Eat and live healthy this Diwali

Diwali always brings back fond childhood memories of buying new clothes, bursting crackers and the house filled with the yummy aromas of various sweets and savouries being made at home. Preparations for Diwali would start a week or two in advanceand the goodies stored in boxes for eating and distributing among friends and families during the festival. The more we gave the more sweets and other goodies that we got back in return. Though this happened just once a year, by the end of the festive season we got to the point of having an overload of sweets.

These days, people don’t wait for festivals or special occasions to make or eat sweets. Nowadays when we tend to eat like there is a festival every other weekend if not every dayand this can result in serious health problems. Not surprising that due to these lifestyle changes and inadequate physical activity we Indians are at the brink of not just an obesity epidemic but are just short of being crowned the “Diabetes capital of the World”!!

Any advice on avoiding sweets altogether would be like throwing a wet blanket on the festive spirit. The point is to enjoy the festival while keeping in mind to eat sensibly and avoid going overboard on food. That way you won’t end up feeling guilty by the end of the festive season. Gifting is a trend these days so try to set a healthy trend and gift non-sweet items this Diwali. Good gifting options can be:

  • Dry fruits and nuts make great gifts and you can make your own hampers if you buy the nuts and dry fruits in bulk,

  • Baskets of fruits (can be exotic for those looking for high-end gifts),

  • Basket of different exotic teas, gourmet coffee and nuts,

You can pair this with non-food gifts like:

  • Decorative diyas (can be made at home) or paper/ cloth lanterns

  • Silver or gold coins

  • Idols of gods

  • Decorative puja thalis

  • Basket of different agarbattis, aromatherapy oils, scented candles

The list is endless. Just use your imagination and your friends and family will be delighted with your unique gift. For all you know, you might even start a new trend in festive gifting!

Now that you’ve decided to gift healthy, what do you do with the sweet boxes you get in return? Most people buy sweets to gift others for the festival and the end result again is the same, we tend to get tired of eating too many sweets and mixtures/farsans but since we don’t want to waste them, we try to finish it.

Well, to avoid this, keep a box or maybe even two for your family if you wish, and you can gift the rest to community helpers like the maid, gardener, security guard, cleaners, driver or others who may not be fortunate enough to be loaded with them at home. While doing so do take care to gift them when they are fresh and not after the festival is over after they have been in your house for some days.

Here are some other tips for those with diabetes, cholesterol or trying to lose weight:

  • Keep up your exercise routine even during these days-most gyms and fitness centers report a drastic drop in the number of people exercising during this time.

  • Keep a check on your feasting and stick to small portion sizes.

  • Avoid snacking on fried foods and sweets.

  • Drink loads of water and don’t skip meals when you feel that you have overindulged.

  • Include salads and fruits with your meals.

The idea of celebrating a festival should not be centered on overeating festive food but getting into the spirit of the festival. Eating smart or sensibly through these months will ensure that you don’t end up with health problems in the New Year.

Here’s wishing a Happy, Healthy and Safe Diwali to all!!

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About Sweta Uchil-Purohit 14 Articles
Sweta Uchil-Purohit is a dietitian with over 15 years of experience in the field of nutrition and dietetics with a passion for helping people understand the topic.