Eating is a delectable part of the fun of the festival. As hostesses of the family we like to serve our family the best. As members of the family, we enjoy the bounteous repast and want our hostess to know we appreciate her culinary efforts. Our attitude of festival eating hasn’t changed greatly. None the less, etiquette rules are undergoing a subtle but definite change. This has come about as a result of the growing awareness of the dangers of excess ‘weight'. It is no longer considered a breach of good manners to turndown proffered food or drink. The modern hostess completely understands when a member refuses seconds or even declines to partake of the first helping. In fact she prepares light food so that everyone has refreshments.

Sweets, specially our Indian sweets are highly rich preparations-in the sense that these are too sweet and have lots of fat. This is where one has to think of his/her diet. The fact that  many of the sweets are made of maida makes these preparations add empty calories. Nutritionally speaking, the term empty calories apply to foods lacking in proteins, minerals and vitamins. Sources of empty calories are sugar, maida and refined oils and cooking fat.

Other than flour and sugar, the third main ingredient used in most sweet preparations is ghee or vanaspathi. These two are saturated fatty acids. ‘Fats' has in effect, become the new four-letter word, the dietary pariah or a nutritional victim. Yet the truth is, if you give up all fats, you are heading for trouble. We need unsaturated fats  (liquids at room temperature) in our diet to provide essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins E, D and A.

Nutrition science is wonderful! Thanks to our modern knowledge it is possible to adjust our energy intake to our maintenance or reducing calorie requirements, without depriving our bodies on any vital nutrient.

Delicious food need not be a fattening fare. The light calorie touch can be given to recipes without detracting from flavour or nutritional values. Dietary know-how combined with culinary skill enables us to dine well and stay healthy.

In the interest of health as well as weight, cultivate the habit of cooking less oil or fats in all your cooking. You will find that fats can be cut substantially in recipes without subtracting from the natural goodness of the dish. Whenever feasible, use unsaturated oil in place of solid, saturated fat. If cooking with oil, keep the flame very low.

Use of cow milk or skim milk instead of whole milk can cut a lot of calories, keeping the nutrients intact. Skim milk can be purchased as such, or a large part of the fat can be removed from whole milk, provided it is not homogenised. Let the milk stand in the refrigerator for twenty-four hours in order to allow time for the fat to rise to the top. Then, before shaking, pour off two cups. The milk that remains in the bottom of the bottle/vessel is comparatively low in fat content. Now the milk is ready for your low fat sweet preparation.

If your traditional mind and taste buds don’t’ agree cutting corners into age – old recipes,  cut down consumption quantity and increase on physical activity. Many argue that our elders ate all that rich food and yet enjoyed good health. It’s true that they rarely had life-style diseases and ate heavier meals.   If we study a little deeper, we’ll know that they struck to two or three meals a day, almost never ate out and did a lot of physical activity. We’re adding more calories by eating in – between meals, eating restaurant and other outside food on whose quality we don’t have much control on and are involved in more of mental activities than physical ones. We have to make amendments to our diets according to our energy requirements. Then we can enjoy every bite of the food that we consume, including our favourite festive foods. Happy festivities!

By Editorial Team



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