Diwali may be over, but it is just the start of the festive season! If you’ve been diligently watching what you eat from January to September, great! But the last quarter of the year is nothing short of a calorie minefield. Fear not, we are here to help you navigate it. There are three main traps you need to avoid.
Trap #1: Sugar.
The first thing waiting to bump you off the wagon is sugar. Barely have you dodged the Diwali laddoos and barfis, that bright-coloured Halloween candy, festive-themed cakes and cookies start popping up in stores, homes and workplaces. Besides, you might have received gift baskets loaded with chocolate-coated goodies that beckon you long after the party is over.
What you can do:
Space it out: Stow away what can be stowed away and spread out the calories over the long term. Out of sight is out of mind. Snack healthy: Keep some dried berries and dried fruits handy. These will give you the same satisfaction as that fruit-and-nut chocolate bar. Dates are another excellent option. They are also rich in iron. If you’re a woman, dates help with period sugar cravings and deliver the much-needed iron to get you through. Keep these energy bars in your office desk drawer: they will keep the brightly-wrapped eclair at bay. Substitute fresh fruit juices for packaged or carbonated beverages whenever possible.
Trap #2: Salt:
Namkeens: the name says it all. Salty snacks, appetizers and canapes are a staple of parties and get-togethers, especially when drinks are served. Everyone has got caught up in the moment and had a handful of chips too many.
What you can do:
If you’re the host(ess), you have more control over what gets served. Your healthier offerings don’t have to be tasteless or boring. Roasted Makhana (foxnuts) make a great party popper, and they are available in a variety of flavours. You can also get crunchy khakhra chips in a range of options from Methi to Pizza, to satisfy every palate. Moreover, you can pair finger-food like cut carrots and cucumbers with interesting dips and chutneys for guilt-free snacking. Besides, they do deliver fibre, which is often sorely lacking in festive food menus. Sprinkle some Himalayan salt and lemon, and you have a very satisfying snack.
Trap #3: Deep-fried stuff:
This is the 21st century: technology has come to your rescue with air-fried or vacuum-fried options to replace traditionally fried snacks. Roasting is another method to cut the calories in a snack, like this toothsome beaten chana.
Think outside the box with vacuum-fried vegetable chips which have every bit of the crunch and none of the oil. Want to combine tart and salty, or tart and sweet? Think vacuum-fried fruit chips. When you do need to include oil, go in for cold-pressed healthy oils like coconut, sesame, mustard or olive oil. Top your snack crackers with peanut butter and lace your rice or chapatis with pure ghee, for a shot of good fats.