Deepavali, or Diwali, is the Hindu festival of lights and a joyous time of celebration, vibrant decorations and indulgent food. While enjoying this occasion, keep yourself and your loved ones healthy by watching your diet and staying active. Here are some simple tips to help you celebrate without overindulging.

While counting your blessings this festival season, also keep count of how many snacks you pop into your mouth. It may be wise to avoid distractions like watching TV while eating, and asking yourself how many laddu you have already enjoyed when that snack tray comes around.

Sweet Substitutes for Your Festival Favourites

Pass on family traditions and have fun with your loved ones by making your favourite Indian sweets at home. Store-bought sweets are often loaded with sugar and preservatives that can be harmful to health. Making them yourself allows you to be more aware of what goes into your food and to substitute ingredients with healthier alternatives.

For example, processed sugar in traditional sweets like burfi, kaju katli and laddu can be reduced by mixing in dried figs; some recipes may even replace processed sugar completely with these, or use natural sweeteners such as honey as substitutes. However, remember that although these are natural alternatives they are still sugar! Consider adding a dash of spicy cardamom or saffron for enhanced flavour instead.

In addition, whole-wheat flour is a more nutritious alternative to refined, white flour, so using this instead of regular all-purpose flour in family recipes may be a healthier option.  

Here are some other ways to make your Deepavali recipes healthier:
- Switch to low-fat or skimmed milk instead of full cream milk
- Bake or roast your own nut snacks, lightly flavoured with honey or spices, instead of buying salted nuts from the supermarket (these tend to contain more salt and/or fat) 
- Steam, bake or air-fry Deepavali treats instead of deep-frying 

Get Help for Healthier Hosting 

An easy way to make healthier food choices is to look out for HPB’s Healthier Choice Symbol while grocery shopping. Food products with this symbol meet strict guidelines on nutritional content and tend to contain less sugar, salt and fat. With more than 2,600 food products boasting this label, you will be spoilt for choice.

You can also host a hassle-free celebration by booking a caterer under the Healthier Dining Programme. These food providers offer delicious menus that are lower in calories, and use more wholegrain foods, nutritious ingredients and heathier oils.

Wishing everyone the best of health and may your homes be filled with light this festive season. Happy Deepavali!

Read these next:
Sneak Tweaks for Healthy Baked Treats
An Introduction To Calories
Sweet Talk: Sugars and Sweeteners