Sugar overload? Here’s how to stay healthy during the festive season

By Deepa Kannan|28th Oct 2020
As the festival season arrives, most people are all set to enjoy vast quantities of sweets and fried foods. But it is also a time when sickness and tummy troubles abound. Our nutritionist offers some tips on how to stay healthy during the festivals
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With so many traditional festivals coming up, sweets and savouries are being made in great quantities and will be enjoyed with great zest. But, more often than not, many people fall sick after the festivals or even during the festive season. This is usually because of an overload of sugars and fried foods.

festival

Sugary treats can be enjoyed in moderation

In the past, there were systems in place to ensure better digestion even when large quantities of sweets were made for the festivals. Many homemakers made healthier versions of treats such as chickpea sundal and sweets were usually made of jaggery, ghee and roast gram.


How can you enjoy the upcoming festivals without falling prey to its ill effects? There are some things to keep in mind in order to enjoy the upcoming celebrations and protect yourself...

Consider the source

festival

Sweets made with jaggery are good for health

One of the main things to consider is the source and origin of your sweets. Earlier sweets and treats were made at home, as a way for the family and community to come together. High-quality ingredients and fresh fats were used to make these goodies.

Fast forward to the present where everyone is busy and relying on ready-to-eat versions of the same preparations. It is a known fact that many shops reuse fats, which makes them rancid, use toxic food colouring and ingredients that might not be the best for you.


If you can take some time to explore your rich traditions and try to make a few things at home with fresh ghee, healthier sugars and protein-rich lentil flours, then you can enjoy these sweets safely, like a besan ladoo or an almond halwa.


Most of the celebrations are interwoven with the ceremony of preparation. If you do not have the time, find people who can make these sweets for you who will use safe ingredients and traditional methods of preparation. You also need to ensure that fats will not be reused and no food colours or preservatives are used in these sweets.

Make sweets at home

sweets

It is important to buy sweets from safe places

A lot of fried treats that were eaten during the festivals did not cause the liver chaos that processed fried treats cause today, because they were made at home.

Think of fresh chaklis made with rice, besan or urad flour and fried in fresh oil versus the readymade, packaged chaklis that come from unknown sources. Most manufacturers of these snacks will not use fresh oil for making these goodies each time.


Home chefs use a combination of urad flour and rice flour with spices added for both flavour and to ease digestion. Try making a small batch of chaklis at home and you will notice a dramatic difference in flavour. You will also notice how easy it is on your digestion.

Eat sweets in moderation

One of the reasons why people get sick after a festival is because of the consumption of too much refined sugar. Sugar depresses the immune function for several hours. When you keep eating sweets over several days, it can make you susceptible to infections, which is what shows up as the aftermath of a wonderful holiday.


deepa

Make sure fresh and healthy oils are used to make fried foods

There are many things that you can do to avoid this problem. Try to replace sugar with jaggery and honey if you make sweets at home. Avoid eating sweets from unknown places or when someone offers them to you if you are susceptible to falling ill. However, it is not safe to overeat traditionally prepared sweets either. Overdoing any kind of sugar will lead to an imbalance in your blood sugar levels and affect your health.


Enjoying a few sweets with each meal and not going overboard is the key. Add some ginger tea to help fire up your digestion while you are enjoying more treats than usual.

Plan balanced meals

The best way that you can support yourself through the festivals is to ensure that you have balanced meals before indulging in sweets. Enjoy a healthy sweet or treat after a nutritious breakfast which has enough fibre, proteins and vegetables. When you know that you will be eating more sugars than usual in these treats, cut all the sugars in the rest of your meals.

sweets

Sweets are an integral part of Indian festivals

Start your day with ample fibre and protein to ensure stable blood sugar levels. Add a digestive drink of boiled jeera and ajwain and sip on this drink thrice a day.


Support your body with better digestion and make sure that you are moving around and doing some exercise. This will allow you to sail through the festival season without problems. If you can get your family together and get back to traditional preparation of sweets and treats at home, with fresh ingredients, you can enjoy the festivals, guilt-free and without any negative impact on your health during the season.


(Image credit: Shutterstock)


Edited by Asha Chowdary

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