Updated: Mar 28
Everyone has a different version of ”being healthy”, it can either be weight loss, weight gain, managing diabetes or just being conscious of what’s going in your mouth. Whatever the health goal, it goes for a toss when a festival arrives. Being Indians, we always go big on desserts and mithais, from gujias during holi and ladoos in diwali there are tons of “unhealthy” options available to us.
But can you avoid all these traditional holi foods? Let’s be honest, we can not! But after the festival is over you not only deal with weight gain but holi binges also cause indigestion, acidity, bloating and blood sugar spikes.
So what can you do? It’s actually not that difficult to keep a check on your binges, you can actually try amazing, easy, healthy and delicious holi Indian foods.
Many studies have revealed that application of conscious eating habits during holidays and festivities can make your life easier and enjoyable, without giving up on your favourite delicacies.
Tips to stay healthy
Since Holi is a major Indian festival typically involving yummy traditional holi food and parties, we bring to you some important tips and ideas to make this festive eating healthy with these mouth-watering holi Indian foods:
Be prepared by pre eating: Overeating can lead to indigestion issues, hence it’s always a good habit to pre-eat a tiny snack before leaving for the holi party. This will not only help to keep portions in check but also help to avoid the unnecessary fried sugary foods. Opt for foods like a fruit platter, nut shake, buttermilk or even a whole wheat sandwich.
Eat the traditional foods with some modifications: Who doesn’t want to enjoy the pooran poli, gujiya, tikki chole and other holi sweets? But hey, you can always tweak the recipes a bit to avoid the excess fat or sugar coming in by using natural sugar substitutes like stevia. Make the gujiyas using dry fruits to cut back on the added sugar. The tikki can be made of raw banana/sweet potato to add bulk through fibre which will give you a satiety feeling for a longer time. The vadas can be made in appe pan over deep frying which will just help in cutting back on the fat intake.
Let’s make thandai healthier: Holi is incomplete without gulping in glasses of thadai. Make it using low fat milk, topping in nuts like roasted almonds & pistachios which are rich in MUFA (heart friendly nutrient) and sweeten it with dry fruits or date paste over refined sugar. Diabetic people can add in stevia (a natural sugar substitute) to enjoy this drink in moderation.
Don’t forget the hydration: Playing and eating such holi Indian foods can definitely make a person forget to sip in water, but let’s not get dehydrated in this scorching summer heat. Get in the coconut water, lime water or a glass of kokum sharbat if having plain water seems just boring.
Recipes that add a dash of health in traditional holi foods
Small changes can go a long way. Similarly making tiny modifications in the ingredient list or cooking method is a step towards good health. There are so many traditional holi foods which end up being heavy on our diet, Here’s how you can make a switch from high fat/sugar to healthy & yummy dishes:
A dessert made of refined flour (maida) filled with khoya, dry fruits and it is fried. Check out this different version called the “baked gujiya” which is using semolina (rawa) over maida and as the name says, it's baked which helps to keep the fat in check.
Traditional Indian pancakes fried in ghee and dipped in sugar can now be replaced with guilt free ragi malpua which will use ragii, oats and wheat flour making it nourishing and lip smacking.
How can we forget the all time favourite thandai which is made of high fat milk and added sugar making it a rich beverage, but worry not here we have a low calorie thandai using low fat milk with dry fruits to top up the sweetness. https://www.thehealthsite.com/fitness/low-calorie-thandai-recipe-5369/
4) Malai kulfi
To beat the heat kulfi is a must, making it the best holi sweet, however we have some healthy swaps over this sugar & cream dense kulfi. Check out this mixed berry coconut yogurt popsicle filled with natural sweetness and ditching the excess fat. https://www.dishbydish.net/mixed-berry-yogurt-popsicles-dairy-free-gluten-free/
5) Pooran Poli
A traditional flattened bread filled with sweet lentil preparation roasted in ghee is one of the famous traditional holi foods. To make this dish even more healthier we have got you this sweet potato pooran poli making it fibre rich too. https://www.sandyathome.com/2017/01/02/sweet-potato-poli-recipe-sweet-potato-bobbatlu/
6) Namak Para
After being drenched in the holi spirit comes this traditional holi snack which is deep fried and easy to eat.Namak Para also called as mathri can be made healthier, by simply baking it. https://www.cookwithmanali.com/baked-whole-wheat-namak-paare-healthy-diwali-recipe/#wprm-recipe-container-36413
That deep fried Holi snack can now be made healthier by simply shifting from refined flour (maida) to whole wheat flour/ragi/oats and making the stuffing more nourishing by adding veggies and lentils to it. Cut back the frying and let’s shift to baking. https://www.archanaskitchen.com/oats-and-whole-wheat-kachori-stuffed-with-peas-recipe
8) Dhai Bhalla
A cooling holi snack where the yogurt isn't the problem, but being deep fried is. Let's replace the way of cooking to steaming making it a way more healthier holi recipe. https://poonambachhav.blogspot.com/2019/04/steamed-dahi-bhalla-recipe.html
Sova Health is a platform that works on precision nutrition, where in, an in depth analysis of biomarkers are done which helps to understand the effect it has on the human body and how food can help to improve it. With small changes in habits we help a person achieve its health goals without obtaining any fad diets.
Sova Health wishes you and your family a very happy and safe holi. Consistent self monitoring helps you enjoy your food everyday and at any time of the year. Let’s make this holi clean with no water wastage and filled with all healthy nourishing delicacies.