Diwali Image Source: Prokerala

Lights, Celebrations, and a lot of sweets.

With the festival of lights, Diwali round the corner, many shops are busy preparing a bulk load of sugar-laden Indian confectionaries.

As enticing as they all are to gorge on, choosing what is good for you is important. It’s not about privation but the addition of fresh natural and unprocessed natural foods, being aware of which is good and bad for the body.

If you are thinking to consume them or gift them to your loved ones, then feed your near and dear ones with the gift of non-toxic food. Ensure to place orders for food that heal the body and not harm them. Sweets that are less processed, non-fried and without white flour or white sugar will do more good to your body. Especially with the homemade sweets, use natural sugar from dry fruits, jaggery, honey and made with fat from nuts, coconuts and cows ghee. This Diwali, let's rejoice that the delicacies you gift and consume are safe and pure.

Commonly found unhealthy sweets:

Jalebi: One of the favorite dessert among street foods of India, jalebi or imarti is a sweet gorged upon by millions along the street sides or at homes with a cup of tea. Made of deep-fried urad flour batter which is then soaked in sugar syrup, jalebi is a gift of the Mughals and is sure to cause an explosion of sweetness in your mouth. Lucknow and Delhi are best known for their delicious jalebis.

Ghughra: With a half-moon shape, this sweet known by 'karanjiya' in Maharashtra and 'neuri' in Goa has a golden exterior with a crisp fluted edge stuffed with sugar and coconut 'mawa'.

Moti chur ke laddoo: These tiny pearls made of fried gram flour and sugar is one of the favorites among the shoppers. They come in a range of colors from yellow to bright orange in colour.

Gulab Jamun :  One of the most liked sweet dish and a festival specialty of India, these sweet balls are made from gram flour, white sugar and white flour. They come in shades of brown and black and soaked in sugar syrup.

Shakkapara : A ubiquitous sweet from Gujrat, these diamond shaped cookies are made from white flour fried with powdered sugar.

Gulgule : Popular during festivals in many states of North India, the wheat flour sweet fried dumplings are one of the most selled sweets in Delhi.

Malpua : Indian sugared pancakes replica, this delicacy is topped with malai. 

Healthy alternatives:

Lapsi : Sweet dish made from jaggery, cow’s ghee and broken wheat. There are no additional frills and one can be sure of its delicious earthy origin. The sweet is an important part of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra’s festive cuisine.

Payassam: This is almost like a kheer from jaggery and coconut milk. Payassam is one of the most sought after sweet dish from Southern India.

Noleen gur sandesh : Made from Cottage cheese and jaggery of Bengal, the sweet is one of the favourite sweet dishes of eastern India.

Mishti doi: Made in an earthern pot, the delicious sweet curd from Bengal get its sweetner from Nolen Gur, a natural sweetner.

Puran poli: This is Roti's yummiest form and made from jaggery wheat and toovar daal, quite a healthy combination.

Dry fruits – You may never say 'no' to this. During diwali, dry fruits are offered to you when you visit someone's house. Almonds, cashews, pistas and raisins should be on your list for this festive season.

Tips to have a healthy Diwali this year

Plan your day: If you have skipped one meal, make sure the rest of the meals are on track. Always keep a check on the intake of food and your daily calorie intake. 

Restrict Alcohol: Try to restrict your alcohol intake, if any, to two drinks. Refrain from cocktails and aerated drinks too as they give you just extra calories and alcohol dehydrate your body.

Stay hydrated: Hydrate yourself and drink your quantum of water at regular intervals to keep you stay full and energized in the rush of all preparation.

Walk as you shop: By walking, you burn off 200 calories in just 30 minutes.  Try to take the stairs and try walking to stay fit, even if you miss your gym sessions.

Restrict sugar and salt intake: High salt intake causes many health issues like puffiness, swelling and water retention in body.

Eat the 'right' Sweets: Take small bites to make it last longer and control your urge to take another bite. Eat homemade stuff and try to include jaggery and dry fruits in your diet as they control your calorie intake. Also, note that high sugar intake can put extra burden on your liver.