Diwali is the festival of lights, firecrackers, eating lots of traditional sweets and having loads of fun with family and friends. However, festive season is also that time of the year when diet regimes can go awry.
Bingeing on sweets and fried food can cause weight gain and expand your waistline. While overeating can cause blood sugar levels to shoot up in diabetic patients, snacks rich in salt can cause blood pressure to spike in hypertensive patients.
A little bit of planning, self-control and smart eating can help one avoid these unwanted festive bingeing aftereffects. Here’s how.
- Stock Heart Healthy Foods: Keep a large stock of healthy nuts such as almonds and walnuts. Even not so healthy nuts like cashew nuts and pistachios can be had but in moderation. Sweets made up of jaggery and figs and dates are good.
- Choose Seasonal Fruits: Have a generous serving of whole fruits such as apple, pears, banana, oranges or any other seasonal fruit with high fiber content and a rich natural source of vitamins. Avoid fruit juices, especially canned or stored ones which have high sugar content.
- Have Plenty of Salads During Festive Meals: This ensures that the cravings for fatty fried food are satiated and it is easy to avoid these harmful fat rich foods with ease. Add fresh fruits and vegetables to make newer types of salads and add to the nutritive value of the meal.
- Prepare Low Calorie Desserts: Try healthier options for example, chocolate coconut laddoos, with chopped almonds, walnuts and jaggery as sweetener etc. Both coconut and dark chocolate are fiber rich. Dark chocolate is a rich source of anti oxidants.
- Apply Smart Cooking Techniques: Try shallow or dry frying method of cooking rather than deep fried. Use less of potatoes and more of corn while preparing hot savouries.
- Avoid Eating Meat During the Festive Season: Meat consumption adds to the calorie count. If at all, you must eat boiled or roasted chicken or fish with lots of baked vegetables.
- Keep Yourself Hydrated: Drink plenty of water and avoid aerated drinks and binge drinking.
- Eat in Moderation: Enjoy your sweets and savouries but in small quantities and make correct food choices.
- Exercise is a Must: Exercise daily by at least walking 30 min a day and stay fit to enjoy a happy and safe Diwali.
(Dr Nilesh Gautam is a Senior Interventional Cardiologist at the Asian Heart Institute)
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