make tasty laddoos. Swap whole milk with low-fat milk; cow’s milk or soya milk are other healthier alternatives, especially the latter which is high protein and fibre and low in calories.
Cut down on chai
An average sized cup of tea with milk and sugar contains 40 calories, so skip your afternoon cuppa or two.
Focus on fibre-rich food
Fibre leaves you feeling full without causing you to gain weight. Eat more vegetables, lentils and whole grains. Also, since you’re likely to be eating fried food items and sweets, cut down on daily carbs like chapatti and rice.
Eat before you head out
This may seem counterintuitive, but it ensures you won’t reach out for every barfi or kabab that comes your way.
The trick is not to turn up starving – choose something healthy and filling, like an oats chila – and you’ll find it easier to exercise self-control.
Think before you drink
Diwali is synonymous with parties. Before you raise your glass, remember alcohol is made by fermenting sugar and starch, so being high on alcohol is equivalent to being high on sugars and calories. Keep in mind a 12-ounce glass of beer has about 150 calories, a 5-ounce glass of red wine has about 125 calories and a 1.5 ounce shot of gin, rum, vodka, whiskey or tequila has about 100 calories and drink accordingly.
Choose your drink wisely – avoid creamy cocktails, and stick to wine spritzers and light beer.
Watch your portion sizes
The sight of a festive feast can challenge even those most dedicated to their diets. If you can’t control what you eat, manage how much you consume. Start by choosing a small plate to serve yourself – studies have shown large plates lead to overeating,
Avoid talking when you eat
While chatting with family and friends, you’re unlikely to notice that you’re eating too much, too quickly. To avoid overindulging if you’re distracted by conversation, chew slowly. Chewing food five to ten times allows the brain more time to recognise when we’ve eaten enough.
Opt for nuts amongst other dry fruits
A platter of festive fare usually contains some mithai, namkeen and dry fruits. So when you’re offered a choice, choose nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
Watching what you eat plays a major role in ensuring you control your calorie intake during the festive season, but burning the calories you consume is equally important. So don’t skip your workout. If you don’t have a fixed routine, take half-an-hour out to walk, jog or cycle every day as cardio is the quickest way to burn calories.
Indulge in your favourite food, but in moderation this festive season! If you need to get rid of excess calories, our experts can help