Wellness Tips: How to Have a Happy and Healthy Diwali

Bright lights, yummy sweets and spending time with your family are some of the key aspects of Diwali and while all these things are good for your overall sense of wellbeing, they’re perhaps not so great for your diet. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just be healthy, this festival can really impede on your efforts, but should you stay away from the celebrations altogether? Of course not! You can enjoy all aspects of the Diwali festivities without suffering the guilt of the next day food hangover. No, you don’t have to stay away from good food; you can have your mithai, chakli and more by following a few wellness tips.


1. Bake your savouries instead of frying them: A lot of Diwali savoury favourites come in low-fat versions, and so you’d be forgiven for thinking you could shop away, guilt-free. However, you should not be deceived by those attractive packets of diet chakli, diet chivda or farsan, as these tempting treats are not what they seem. Though they’re not required to say as much on the label, most packaged food items – even the diet ones – contain trans fats. These little nasties can be very dangerous for your cholesterol levels, which has, in turn, an impact on your weight and heart health. Instead, why not make your savouries at home? You can cut down on the amount of fat you use by baking them rather than frying, and this won’t compromise the taste.


2. Be a health-conscious host: It’s nice to have plenty of snacks and special drinks on hand to serve your Diwali visitors, but that doesn’t mean you have to give guests devilish treats that are ultimately bad for them. Try serving healthier snacks, such as dhokla, masala peanuts, unsalted dry fruits, sprout-chaat, fruit salad, idlis, and baked chaklis. Instead of packing your pantry with soft drinks or artificial juice, serve nimbu-paani, jal jeera, chaas etc. Your guests will surely love it, and no one’s health or waistline has to suffer.


3. Eat at home first: Before going to visit friends and family, eat at home. That way, you can make sure that you don’t end up binging when you get there. Plus, by visiting other people you can bring all the Diwali snacks that you’d only end up gorging yourself on after the festivities have come to a close. Post-Diwali, you know you’re left with loads of mithai and chocolates at home, and you just eat them all so as to not be wasteful. However, taking them to your friends and family during the celebrations, or distributing them to people who are not fortunate enough, can help you not to binge during and after the festive season, and share with other people, which is definitely a good thing.


4. Make sweets at home with natural sweeteners: You don’t want to overdo it with the sugar in your Diwali cooking, but research shows that artificial sweeteners can cause side-effects like thyroid problems, memory loss, acidity and even obesity – which is what you’re trying to avoid by using artificial sweeteners in the first place! Instead, turn your attention to natural sweeteners like dates, jaggery, honey or figs in sweets. However, while honey is healthier, be warned that it does contain twice the amount of calories as sugar. When it comes to the best time to eat sweets, plump for those moments after a heavy workout or when you have an empty stomach. That way, your body will be low on calories and so won’t convert the carbohydrates into fat, but rather will use them up for other functions.

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