Festive Cooking – Time to change

It is festival time and glitter is in the air. It is also that time when we dig in to foods that we relish and which have been a part of our tradition and culture. As much as we enjoy these festive foods it is high time we think of these in line with our fitness goals.

Festive foods, although tickle our taste buds, their preparation is exhaustive and time consuming and it generally contains ingredients that could have long term impacts on health. We all know that these festive foods are usually high in fat and / or sugar which may have a long term impact if consumed extensively on a regular basis.

Our traditional delicatessen by and large consists of ingredients that may not be very favorable towards healthy eating and can be modified to an extent where the taste remains close to the original with minimum impact on health.

Ghee or clarified butter, commonly used for seasoning or frying when consumed regularly could lead to expanding waistlines and may cause medical complications in the long term. Sugar is another ingredient which tends to have an adverse impact on weight and also the blood triglyceride levels. These are two of the most common ingredients used extensively during festive times.

Another integral part of our traditional festive eating patterns are dairy products – milk, yogurt, cottage cheese (paneer) etc. form a big part of our diet. Although these products are high in saturated fat they are also rich in calcium. With these the best way forward could be to look towards the trim and low fat variety; this keeps the flavor close to standard milk, provides calcium, protein and has less saturated fat.

Another food group that forms an essential part of festival cooking are ‘Nuts’ they say that these help add the ‘X Factor’ to our cooking and can make simple food quite exotic.

SO WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT IT?

Although not palatable to most of us, the best way forward is to keep away from food high in fat and sugar during this festive season and if this is not possible find alternatives.

A common view is, cooking in extra oil, ghee, cream and nuts can make food tastier – this is a myth, keep it simple – use less oil and cook in non-stick to minimize oil consumption.

Replace ghee / butter with margarine, cream with a low fat cream or curd, be imaginative, it is all about experimenting and using your own creative side. But be mindful about quantity, even when using vegetable oils or low fat variety, it still is high in energy.

Coconut and nuts when added to cooking can enhance the richness of any curry however replace these with herbs and spices – our cooking has an advantage of a variety of spices that can flavor food and make it tasty. The key is to keep it light and
simple.

Festival recipes can be made healthier and tastier you just need to make an effort and make the difference for which your family will thank you in the long run.

Good wishes for a prosperous festival time.

Till next time be healthy and eat wise.

This article is a general guideline ONLY, if you have any medical condition and for individual conditions you should consult a health professional or your medical practitioner immediately.

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