Tips to enjoy a diabetes friendly Diwali

crop2_240x240_10thoct14India is blessed with umpteen festivals, all associated with happiness and merriment, food and drink. There doesn’t seem to be an end to the festivities anywhere near. With the Navratras, the festive season kicks off- Eid, Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, the list goes on.

The thought of the festival of lights –Diwali, brings in family and food to the center stage. With all the extra calories, it’s not surprising that this is when people put on the most weight. Though festivals are loaded with joy and fun, it disturbs diet schedules of many people; it becomes difficult to stick to your diet as our loved ones expect us to join in the celebrations.

So now when the festive season is round the corner, it is important to keep in mind that while you relish every moment of celebration, cutting on calories is not impossible. All your hard work will go in vain if you don’t guard your diet. Now the question comes: HOW? The answer is stress-free and easy – smart ways of eating along with a little bit of cheating and substituting some food will fix everything.

Take a small plate
You tend to eat less when you serve yourself in smaller plates. Even small spoons, glasses and bowls are beneficial to avoid unhealthy foods. If you want to eat whatever you like, take small quantities of everything.

Say no to fizz
Stay away from those aerated cold drinks. They might quench your thirst but their sugar content just helps you in piling on those pounds. Opt for nimbu pani or coconut water instead of aerated drinks. Fruits are a good option too. Keep yourself well hydrated so that you don’t crave for another serving of that mithai or fried savory.

Be selective!
Don’t eat because you’re being offered. Friends and family will try to force feed you, but be firm with them. If you must for courtesy, then eat a small portion. If you have prepared three or four different types of delicacies for the festival, make sure you cut down on other calories from your routine diet. Try and avoid tea with sugar, or reduce the amount of rice you usually have, or perhaps eat one chapati (Indian bread) less to make up for the number of calories taken in with other treats. Basically, substitute one calorie for the other so that they don’t add up to your body weight.

Wiser, healthier Nuts
Opt for nuts instead of sweets. They have up to 60-100 calories and keep you fuller for a longer period of time

Less Oil
Cook your food using limited quantity of oil. Eat less even when you eat oily foods occasionally. Fried snacks like puris and chaklis have about 600 calories each. So baking your snack is a good idea.

Use Low Fat Ingredient
If you are making sweets yourself, try using low fat (skimmed) milk and other dairy products.

Make time for exercise
Don’t let your food sit pretty on your body by simply lazing around in the house during festival holidays. No matter what, don’t skip your daily exercise routine. Take out at least 30 minutes for your exercise- go for a run, hit the gym, play a sport, do some yoga or just squeeze out a bunch of push-ups and squats at home. It will help you to even out some of the excess calories that you are going to consume while indulging in those heavenly festive goodies.

Drink Water before Snacking
To bring in that feeling of fullness, drink water before snacking. This will definitely bring down your craving and make you eat less.


Dr. Rajiv Kovil
Consultant Diabetologist, Dr. Kovil’s Diabetes Care Centre

Dr. Rajiv Kovil is a Consultant Diabetologist at Dr. Kovil’s Diabetes Care Centre, the first Preventive Diabetes Centre & Diabetic Foot Clinic in Mumbai, KLS Memorial Hospital and Holy Spirit Hospital among others. He is a founder member of United Diabetes Forum, a forum of practising diabetologists in India. He has also written various articles on diabetes for medical journals such as Asian Journal of Diabetology and Medical Image. His Preventive Diabetes Centre & Diabetic Foot Clinic is an initiative to provide preventive diabetic measures as well as to function as a specialized Foot Clinic for diabetic patients not only in terms of equipment but more importantly in terms of expertise.

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