Let us be honest, Diwali without mithai is like waffles without syrup or pizza without cheese or parathas without pickle; in short, no fun at all. So no, we do not advocate starting a 30-day no-sugar challenge in November. But, on the other hand, if your Diwali bingeing extends all the way to Christmas, leaving you struggling to shimmy into your favourite LBD on New Year's eve, you may want to relook your eating patterns and relationship with food.
Moderation, as always, is probably the best thing. But if you struggle with it, here's another idea: modification. “Our desserts can be made healthy and guilt-free,” agrees Minal Shah, Senior Nutrition Therapist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund. Here are her top five suggestions on indulging sensibly.
Choose a milk-based dessert
Yes, I'm looking at you shrikhand, sandesh, mishiti doi and kheer. And maybe a nice kulfi too? “Milk makes it a good source of first-class protein, and these desserts can very easily be made at home with any modifications that we desire,” says Shah.
Also read: How to declutter your kitchen before Diwali
Use a natural flavouring agent
Ok, I won't lie here: nothing tastes as decadent as white sugar melted into warm ghee. But you could think of reducing sugar and replacing it with natural flavouring agents and sweeteners. Think spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, dry fruits like dates and raisins or even chunks of fresh pineapple, strawberry or stewed apples. “Jaggery and honey can also be used over refined sugar, but with quantity restriction,” believes Shah.
Make better sweet choices
“You can make healthier choices among existing desserts,” says Shah. She offers the following suggestions.
Make sweets out of functional foods
Experiment with making sweets and desserts with healthy ingredients. Jain lists some options: dates ladoo, apple sheera, methi kheer, beetroot halwa, fruit yoghurt, carrot kalakand.
Something nothing else works: you need to have that slice of cheesecake or portion of gulab jamun or Mysore pak. Jain's suggestion: eat it, but take a smaller portion. “Make or order for minis or cut smaller pieces to reduce the calorie intake,” she says.
Also read: How to walk your way to better health