Cities and towns come alive with colourful pandals in the festive season. And pandal-hoppers, bedecked in their brightest festive finery, offer worship. And then, of course, there are the myriad gastronomic delights — plate upon plate heaped with sweets and savoury treats. Swept up in all the revelry, it’s but natural to feel tempted to indulge. Along with West Bengal, large parts of neighbouring Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Tripura and even Bangladesh — pull out all stops to celebrate it.
But, for diabetics, in particular, it’s important to take certain precautions. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the festive spirit. It just means taking certain measures to keep your sugar levels in check…
Choose delicacies with natural sweeteners: No festival is complete without sweets. The high sugar content in our mithais makes them a no-no for diabetics. But that doesn’t mean they have to forgo sweets altogether. You can always substitute traditional mithais with those made with natural sugar alternatives. Sweets made with jaggery, dates and figs are great healthy options. Moreover, these natural sweeteners are rich in iron and packed with energy.
Avoid junk food: Cutlets, fries, parathas, pakodas, rolls — with so many sumptuous delicacies around, how can you resist? But it’s important to use one’s discretion wisely and avoid junk food, or unhealthy options that can harm your health in the long run.
Embrace a healthy lifestyle: It’s important to watch your waistline, especially with so much rich and decadent food around. Wake up early, make time for some exercise and you’ll feel a lot more healthy and a lot less guilty about helping yourself to that extra ladoo.
Controlling portion size & timing: Eat in moderation and avoid binges between meals or eating late at nights. Smaller portion sizes help maintain blood sugar levels of diabetics. In addition, limited portion sizes should be eaten at regular intervals to avoid health-related complications.
Select healthy food: Everyone thinks that all mithais are unhealthy. But there are numerous healthy options available in the market that aren’t only good for you, but also taste just as delicious. Another myth is that healthy food is expensive. This simply isn’t true. There are plenty of healthy, delicious and affordable options.
Timely health check-ups: Timely and regular health check-ups are recommended, especially blood sugar level tests that can detect diabetes. A quick medical intervention can be initiated only if it is diagnosed in time.
And finally, yes, food is an important part of the festivities. And, while it’s okay to indulge, it’s also important to be conscious of what you eat.
*Dr Varsha Khatry is Head, Medical and Scientific Affairs, Roche Diabetes Care, India