The festive season and sweet treats are inseparable. And it’s hard to refuse when all the sweets parade and decorate our tables, leaving us guilt-ridden after consuming them. Many of us wish there was a magical wand where we got to taste them, but we still stayed to the best of our health at the same time.
There is no magical wand I know of, though I can share some useful tips that can help you enjoy the season with less guilt.
1) Portion Size: Remember, having quantity control is the first technique we need to adopt for healthy eating. I understand there will be an array of sweet treats staring at us; however, choose one sweet per day or, to the maximum, two sweets per day. Have one portion of it, enjoy the sweetness, and avoid consuming it after 5 p.m.
2) How do you have them: Some techniques to implement while eating, not only during celebrations, can be practiced at all times.
a) Have any kind of high-fibre savoury item, followed by the sweet. Do not have sweets as the first food item, either during a meal or any part of the day. This will raise your insulin levels in your body, alter your body mechanisms, and mess with your hormones. Simple options will include a cucumber salad, chia seeds soaked in water, or eating the sweet right after a meal.
b) Have the habit of serving the sweets on a smaller plate; sit in a relaxed environment and consume them; and do not consume them straight out of the packet. This will give you some time to think about whether the food item you have chosen is healthy or not.
c) Take time to eat the sweets and avoid eating them fast. Understand that digestion starts in the mouth.
3) Eat a high fibre, high protein, low carbohydrate diet: For mealtime, consume foods that are high in fibre, like vegetables, greens, beans, lentils, and whole grains. Also, step up on your proteins, including whole lentils and pulses, sprouts, paneer, seeds, and nuts. This will help you feel full and reduce your calorie intake. Carbohydrates should be kept to a minimum, as your meal also includes sweets. However, skipping the whole meal and having only sweets is a very bad idea, as that harms the health more. The fibre and protein act as good agents to keep your blood sugar levels at their optimum. And remember only to consume 3/4 of the stomach and never to the fullest.
4) Increase your activity level: Increase your activity level, especially after a meal or when you have eaten until your stomach is full. The heart might want you to take a comfortable position on the bed and settle down with Netflix or social media scrolling. Think out of your mind to remember that these habits will increase your blood sugar levels, promote fat formation, and increase cravings. Any kind of activity, like a medium-paced walk, a few kettlebell swings or sit-ups, or even a fun dance party, will help your body feel healthy.
5) Quality of sweets: The final, but most important, one is to choose sweets that are of good quality. Choose sweets, which are made of unrefined food items. Made of whole grains and pulses. Choose sweeteners like jaggery over refined sugar; not only do they impart traditional flavour to the preparation, but they also nourish our body with minerals.
Healthy eating and being active are the two sides of healthy living. Making these your habits will help you have a long-lasting healthy life and happiness.
This article is by Sobana Laxmi Jagaraj
Sobana is a holistic nutritionist, dedicated to helping people inculcate healthy eating into their lifestyle for long-term, sustainable benefits to their health and wellbeing. Passionate about experimenting with healthy cooking techniques and maintaining vibrant floral gardens are some of her leisure time hobbies.