Baisakhi is celebrated on the first day of the 'Baisakh,' which happens to be the first month of the Hindu calendar. This is sort of the desi New Year, and is synonymous with a big fat Punjabi celebration and lots of rich food. In the south, it is celebrated as Vishu and in Assam as Bihu puja.
Some healthy picks for the occasion are:
Makke Ki Roti and Saag Never Gets Boring
Definitely have sarson ka saag with makke ki roti. The lip-smacking saag is not only tasty but also nutritious.
Prepared using a combination of three different green leafy vegetables – spinach, mustard greens and bathua (white goosefoot) – the saag delivers lots of nutrients – vitamins and minerals (vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and vitamin E, manganese, calcium) and dietary fibre. It also has multiple antioxidants that help one's immunity stay robust in this changing season (winter to summer).
The makke ki roti is brilliant way to boost our protein intake.
Kadhi Is a Probiotic Wonder
Instead of going the dal makhani route, which tends to be heavy and calorie loaded, try the traditional punjabi kadhi pakoda, one of the best representations of rich punjabi flavours.
It is spicy, it is sour and it is a treat to the soul. Made with sour curd and a host of heart-warming spices, the yellow kadhi delivers good amount of protein and probiotics too, to boost the good bacteria in the stomach and again provide a boost to our immunity.
Pick Kala Chana Over Chole
Instead of making regular chola bhatura, try something offbeat yet traditional. Make a kala chana and paneer sabzi, a protein and calcium loaded option and enjoy with wheat kulcha.
The Healthy Sweets Alternative
Instead of devouring heavy, sugar and khoya-laden mithai, make the delish kesar phirni. It delivers the goodness of milk along with the health boosting properties of saffron and cardamom. Or enjoy til gajak and til ladoo (called tilor ladoo in Assam).
Til pitta (made with sticky rice, jaggery and black sesame seeds) is a very popular dish made during Bihu festival. Sesame seeds are loaded with calcium, so these will help your bones too besides satisfying your sweet tooth.
Coconut ladoo is another great option as they deliver the good fat goodness of coconut.
Vishu down south is incomplete without the milk kheer or payasam. Try the fruit payasam – low-fat milk, minimal sugar and you are ready to devour the dish. No need to add sugar, fruit’s natural sugars will sweeten it enough.
Also Read: Eat These 10 Foods For a Healthy Navratri
Musk Melon Seeds Snack
You can also make this amazing (and healthy) musk melon seeds snack
Fry musk melon seeds in some ghee till they turn golden, add some jaggery and stir continuously to ensure that the seeds stick to one another. It’s a delicious snack that will take care of your sweet cravings as well.
Mango Lassi to the Rescue
A meal during this festival is incomplete without a glass of lassi.
To give a twist to the regular lassi that we drink, you can add some of your favourite fruits to the lassi.
All you need is some curd, iced water, ice cubes, fruits of your choice (try mango) and mint.
Add all the ingredients and mix them with a hand blender till you get a smooth mixture.
The drink is a life-saver during the excessively hot days of April.
So make the most of the healthy seasonal and traditional ingredients – fruits, vegetables, sesame seeds, coconut, jaggery, maize and dairy – to enter into the next season with a hefty dose of health.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of ‘Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico)‘. Her next book ‘Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa)‘ is out.)
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