Binge, count, binge

Binge, count, binge

With the holiday season here, staying away from treats is not easy. Tini Sara Anien suggests ways to indulge in an intelligent manner

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Plum cakes and puddings, fruit tarts and eggnogs, the holiday season brings with it a rush of calories. As tempting as they look and become difficult to refuse, it is for one to decide on how to binge while keeping calories in mind.

While tips like drinking water or having a light snack before a party, are some easy ways to go about it, health experts say that there are many ways one could soak into the richness of the holidays, while not gaining the extra weight.

When headed to a party...

How to take control of your calorie intake at luxurious spreads during the season? Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, chief clinical dietician of Apollo Hospitals, assures that it is not a hard task.

She says, “The golden rule is to hydrate yourself. The moment you start eating at a party, look for an unsweetened beverage, like warm water, infused water, flavoured tea, tender coconut water, smoothies, or even something mixed with soda (but unsweetened). The next thing to be eaten should be something raw like a salad or mildly tossed pasta.”

One should progress to the main course gradually. “Most binge on starters and desserts and this is where one needs to be careful. When eating on an empty stomach you tend to overindulge and sugary items should be the last option, as you will need loads of it to feel full,” she says.

Diverting yourself by talking with others around and not just focusing on food helps a lot. “This doesn’t include watching television and snacking, as you tend to not count portions. Look for portion sizes, and ask for smaller portions,” she says.

Ayurveda focuses on every morsel of food being chewed 32 times. Focusing on mastication helps to not overeat, smoothens the digestion process plus you don’t feel bloated after a meal, she adds. Avoiding desserts, especially the Christmas plum cake or pudding and wine, are close to impossible.

 “Save them for later. Have some non-fried starters like sushi or steamed ones like dhoklas or podi idli etc, before indulging in sweets. Keep your portions in mind, cut your plum cake slices smaller and add fruits to your dessert,” she says.

When you are the host...

If you are hosting a party, there are several things that you can pay attention to, too. Dr Edwina Raj, senior dietician, Aster CMI Hospital says that to reduce cravings during Christmas festivities, one needs to fortify their snacks and meals with natural proteins and fibre, to dwindle hunger hormones.

Simple things you can do:

Snacks: Make a Christmas tree veg platter with cherry tomatoes and leafy vegetables, cucumber nut spread sandwiches or fruit sticks. Crackers can be made with unpolished rice or millets.

Main course: When making cheesy items, one can use low-fat cheese. When opting for meat preparations, choose the leaner versions like goat instead of lamb; more items in fish, seafood and chicken would work better. Instead of polished white rice, use semi-unpolished grains for the main course, and include plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Desserts: You could opt for something like a dark chocolate truffle made with almond flour, chia seeds, shredded coconuts and nuts.

Drinks: When making mocktails, use coconut sugar and add chia seeds.

Baking or preparing snacks: While preparing rose cookies or kalkals, 50 per cent of the flour can be replaced by whole wheat, buckwheat flour or millet flour. 

Instead of sugar, use fruits like pineapple, banana, carrot, pumpkins, beetroots or alternate sweeteners like coconut sugar, stevia (which is safe for children and adults).

For fat, replace butter with 50 per cent vegetable oil like rice bran, peanut or coconut oil, in baking or deep-frying preparations.

Spices and oilseeds: Using healthy spices like nutmeg and cinnamon also takes care of the spike in sugar levels.

Feel free to add oil seeds like pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds, for fibre and protein.

Others: To enhance the protein content, add nuts like pistachios, almonds, walnuts, peanuts and Brazil nuts. Use yoghurt in smoothies instead of sugar-based items. 

The next day...

Detoxing the body during the season is also equally important. Dr Priyanka says, “If you have an alcohol hangover, add potassium to your diet by drinking lemon or tender coconut water. If you have two parties in a week, in between go slow on spices, hydrate yourself and skimp meals by adding more fruit salads.”

Adding yoghurt into one’s diet such as having buttermilk or curd rice also helps, she says.

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