How to eat healthy this festive season

In our fast-paced, high stress society, fatigue and even exhaustion have become the norm. More sleep, of course, is the best answer. But the right diet can also help fuel your body for the long haul and keep your energy levels from flagging throughout the day.

The festival season comes once a year and is a reason to rejoice. And, then, there are a lot of formalities and social happenings – you can’t say no to friends and relatives.

From Ganesh Chaturthi to Diwali or Christmas, festivals in India are celebrated with an assortment of mouth watering, irresistible snacks and sweets, loaded with high calories.

Here are few diet, lifestyle and behavior tips to help you have fun without packing on the traditional extra kilos during festivals.

Healthy diet modifications Strategies

1. As it is festival season, a lot of mandatory frying is happening. So, choose the best quality cooking oil, never use vanaspati ghee (dalda) or saturated fat for sweets or snacks preparation.

2. Try to make sweets from multigrain or whole wheat flour instead of refined flour.

3. Stuff yourself with healthy drink or soup 5 minutes before you have to eat fried food.

4. Try to consume healthy drinks, fresh juice or herbal teas instead of coffee and milk tea.

5. Choose grilled, baked or roasted foods over deep-fried products.

6. Choose dry fruits over sweets which are made of refined flour.

7. Choose vegetable puddings over gulab Jamun or mawa sweets (mawa could be adulterated).

8. If you’ve gorged during the day, then dinner should be a soup and salad with healthy vegetables.

9. Try to stay away from carbonated drinks which will fill you with empty calories – go instead for fresh fruit juice or fruit shakes.

10. Try to make sweets out of dates, chemical free jaggery and honey instead of refined sugar and if recipes demand milk, use skimmed milk powder to prepare dishes like shrikhand, rice puddings, kheer pherni, fruit custards and low fat paneer. For gajar ka halwa, use condensed milk instead of mawa or khoya.

11. Try to consume fig/anjeer burfi as anjeer is a good source of calcium and fibre.

12. Consume sugar substitute, for example rose petals will be more appealing as compared to refined sugar.

13. Read labels carefully.

14. Use extreme caution when eating in restaurant or as a guest in someone’s home.

15. Discuss the menu and ask about a recipe’s ingredients. Avoid processed foods.

16. Order small portions and share – We have become used to bigger and bigger portions both at home and when we eat out. At restaurants, reduce the temptation to clean your plate by setting aside one third of your meal before you touch it.

17. Smoking and excessive alcohol, dull the appetite and should be avoided.

18. A little alcohol may help – try drinking a glass of wine or beer it may increase your appetite.

19. Don’t nap during the day; instead get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

20. Don’t deprive yourself – have small portions of your favorite high-calorie foods once in a while so that you don’t get frustrated and end up binging.

21. Eat more often to avoid a completely empty stomach, which can make you overeat at your next meal.

22. Choose your carbohydrates carefully. Despite what the popular media might have you believing, you don’t need to avoid all carbohydrates in order to lose weight.

23. Choose high fiber foods – Foods that don’t leave you hungry are higher in bulk and lower in calories.

24. Don’t attempt to cut all the fat out of your diet. Research has shown that people are able to stay on a diet longer and are better able to maintain their weight loss when their diets allow at least some foods that contain fat, for example cooking oil and nuts.

25. During festivals, never fast – Fasting, even when plenty of water is consumed, can be very dangerous; it may lead to lowered blood pressure and heart failure. Also, weight loss gained by fasting is rarely sustained once eating is resumed.

26. Keep your eye on the mirror – Instead of relying totally on the scale, check your reflection in the mirror, your clothing size, your energy level, and the notches on your belt.

27. Everybody needs at least six to eight glasses of fluid per day to be properly hydrated. If you exercise, you need more water to regulate your body temperature, transport nutrients to your body, and carry waste away. Fluids can come from water, juice, lemonade, milk, soups, or watery fruits and vegetable watermelon, cucumber etc.

Source: Dr. Nupur Krishnan

The author is a leading nutrition expert with a decade of proven experience in Preventive and Clinical Nutrition therapies on heart attack, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, blood pressure, thyroid and kidney disorders.

Image: Getty Images

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