With Ganesh Chaturthi halfway through, the festive season has already begun with a bang in India. Before we know it, it will be Navratri, followed by Diwali. While it is a great time to celebrate and connect with family and friends to enjoy our traditions, one cannot ignore the elephant in the room. All these festivities bring along with them mouthwatering traditional delicacies. Traditionally prepared festive treats have a lot of health benefits. For example, a steamed modak is the perfect combination of taste and nutrition.
The outer covering of rice flour is a healthy carbohydrate. At the same time, the inner stuffing consists of ghee, jaggery, fresh coconut and nuts, which contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals that nourish our body in totality. The problem arises when we overindulge in these delicacies, especially those that are not traditionally prepared.
Here are a few tips that will help you indulge in your favourite gourmet delights without being stressed about adding extra kilos:
1. Start your day healthy: Beginning your day with a nutritious breakfast boosts your metabolism are prevents overeating are excessive indulgence through the latter part of the day.
2. Prepare the delicacy at home: Homemade delicacies are far healthier than the store-bought ones, and you shall be in control of the ingredients and their quality. You can also use your creativity to make the dish as healthy as possible. For example, substitute it with jaggery/fresh date paste/dry date powder or coconut palm sugar instead of using refined sugars.
3. Portion control is the key: No matter how healthy the food is, overindulgence is unhealthy. Healthy meals can be nutritious but can still contain calories, so you must control your servings to reap the benefits.
4. Keep yourself active: Festive meals contain higher calories than our non-festive day meals. These excess calories that the body does not need tend to be stored as fat. Keeping yourself active and ensuring you walk to a relatives place or stick to your exercise routine to burn out the excess calories.
5. Eat without guilt: Often, people, eat festive food with a pang of guilt. The feeling of guilt messes with the hormones and causes a spike in the cortisol (stress hormone) in the body which increases appetite and causes weight gain.
6. Include digestive teas post meals: Festive food can hamper your digestion and often lead to a feeling of bloating/acidity or even constipation. Including ginger or fennel tea which contain active digestive enzymes, will prevent you from an upset stomach.
7. Do not skip meals: Skipping meals may lead to overeating the next meal, and you may end up eating more than required. Eating a small homemade snack or meal will prevent overeating at gatherings.
8. Eat delicacies in the first half of the day: Prefer consuming sweet or fried treats in the first half of the day as your activity levels and metabolism is much higher through the day rather than at night.
9. Sleep well: Keeping awake at night and not getting enough restful sleep increases cortisol levels. It also leads to late-night snacking and increased food cravings through the next day.
10. Detox post the festivities: After enjoying the celebrations and food, detoxifying your body with easily digestible Sattvic food will help your body cleanse and flush out all the toxins that the body does not require.
Eat traditional, local and homemade food this festive season. May the festivities bring lots of luck, health, wealth, and happiness to your lives!
(The writer is a clinical nutritionist and founder of Healthy Palate)
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