HEALTH PLUS MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT
Divali is an incredibly special day for millions living all over the world. No Divali celebration is complete without the platefuls of barfi, ladoo, sweet rice etcetera. These desserts made during Divali are so rich and tasty that it is just impossible to resist while everyone in your family indulges. It is that time of the year when your diet plan and exercise schedule are chucked aside. But then days after, the guilt sets in.
Health Plus wanted you to enjoy the best of both worlds and daringly decided to research: “Is there such a thing as healthy Divali?”
If you’re watching your weight, mindful of your health, diabetic, have high cholesterol or heart disease, then ghee, sugar laden mithai and salt heavy snacks are simply not a good option. But this does not mean you have to suffer and forgo the celebration.
Make moderation your Divali mantra!
The vast array of traditional sweets means the festival of lights might almost be called the festival of mithai.
Traditional Divali hospitality believes “the guest is truly your God'' so, why not treat your guests to healthier dishes? If you are hosting the Divali celebration why not include healthier options of traditional dishes such as baked samosas or whole wheat nankhatai or coconut ladoo? Manage the indulgences moderately within the festive period and do not feel obliged to polish off all the leftover mithai that have been given to you by friends and family.
These are a few recommendations you can adhere to:
Plan ahead. Have mithai and fried snacks in small amounts. Set yourself realistic targets for the festive period as many people do not just celebrate Divali on one day, but the celebrations may continue for many days, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Avoid skipping meals, this is particularly important for diabetics.
- Before eating snacks, know your blood glucose values, drink water and continue to sip water to bring in that feeling of fullness.
- If you are making mithai yourself, use low fat ingredients like lower fat milks and other dairy products. Use natural sweeteners like dried fruit and dates to make the sweets. Instead of using fried ingredients, make chivda by using roasted shelled peanuts, lower fat crisps, rice krispies or cornflakes, roasted chickpeas and spices.
- Replace saturated fats like ghee and butter with small amounts of unsaturated fats such as pure vegetable oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, corn oil etcetera to make your dishes.
- Impress your guests with a selection of salads such as avocado salad, tomato and onion salad, cholesterol busting dishes such as soya cocktail sticks, chana masala, oat tikki, matar paneer made with tofu etcetera.
- If you are having fizzy drinks, choose sugar free or just stick to water.
Even the most disciplined diet-followers let down their guard and get into the festival spirit so go ahead and enjoy yourself with family and friends within moderation and adhering to COVID-19 Health regulations, keeping the above tips in mind.
Above all a very happy, healthy and holy Divali!
Healthy Divali recipes
Try these healthy versions of the famous Divali sweets and have a healthy, guilt free Divali. We know it is hard to digest when you hear healthy sweets and snacks, but these healthy Divali recipes mentioned below are worth a shot especially if you are Diabetic.
Coconut ladoo is extremely popular in South India. It is suggested that you use freshly grated coconut to enjoy the most of it and to make a healthier version of these, use honey instead of sugar.
Grated coconut - 1 and a half cups
Honey – 1 tsp
Cardamom powder – 1/4th tsp
Ghee – 1 tsp
How to Make
Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed, non-stick pan on a low flame, then add in the grated coconut, and sauté for about two to three minutes.
Take some water in another pan, add honey to it and warm on a low flame.
Filter it through a sieve in a bowl.
Add the honey syrup to the coconut and mix well, then add the cardamom powder and give it a stir.
Let it cook till the moisture evaporates and you see the jaggery-coconut mixture drying up.
Turn off the flame and allow the mixture to cool.
Grease your palms with half a tsp. of oil and roll the ladoo.
DRIED FRUIT LADOO
If you like munching dry fruits, then you will also love devouring dry fruit ladoo. These are healthier than other ladoo that are soaked in ghee and sugar. If you have been looking for a sugar-free sweet recipe for Divali, then try this dry fruit ladoo.
Chopped dates – 1 cup
Almonds – 1/4th cup
Cashew nuts – 1/4th cup
Figs – 1/4th cup
Pistachios – 1/4th cup
Raisins – 1/4th cup
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Ghee – 1 tsp
How to Make
Grind the dates in a blender for four to five pulses and keep aside.
Now, finely chop the cashew nuts, almonds, figs, pistachios, and raisins.
Heat the ghee in a wok on low flame, then add in the chopped dry fruits and sauté for four to five minutes.
Add the coarsely blended dates to the above mix and give it a nice stir, mashing the dates well.
Add in the cardamom powder and mix it well.
Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool for two minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a large dish and roll the ladoo to the appropriate size.
Store them in an airtight container.
WHOLE WHEAT NANKHATAI
Nankhatai is usually made with all-purpose flour but to make a healthier version of it, use whole wheat flour. Yes, you will have to add in some sugar for sweetness, but that is okay. You can always walk that extra mile or run for 10 more minutes on the treadmill to burn those extra calories.
Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
Gram flour – 1/4th cup
Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Ghee – 1/3 cup
Milk – 1 – 2 tsp
How to Make
Preheat an oven at 180° C for about 15 minutes.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, grease the tray with some ghee. Keep aside.
Sieve the flours, powdered sugar, and cardamom powder together in a deep bowl. Mix them well.
Slowly add some ghee to the bowl containing the flour mixture and mix it well to make stiff dough. Use a little amount of ghee to bring the flour together. Do not knead the dough. You can also add a tablespoon of milk if required.
Now make small balls out of the dough.
Gently press them to flatten them. Make a design on them using a fork or toothpick.
Place them on the baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
Serve warm. You can also store the nankhatai in an airtight container for two to three weeks.
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