The Secret To Enjoying Festive Foods And Yet Staying Healthy!

It’s the time of festivities of lights and crackers! Along with the fun and frolic, there comes the ever looming threat of uncontrolled eating, bingeing on sweets and fries, and the unwanted weight gain after the festival is over! Before you plan your festivities sit down with your thoughts and completely understand what you have to do to stay healthy and fit before, during and after the festival. Make a promise to yourself that you will get into perfect shape even if it means restricting all your favorite foods (and yes many a times not being ‘full’) at meals. Think about how happy you will be once you achieve your target.


Why is maintaining weight important?

Three heavy facts

• Excess weight can cause illness:
Being overweight can be a cause of health stress. The consequences are back and joint pains. Every kilo may increase the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer (especially bowel and breast cancer).

• Every extra kilo can shorten life:
People who are overweight have a higher risk of dying with a heart attack than those with normal weight.

• Being overweight makes life a misery:
A daily burden in many instances, being overweight means: even the smallest effort leads to breathlessness, when movement and agility are restricted and excess sweating is common.
Last but not the least – cosmetic reasons – it improves self-esteem in an appearance conscious society.


Here are some tips to manage your weight and enjoy the festive occasion.

• Learn how to eat correctly: Learn “conscious” eating. Bad eating habits are usually one reason for being overweight. Be conscious of what you eat; do not eat because the other person is indulging or forcing you to. Never eat without thinking about it.
• Avoid “situational eating”: What is situational eating? This is eating when in a certain place or situation. For example, eating while watching T.V, or eating while reading or while using computer. With situational eating one can tend to eat while doing that specific activity even when one is not hungry. So try to eat only during regular mealtimes.
• Eat slowly: The faster you eat; the more you will eat before your body signals that it has had enough. Remember it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register you have had enough to eat.

• Maintain a food diary: Recording entries will help you to discover your eating patterns. This will help you to disrupt these patterns, which may have been hindering you in making positive eating changes.

• Exercise: Continue exercising during the festive season to ensure effecting burning of excess calories consumed.

Tips to plan healthy meals:

• Plan ahead of time what you are going to prepare
• Try to have a variety of colored fruits and vegetables
• Method of cooking- Try to use minimal oil and other seasonings such as honey, sugar, ketchup etc. as these would contribute calories. Try natural flavors such as cinnamon, cardamom, fresh dates and fruits pureed to bring in a new sweetness instead of highly refined white sugar. Try natural seasonings such as fresh garlic, ginger, fresh chili, lemon etc. This will spice up your dishes without contributing excess calories. Non-stick cookware will help reduce the amount of oil required.
• Try low fat cooking methods like steaming, boiling or grilling.
• If there is a heavy lunch or dinner planned, skip breakfast, drink plenty of fluids and eat in moderation at lunch or dinner. Cut down on the portion size. Conquer cravings for food items – talk to yourself before you overdo.
• Non caloric sweeteners can be used, but should not be taken in excessive quantities, hence diet foods cannot be taken without restriction
• Drink some water or sugar free fluids about half an hour before meal times. This will cause feeling of fullness and will help you eat less during the meal
• Increase the fibre content of the diet by eating plenty of vegetables and fruits

List of foods to be avoided/ restricted and Free foods

Avoid / Restrict

• Whole milk, butter, cheese, paneer (made from whole milk), yogurt
• Nuts, dried fruits
• Sweets, candies, sugar, jaggery, honey, brown sugar, bakery foods—cakes and cookies, (these are forbidden foods)
• Alcohol, soft drinks, aerated beverages, sweetened fruit juices.
• Restrict oily gravies, snacks (deep fried), creamy sauces, salad dressings high in fat

Free foods

• Fresh fruit, vegetables, salads
• Enjoy fresh fruit juices (without sugar)
• Fresh coconut water, buttermilk, Lime juice, Pepper water, clear soups, soups without butter or cream


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