Festive Fever 2023: Healthy Eating Tips That You Can Incorporate This Festive Season
Festival season is the most awaited period for all as we get time to spend with our families, eat together all their favourite delicacies- both sweet and savoury and also go out for vacations at times. Along with this, those who are health conscious regret this later when they gain a few kilos after such festive indulgence.
In this regard, dietician Umang Malhotra said, “With the festive season just around the corner, it’s time to prepare ourselves for an abundance of delectable treats and mouth-watering delicacies. However, let us not forget the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Recent studies have shown that adopting some easy eating habits during this time can go a long way in ensuring overall well-being without compromising on the festive cheer.”
“Indians tend to consume excess calories during festivals, leading to weight gain and other related health issues. Adopting healthier eating practices doesn’t mean depriving oneself of traditional festive delights; rather, it involves making smart choices and practising moderation,” he added.
Healthy Eating Tips This Festive Season:
Dietician Garima Goyal shared some healthy eating tips so that we can manage our weight while we enjoy the festive delicacies.
1. Have at least one meal containing probiotics:
The festival-associated binge eating is followed by imbalances in the gut microbiota. The gut starts working overtime in order to digest the excess amount of food consumed. So having at least one meal including probiotics such as curd or yoghurt is essential for the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and for improvised digestion. When the number of healthy bacteria overpowers the number of harmful bacteria in the gut, such a balance is important for the healthy microbiome of the gut.
2. Never reuse oil for frying:
This month marks the season of a lot of fried delicacies being cooked at home and one of the biggest mistakes made is reusing the oil used for frying to cook further. It’s a great source of trans fat which is carcinogenic and extremely unhealthy. So always try to cook foods with shallow frying at home with minimum oil used.
3. Choose food sources with healthy fats:
Although people binge eat during this time and don’t care while eating junkies, when it comes to eating healthy foods, they start avoiding sources of healthy fats considering it to raise their calorie levels. But this is not true. During the times when you know your diet is definitely going to get compromised, you should consume healthy fats such as nuts, olive oil, avocados etc. It has two advantages. Firstly they give a satiety value and keep a person fuller for longer, thereby decreasing the calories consumed. Secondly, healthy fats are also heart-healthy and keep the body’s systems functioning well.
4. Never skip your breakfast:
People make the biggest mistake of skipping their breakfast on the days they think they have lunch or dinner outside. The key rule of not gaining extra weight is maintaining a balance of calories consumed. Also, this calorie count should be proportionately balanced throughout the day. Skipping the first main meal of the day and consuming all the calories in a meal later on, takes a toll on digestive health and leads to various digestive problems such as gas, bloating, acidity, diarrhoea etc.
5. Never consider the entire month as a party month:
No one tells you to avoid eating during the party days. You should enjoy this holiday season with your friends and family and definitely have a blast, but limit it to only those days when there is some occasion or party. Just because you feel that you will not be able to manage your diet in these days, you start eating all the junk food possible in all the meals. End result – unnecessary kilos added. So, always try to eat a healthy and balanced diet on the non-party days and manage low calories on the day of the party. This doesn’t mean skipping meals, but rather having all the meals at the same time but reducing the portion sizes.
6. Avoid over-eating:
Whenever you over-eat, your body doesn’t know what to do with this excess food. So it starts storing it in the form of fat in the body. So, try eating food as per your body’s demands. Stop when you feel full or stay ready to face the side effects of bloating, acidity and weight gain.
7. Avoid late-night meals:
Both Ayurveda and science have proven this fact that eat the last meal of the day at least 2-3 hours before bedtime so that the body digests it first and by the time your body is asleep, it can perform the rest of the functions. But party season doesn’t let this happen and meals’ time shifts to post-midnight which is very harmful for the system. So even if you go out, prefer to have your meals early.
Additionally, dietician Umang also added a few more healthy habits that can be incorporated during this time.
1. Include Colorful Vegetables and Fruits:
Make sure your plate is filled with vibrant vegetables and fruits that are rich in essential nutrients. Opt for salads, vegetable curries, or stir-fried dishes as accompaniments to balance out heavy meals.
2. Hydrate Wisely:
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid sugary beverages and opt for herbal teas, infused water, or fresh fruit juices instead.
3. Choose Whole Grains:
Replace refined grains like white rice or maida (all-purpose flour) with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or millet whenever possible. Whole grains are packed with fibre and vitamins, keeping you full for longer.
4. Mindful Snacking:
Festive snacks have become an integral part of our celebrations. Instead of deep-fried options, try air-frying or baking your favourite snacks. Experiment with healthier alternatives like roasted foxnuts (makhana) or baked multi-grain chips to satisfy those cravings guilt-free.
5. Stay Active:
Don’t let the festive mood deter you from staying physically active. Go for walks after meals, engage in light exercises, or dance your way through the festivities! This will not only burn calories but also help improve digestion.
Despite the above- If you want to indulge and don’t want to guilt yourself then try this tip suggested by Dietician Riddhima Khamsera. She said,
On the day of the festival begin your day by drinking Triphala water. Choose one meal out of breakfast, lunch and dinner where you wish to eat something delicious. Suppose you chose chole bhature for lunch- then have apple cider vinegar with lemon before lunch and after lunch have Macha tea.”
If you know you have a big feast coming up, eat a light, healthy meal beforehand to curb your appetite. Pick your indulgences wisely. If there’s a particular dish you love, go for it, but skip those you can do without. Be cautious with sugary cocktails and sodas. Opt for water, herbal tea, or sparkling water as alternatives. Remember, it’s not about deprivation, but maintaining a balance and making mindful choices can help you have a healthy and enjoyable festival season,” she added,