In India, the last 3-4 months of the year is practically filled with festivities and reasons to celebrate. Staying fit during this season, especially around Diwali, is a challenge in itself.
Late night card parties, eating out and bingeing on Diwali goodies are not uncommon. And while we change the environment and routine for our bodies, just a little planning and extra care can make the festivities all worth it. With literally just a few days left for Diwali to ring in, we bring you certain tips and options which will help you to have all the fun minus the guilt  about over indulging.

STEP 1: Start your day with gulkand in order to keep the digestive system on track and to help you cope up with any imbalances due to changed meal timings

STEP 2: Make sure you hydrate yourself throughout the day so that you don’t misunderstand  thirst for hunger. Sip some water in-between meals to get the hang of your real appetite and keep food portions in check to avoid overindulgence. Avoid sugary and aerated drinks and instead opt for fresh juices, buttermilk, coconut water and lime water.

STEP 3: Keeping up your regular morning exercise routine can be a challenge especially if you stay awake till the wee hours. Try about 5-7 rounds of Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutations) which requires no equipment and the 15-20 minutes of the time invested will leave you feeling fresh.

STEP 4: Replace dark chocolates, cookies, cup-cakes and brownies with homemade Besan and Rava Ladoos, Jalebi, Karanji, Kaju katli, Coconut barfi, Kheer and Halwas. The West is experimenting with Nut bars and crackles while we are giving up on our Chikkis. A home-made mithai, eaten once a day over three-four days of the Diwali weekend, won’t do bad to you. The real problem in blood sugar regulation is the late-night eating.

STEP 5: While you’re up late nights playing cards and having some family fun time, ditch the chips, cold coffees and opt for kesar-badam-turmeric milk (nowadays sold as turmeric latte) for a guilt free, yet tasty late night treat to keep the hormones balanced.

STEP 6: Pick a wise time for having sweets during the festive season. You can either have them as a snack between meals, a laddoo or a barfi at 11 am or a portion of Dahi bhalla at 4pm or moong dal halwa at 6pm when you are super hungry.

STEP 7: A few simple things can help you manage the Diwali parties better. It’s best to have a small portion of home-cooked meal of Rice and Lentil or sprouts bowl before leaving home. Once at the party, identify the home-cooked dishes or eat the delicacies served only till you are half full. Also, if you plan to drink after dinner, with each drink, have a glass of water.

STEP 8: Break the monotony of heavy and multi-course Diwali meals with a touch of simple sophistication. Cook traditional meals and bring back your regional food on your plate.

The best kind of celebration focuses on a festival’s true essence. Diwali is about giving and sharing. So instead of focusing on the bingeing and the resulting guilt, take these occasions as opportunities to go back to the traditional ways of eating and cooking. Remember, festivals are a time to be grateful, not guilty, for what you have on your plate, and to feast with a dash of common sense about food and food habits.

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