Community Initiatives

Holidays Or Diwali Healthy Eating Campaigns

As the holiday season approaches, our intake of mithai, samosas, pakoras, etc., increases dramatically. With these sugary or high fat favourites, we may find our blood sugars as well as waist lines start to increase if we are not careful. What can we do instead?

Here are some healthy holiday tips to keep you on track, while still allowing you to enjoy yourself.

1. Swap out sugary gifts: During Diwali and other festive holidays, when we visit our family and friends, we never go empty handed. Our hands are usually filled with sweets (mithai) or chocolate; however, these items are high in fat and sugar.
Instead, try taking almonds/walnuts/pecans, which have a higher nutritional value and also do not spoil as fast. You can also take speciality fruit platters or even home decor items. If you start this trend, your family and friends are sure to follow!

2. Know when to say ‘no’: In the South Asian culture, we have a tendency of overfeeding people, repeatedly filling their plates even if they are full. Unfortunately this has become a sign of good hospitality. 
If this happens to you, gently say no to the excessive calories. If your host insists you have more, choose to have more daal/sabji/meat instead of more starchy foods such as roti/naan/rice.

3. Don’t drink your calories: During holiday parties and get togethers, alcoholic and soda drinks are usually OVER-flowing. We usually don’t think about these liquid calories but they can quickly increase our caloric intake. Stick to drinking water instead. 
If you are having alcohol, make sure you speak to the doctor/pharmacist as alcohol should not be taken with several medications. If having alcohol, avoid mixing with sugary pops and juices as this will result in increased blood sugars.

4. Survey the scene before eating: During the holiday season, there is usually a large spread of appetizer/dishes to choose from. 
Instead of just eating whatever comes your way, take a look at everything being offered or ask your host what’s on the menu for the night and save your appetite for items you actually like. This way, you can have more of what you really enjoy without mindlessly munching.

5. Take a healthy dish to a party: If you are going to someone’s house for a get together, offer to bring a dish. The host will breathe a sigh of relief as he/she has one less dish to make. 
Your dish can be vegetable based as vegetables have little/no carbohydrates in them, or you can even make a healthier version of a sweet dish.

6. Keep up your exercise routine: This time of year is extremely busy for everyone. The first thing that falls off of our list of priorities is exercise. However, try your best to keep it up and involve your family members for more motivation. 
You are not limited to the gym; you can dance, swim, walk, do yard work, etc., to keep your body moving!

7. When at the Mandir or Gurdwara: When visiting religious places, it is very easy to be tempted by all the mithai. 
Fill up on ‘Langar’ and try your best to avoid the temptation of the mithai. If there is fruit present, choose that instead.

8. Take the focus off of food: If you are hosting a party or get together, have other activities that your guests can take part in aside from eating. Try a musical game, charades or even making a ‘rangoli’ to liven up your home.

Remember, this does mean that you cannot enjoy Diwali or the holidays at all. Go ahead and have a piece of your favourite mithai! Just be careful not to overindulge, you’ll thank yourself later. 
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!