Friday, February 26th, 2010

Celebrate Healthier Holi

Holi sweetHoli is a time of celebration and merriment. Holi is celebrated in the country with great zest and verve. It is a time to remember the brightness and splendor of living, a time to spread joy, colour and love into the lives of our near and dear ones.

Of all the festivals that are celebrated by us, Holi holds special significance. And it has valid reasons for the same. The festival marks the boisterous celebration of the thing called ‘life’ and has no fasts and rigid rituals attached to it. In fact, people let their hair down and eat and drink (alcohol and bhang) and make merry during Holi. This also explains the other names of this celebration – ‘Vasant Mahotsava’ and ‘Kama Mahotsava’

Undoubtedly, this is the best way to unwind and celebrate the festival, but at times in our abandon we tend to overdo and our health bears the brunt of it. Hence, it’s advisable to exercise restraint while celebrating Holi, so that you don’t go overboard in eating and drinking.

Festivals and good food are synonymous, but somehow spicy, oily and sugary foods have become synonymous with ‘good’. You don’t need any expert to tell this but overdoing on this kind of food hurts your health, burdens you with dispensable toxins and impacts your immune system. Any way, this is the time when change of seasons is happening, which means your susceptibility to cold, cough and viral infections are at all time high. Thus, there is a need to balance Holi celebrations with your health and the path is simple, which Buddha advised thousands years ago. Moderation.

Yes you heard us right. Enjoy Holi but be moderate about what goes in your mouth. Every platter of food has nutritious items as well fatty foods. Know your options and pick the nutrient dense items. Dahi bhallas, which are a must item to be made during Holi is protein rich, teeming with probiotics and are easy on stomach, because the fried vadas are dunked in hot water and squeezed out to strip it of excess oil before they sink in the beaten yoghurt.

Sweet Rush

Without doubts malpuas and ghujiyas are calorie dense. Eat them without giving second thoughts and struggle through out the summer to fit in your skimpy jeans. But, they are so tempting! Don’t resist. Have them but one should suffice. If you wish to have more give them to children of presswala and become their Santa in spring. The healthier option to ghujiyas and malpuas will be sandesh. Dairy based, steamed and just with a hint of sweetness they are perfect to satiate your sweet tooth without hurting your waistlines.
You can also give a new twist to sweet rush by baking cakes in place of greasy sweets this Holi. Try homemade microwaveable egg less cakes and the recipes are easily available online. You can also make fruit custard in skimmed milk and combine nutrition with sweetness. If you are making sweets at home try skimmed milk and go for natural sources of sweetness like honey. Similarly, you can grill, bake or roast non-vegetarian food. Not only you cut down on calorie laden gravies but you’ll offer surprise change to your family who get jaded with the regular rich diet that complements Holi.

Say Cheers

Holi is the only festival in India which allows, even sanctifies having drinks. Where alcohol goes appetizer follows. The thumb rule is that you shouldn’t drink a lot and on empty stomach because alcohol are just empty calories and they promote fat storage. So you are getting hit both ways. Since, its Holi time you can have drinks but cut down on unnecessary calories by preparing appetizers with a healthy twist. Go for roasted peanuts and cashews instead of deep fried ones. Salad bowls with sprouts, besan sev and kebabs can replace fried pakodas. While having drinks do not go for cocktails and most importantly friends do not let drunk friends drive. For people who don’t drink alcohol, thandai isn’t the only beverage in the town. You can try spicy beaten yoghurt, tender coconut water and watermelon juice. Water melon juice is the best drink that you can make in gallons and keep in refrigerator. They are sweet without added sugar and are in low in calories, laden with lycopene, an essential antioxidant that you get in tomatoes. Enterprising ones can prepare cold tomato soups and salads as well.

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Category: Healthier India
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