Diwali binge: How to eat healthy, ways to get back on track post festive season | Health

Diwali is the most enthralling time of the year, from boxes of decorations to be put up to making rangolis, from sumptuous meals to be cooked and eaten to attending parties and get-togethers. From being frenetic and stressful to having a blast, the festive season offers all flavours and with our house overflowing with sweets and foods along with the never-ending parties to attend, it seems hard to manage our health and nutrition and we end up piling on a kilo or two towards the end of it.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Neha Patodia, Co-Founder and Consultant Nutritionist at Nutrimend, shared some tips for you to stay healthy this festive season –

1. Follow intuitive eating principles: Eat your food slowly, chew each bite well, relish the flavors. When you enjoy your meal thoroughly you are satisfied with a small quantity. Also, honor your hunger. Eat when you are hungry, always rate your hunger levels on a scale of 1 to 10. Eat when you feel 7 or above on the hunger scale. While eating, keep checking in on your hunger level, stop when you are 80% full. These strategies will ensure that you don’t unnecessarily overeat.

2. Protein-rich meal: Protein keeps us full for long and has great satiety value. Hence consuming a protein-rich meal before a party will ensure that you eat less for the subsequent meal. Consume a protein shake or have 2-3 eggs/paneer salad/chicken salad before you head out.

3. Avoid binging on packaged foods such as munching on packaged chips, nachos, crackers etc. These foods are designed in a way that we can’t just stop eating them. Instead go for foxnuts, nits, seeds, home-made crackers, lavash, vegetable sticks etc. Avoid using sugary colas and other mixers for your drinks. Instead make use of lemon juice and fresh herbs to flavor your drinks.

4. Instead of eating and snacking every now and then, take a time out, pull out a plate, put in the things you want to eat, sit down and eat. Follow the principles of intuitive eating. Dedicating a specific time for eating will help you substantially drop your food intake.

5. Pick your favorite sweet: With Diwali here, the house is going to be filled with all sorts of sweets. It’s almost impossible to avoid eating it completely. Instead of eating everything that comes your way, pick your favorite sweet, have a small portion of it, eat slowly and savor each bite.

Food and Wellness Coach Anupama Menon said, “The first things that come to mind when thinking about Diwali are food, sweets and festivities. We all like bingeing on delectable mithais over the festive season but it might be challenging for someone who is attempting to lose weight. India is a multicultural nation with a wide selection of delectable and tempting foods. Even when you are trying to stop, it can be very difficult to keep your hands away from these foods at times.”

For those who want to continue working towards their weight loss objectives, the Bangalore-based nutritionist and health coach suggested, “Avoid going overboard! It is important to be aware of how much you consume, even if it is simple to overindulge in sweets and other delicacies during celebrations. Adopt a practical strategy to establish a balance between tight dietary restrictions and excessive eating. Sweets and snacks will be lying around. Don’t reach out every time you see them. Eat when the party begins.”

She added, “There will be a variety of food available but eat what you like. Do not reserve space in your appetite for what you don’t care for. Opt for roasted or baked snacks, as they are low in calories and keep you full. Besides, drink enough water, you will naturally eat less. Have vegetable and lemon infusions, lemon shots, and apple cider vinegar (in water). All that acidity will need to be ridden over with some alkalinity. In a nutshell, we all deserve some festive fun but it’s also important to maintain a positive outlook on getting back on track.”

The health expert advised, “Don’t starve yourself on the days you have to cheat. It will only make you crave more. Instead, eat only protein for breakfast and lunch. Take a small serving size and chew your food slowly. This will keep your portion size in control. Lastly, don’t fret if you lose control; just start your health routine again the next day. Remind yourself that Christmas and New Year are yet to come.”

Many of us want to shed those excess pounds in order to feel confident and fit into the lovely clothes we may purchase as we get ready for the festive season. During the festive season, social events and religious celebrations, a lot of the good things you may have done for your body are jeopardised so, how can one get back on course? Once the festive season is over, Anupama Menon recommended some tips to get back on track:

1. Exercise on a regular basis. Set a clear goal for yourself, begin by working out three times per week, and try to progressively increase your schedule.

2. It might be wise to abstain from alcohol and sugar for a month after the festivities. This healing procedure will be well received by the body.

3. For the next two months, refrain from consuming any processed food and try to eat as cleanly as you can.

4. Shake off the extra weight within 2-3 weeks because this is the ideal time to reduce the subsequent weight gain that is just visible on the surface. The sooner you lose it, the better for you.

5. The festive season may interfere with your routine. Simply having your sleep, exercise and eating schedule in order will complete 50% of your job.

6. It is very important to take care of your packend – the kitchen. Clear your kitchen of all the extra sweets, fried foods and other leftovers from the celebrations. What you don’t see is what you may not crave for.

Sometimes taking a few small steps can go a long way in ensuring that you stick to your fitness and health goals.