With the change in weather and festive season around the corner, party mood has begun. And that brings along with it, the sheer number of outings, extravagant food and alcohol. These can throw even the most disciplined off their fitness regimens.
Celebrating a festival in India has its charm and is often accompanied with lots of delicacies. Different communities have their own ways of celebrating festivals by preparing their own special sweets. While these are an integral part of traditional celebrations, unfortunately some of the foods we eat for pleasure are not always best for our health and are loaded with calories, especially from fats and sugars. The way to therefore indulge in the festivities would be to have the right portions and make the right food choices. You could also balance excesses and reduce your caloric intake in the subsequent meal by having soups / salads/ a bowl of yogurt / skimmed milk or walking an extra mile. Balance is the golden word - cut down sugars from your diet as much as possible. Also don’t forget to account for the added sugar in sweetened drinks and sherbets. A single serve can give almost 6-7 teaspoons of sugar. So, whatever you do-indulgence comes at a price, unless you’re smart about it.
Is possible to celebrate without a toll on our health? The answer is yes. Just a few tips and common sense, can protect from the ills of dining & wining.
Plan: Just like you plan your clothes and meetings, plan your eating too. If you know you are to dine out, then under-eat during the day. Remember; don’t go starving to the party. Eat a light snack-
Appetizers: Don’t go out to dine or reach a party ravenous. Make sure you take a light snack (salads, soups, vegetables, lentils, milk, yogurt or nuts make good choices) before leaving your home to prevent over-indulgence of the first thing that you are served. Or else, eat most of your meal at home and choose light snacks or vegetables while you are out.
Snack Smart: Go for roasted/ baked, non–fried, grilled or bar-be-qued snacks. Choose small portions preferably. If overindulged in snacks, keep the dinner light or skip it all together. If consuming sweetened drinks, choose those sweetened with sugar substitutes
Limit Alcoholic beverages: Avoid drinking more than 2 medium drinks of wine or other alcoholic beverages. If you have to go through a long evening over drinks, dilute your drinks or else take water intermittently. Again, whenever given a choice, choose drinks that are sweetened with sugar substitutes like stevia or sucralose.
Non alcoholic beverages: Save yourself from sugar calories and avoid drinking sugar sweetened beverages. Go in for low calories sugar substitutes – SugarFree Natura is a great alternative to keep handy.
Desserts: Skip desserts if possible, or choose light ones in place of ones with cream or deep fried ones. If temptation overtakes you or you have a sweet tooth, make these yourself and sweeten them with SugarFree Natura. Also, share your favorite ones with your friends.
It’s really difficult for a person to strike a balance between an individual’s likes and availability. However, maintaining this delicate balance helps a lot in our health and well being. With a little effort, celebration need not burden you with extra calories and can be a joyful experience. Small changes can combine pleasure with good health.
The article has been authored by Ishi Khosla, clinical nutritionist, columnist and author....