Eat Healthy, Eat Safe! The Hindu festival of Diwali is known for lights, fireworks, delicious food, and fun with family and friends. Popularly called as the Festival of Lights, the five-long day festival is all about giving and sharing. No festival is complete without sweets and snacks. But tasting and enjoying mouth-watering sweets, crispy namkeens and other calorie-rich foods can result in weight gain and other unwanted health problems. Here are some food-related tips to help you enjoy a healthy and safe Diwali.
Eat healthier homemade sweets
Store purchased sweets tend to be over sweet, high in fat and mixed with artificial flavors; therefore, eat sweets cooked at home. Opt for low-fat, low-sugar ingredients. For example, use jaggery and natural sugar substitutes to prepare sweets, which is healthier than using white refined sugar. Make ladoos of ragi, jowar or bajra, which are low in calories and healthy. Use an air fryer or oven, which requires less oil, and can be used to cook low-fat foods.
Moreover, foods such a nuts, chocolates, and dry fruits give a sense of fullness, making one eat fewer servings, and are healthier options to traditional Diwali sweets.
Be aware of adulteration
The large-scale preparation of sweets to meet the growing demand during Diwali may lead to compromising on quality through adulteration. Adulteration can be intentional, where low-quality substances are added to the food for reducing the cost of production. It can also be unintentional, due to carelessness or negligence. In both cases, it can cause serious health problems to the consumers.
For example, the eatable silver foil or Barkh used for coating sweets can be adulterated with toxic metals, such as aluminum, which is very harmful to health. Other foods that may be adulterated include milk, khoya, ghee, Vanaspati, flour etc. You, therefore, need to be extra careful while buying and eating food items during Diwali.
Tips for buying Diwali sweets
- Avoid purchasing sweets from lesser known places. Buy from a reputed store.
- Buy fresh sweets, preferably without silver foil.
- Avoid sweets with syrup; they generally will have more calories.
- People with diabetes should look for sugar-free sweets, especially made for them.
Diet mistakes to avoid this Diwali:
Using white flour (Maida)
Foods such as gulab jamun, mathari, kulcha etc. are made from maida. Sugar and white flour are linked to all modern diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and clogged arteries. It’s recommended to use foods and sweets made of wheat flour or multigrain atta.
Using white sugar
Homemade or purchased sweets use white refined sugar. This sugar gets processed immediately, and spikes glucose levels in the blood. It also has traces of sulphur that enter during the refining process. Making sweets with sugar can, therefore, be harmful to health. It’s recommended to use brown sugar or jaggery when making sweets at home. Additionally, adding dates, raisins, figs etc. can help sweeten naturally.
In order to provide for the huge demand of fried sweets, many stores and home cooks reuse oil. Once the oil is used, then it should not be reused as it is unhealthy. Reused oils contain a lot of free radicals that are carcinogenic in nature. Moreover, they harm the body by causing acidity, heartburn, and clogged arteries. It’s recommended to use sunflower and mustard oils for deep frying.
Not drinking enough water
Having cold drinks and sodas during festive get-togethers may make you dehydrated and increases your calorie consumption. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps you stay hydrated. Moreover, drinking water at regular intervals helps keep you feeling full, preventing you from overeating.
Not practicing portion control
A Diwali feast can tempt even those most devoted to their diets. If you can’t control what you eat, control how much you eat. Practice portion control. You’ll find that eating smaller helpings of your favorite dishes is far more satisfying than overdoing it. Moreover, larger plates lead to overeating; therefore, choose a small plate to serve yourself. Moreover, try to avoid a second serving.
Diwali is incomplete without sweets. Indulge in your favorite foods, but in moderation and with a little caution. Make a healthy and hearty choice this Diwali.