Healthy way to celebrate this festive season

THE HANS INDIA |   Aug 24,2017 , 11:35 PM IST


In the midst of this 10-day festival, where Lord Ganesha is revered, I recollect the fondest memories of hopping from one home to another, admiring the beautiful installations, soaking in the sanctity of the occasion but most of all devouring the mouth-watering sweets given as “Prasadam”.

Undoubtedly delicious the laddoos and sheeras are very high in sugar and not half as nutritious as their original traditional forms. It’s a myth you cannot celebrate without insanely sweet and fried goodies. Keeping in mind the purity and positivity of this festival try making and eating food that is unadulterated and full of nutrients.

The sweets we get today are laden with sugar, flour and oil. It’s hard to express the detrimental effects that the unchecked amount of refined sugar can have on us. Not only are we causing harm to our bodies but we choose a glorious occasion to do so. 

Refined sugar was introduced to India in the last century and was very expensive initially. Our ancestors cooked with natural plant based sugars that not only gave the required sweetness but also the much-needed nutrients. It is time we go back to this practice. 

You are probably in a dilemma with respect to which sweets to have. There are plenty of healthy options to choose from.mA celebration of Lord Ganesha is incomplete without the much loved Modak. Modak is traditionally to be made with coconut, jaggery and rice flour.

This little pouch is then steamed. Coconut is a good quality fat that also helps control hormones. It is also known to improve memory. Jaggery is a wonderful substitute to the nutrient dead sugar. It contains minerals and prevents acidity. Rice flour in nutrient rich and a better choice as compared to nutrient dead white flour.

Another irresistible mithai is the wheat and jaggery laddoos as well as boondi. The wheat ladoos can be made without frying. Wheat flour is rich in B vitamins and a wholesome source of fibre. 

Another scrumptious sweet meat is the Singh-Khajur Laddoo (peanut and jaggery). Peanuts are a good protein source and dates are natural sugar, high in fibre and zero fat.

Fig, walnut and cocoa barfi is yum. It is high in fibre, calcium and omega 3. The cocoa makes it taste like chocolate and is antioxidant rich. Shrikhand with stevia powder (natural sugar) is another low fat option. Yogurt is a super source of probiotics, the saffron and the cardamom have multiple health benefits. Stevia is safe for diabetics. 

Last but not the least one can simply chop coconut, basil leaves, jaggery and a little roasted Bengal gram can be offered as a prasadam. These are a few of the many combinations and options you can try this season.

Lord Ganesh is prayed to and remembered at the beginning of any new endeavour, a statue or relic is always present at the entrance of Hindu homes and temples. The reason for this is that he is known to be the conqueror of obstacles (vighna) and on the days that we celebrate him let us not create obstacles in the path or our health. With the blessings of Lord Ganesh may we all be healthy and happy.


Dry fig, walnut and cocoa barfi

  • 200 gms dry figs, chopped
  • 50 gms walnut, chopped
  • 1 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp cow’s ghee

  • Dry grind the figs in a food processor.
  • In a plate add the cow’s ghee.
  • Add in the grinded figs, walnuts and cocoa powder.
  • Stir until it forms a soft dough.
  • Roll out the dough and cut into cubes.
  • Chill in the fridge overnight and serve.
By Naini Setalvad

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