• Ms. Shilpa Mundada

A TWIST TO FESTIVE FOOD FOR BETTER HEALTH

Updated: Jan 7




India is known as a diverse country for its religion and culture, as different regions have different cultural festivals. Festivals come together for the sole purpose of celebrations and happiness, they occur at regular intervals and hence give everyone the chance to celebrate the little and big things in life.

We celebrate nearly every festival of the year. Recently we celebrated Navratri, Durga pooja, and now sooner we are heading to India’s most popular festival- Diwali. Diwali is one of the important festivals celebrated globally with lots of fervor and enthusiasm.

Hence, festivities are a call for celebrations, which require a massive amount of energy. Here, I am talking about energy which is related to food that connects your heart, and that connects to everyone closer to you to create a beautiful memory as we all love to talk about food especially festive or any celebration food. Also, food elements generate curiosity that takes the Centre stage as a social status rather like nothing else.

Maybe many of us are busy preparing Diwali delicious sweets and savories and or are planning for scrumptious food during this period, as some special snacks are only prepared during this festival, and it may be difficult for most of us to resist preparing and eating like sweets- Laddoos, Barfi, Kajukatli, Gujiya, and or savory snack as Chakli, chiwda, bhakarwadi, shev or gathiya along with roasted nuts. These foods were prepared initially at the festive time but due to globalization, we can find it easily throughout the year around the corner as a display of affluence. However, these competitions only profit to the food industry and not to your health, as they are rich in sugar, salt, saturated fat.

As we celebrate it for 5 days starting with Dhanteras and ending with Tulsi vivah. Certainly, the celebration goes on till the late night considering late party for dinner with lots of festive eating. Along with this, maybe many of us go on binge eating. It may create an imbalance in overall health, maybe due to disturbed sleep, festive stress, lots of sweets, and fried savory snacks. Hence, there are overall chances of disturbing the whole rhythm of the body and hence, may have its impact on health like acidity, indigestion, may have digestive issues like bloating, flatulence, or constipation along with this lethargy, heaviness or gaining weight, whereas some are may be prone to or already suffering from diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and so on.

During the pandemic, we all realized the importance of health. How if we can look at this Diwali differently- by preplanning and giving a healthy twist to our “Gut” and our loved ones and maybe enjoy guilt-free treats.

As we believe moderation is the key. Anything in the moderation can’t harm. So, let’s enjoy the feast with some healthy tips, twists, and hacks.

1) Say no to too many sweets and pick up the sweets wisely like your favorite sweets in limited portions.

2) Swap to healthy options- Focus on fresh homemade food rather than exotic or packaged food. cooking at home or under observation will make you aware of calorie-rich ingredients like fat, salt, or sugar and you can switch to healthy options like instead of butter or ghee can go for healthier oil, or make use of minimum quantity compared to outsourcing. Instead of sugar can opt for natural sweeteners in desserts like dates, jaggery sweet dry fruits like figs, apricots. Instead of full-fat milk can go for fat-free milk/yogurt.

3) Cook healthy like instead of refined, processed food go for wholesome products like whole wheat or any millets, instead of frying can go for baked or grilled.

4) Eat small portions- instead of depriving and binging you can indulge in small quantities, as this will make you feel lighter and healthier.

5) Keep hydrated-proper hydration will make your body feel energetic and lively by preventing you from overeating.

6) Snack before you go out before leaving for a party if you have a small snack rich in fiber, or wholesome food will ensure you don’t rich hungry at a party and will stop from binge eating.

7) Think before you drink- before you raise your glass, choosing to drink wisely will help to control the sugar intake as most of the soft and hard drinks are high in sugar content and respectively high in calories. As they go along with some snacks. During such time nibble on peanuts, cashew or some veg sticks with hummus or tahini. Alcohol not only contributes to weight gain, but it also reduces fat burning process later.

8) Don’t skip any meal particularly lunch anticipating heavy meals or overeating at night.

9) Eating mindfully-While eating, chatting with family or friends make you overeat subconsciously. So, eating mindfully, by chewing slowly allows the brain to recognize the sensation of full or enough. As brain takes 20 min to recognize.

10) Try to have dinner early. If getting late go for a light meal like some salad with some dip. Rice-based instead of naan or tandoori roti, go for yogurt, raita as they are probiotics that help to maintain good bacteria and fight harmful bacteria.

11) Exercise- working out will help to reduce the extra fat and toxins from the body and hence, will help to feel lighter and better.

12) Sleep- sleep on time or maybe try to manage an 8-hour proper sleep, so that it will help to recharge and rejuvenate by removing the toxins from the body.

RECIPE- TO ENJOY GUILT FREE

Savory snacks- Baked chakli

· Mix 1kg of rice flour, 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, and 1 teaspoon chili powder.

· Add one teaspoon of oil with salt to taste and knead it into a semi-soft dough.

· Instead of frying it in oil, just apply light grease on the chaklis.

· Place them in a baking tray and place them in a preheated oven.

· Bake the chaklis at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until they get a golden brown color.

Sweet-dry fruit barfi

· Grind 1 cup chopped dried dates into a fine powder.

· Grind ½ cup makhana

· Chop up ¼ cups of raisins, figs, almonds, cashew nuts each.

· Add 1 tablespoon ghee to the chopped dates and sauté it for a few minutes.

· Add the date powder to the heated ghee and mix well.

· Finally, add some cardamom powder and let the mixture cool for a while.

· Allow the mixture on a mould and spread it evenly and let it cool for a few minutes and cut into the desired shape as per your preference.

Remember that festivals are occasions to spend time with loved ones, share joy and happiness, and be grateful for everything we have in our lives. Not to forget, the food on our plate is part of this blessing that we experience. Hence, the above-mentioned health tips will not only help you prevent health concerns like acidity, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, headaches, tiredness, and fatigue, but will also help you stay energized, light, and active during the entire festive season. Eat smart live smart- create healthier options to taste and to enjoy!



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