Finally! Diwali is here! We all know what that means – endless social calls, dinner parties - each with a food menu richer than the last, boxes and boxes of sugar laced sweets and processed dry fruits, late-night card parties with mindless snacking….let's face it, brilliant as the festival might be, it is no friend to the sugar-conscious. Ideally, everyone would do well to refrain from this level of indulgence but some of us don't have much of a choice. We must pull back from all the meriment. However, we feel like it's the happiest time of the year and no one should miss out on the fun!
So here are some tips to help you, not only be a smart guest, but also a fabulous host when it comes to catering to the sugar conscious. To begin with, here are some recommendations on how you can make your menu more diabetic friendly as a host
Go for Natural Sweeteners
It is a common belief that if you switch sugar with an artificial sweetener in a regular dessert you're free to indulge as much as you like. We're not so supportive of that approach. A diabetic always needs to be mindful of the amount of carbohydrates they're putting in their body (sugar or otherwise). Sugar from fruits, on the other hand, is a better bet. Try dates, raisins or fruits to sweeten your desserts. In fact, figs or anjeer is a great option for this purpose, too. It would be a good idea to ask your sweet vendor for diabetic-friendly (not just sugar-free) sweets options. Ask a doctor too; they might have some recommendations up their sleeves.
Add protein rich items to your dinner/snack menu
Finding/creating diabetic friendly desserts and dishes might take a bit of an effort but the delight that it'll bring to your sugar conscious buddy or a diabetic chacha will be well worth it. Try to cook up a menu that is high in protein such as fish, chicken, soy and black beans. Food items rich in monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and Omega 3 fats are capable of lowering your blood sugar levels. While they're busy enjoying all the yummy protein, it'll help limit their carbohydrate intake. Give your guest some options to go to if they skip the carbs.
Switch to Olive oil
You might have had your share of Olive-oil-is-healthy-conversation and took it for a passing fad but this can make a different to your sugar conscious guests. Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, it is known to help manage sugar levels. Avocado oil is another great option. Though it might not be easily available in our markets.
Now, on to the guests. We know this is easier said than done; while all your hosts might not be able to accommodate your sugar conscious requirements in to the mix, here's what you can do to keep your Diwali sparkle alive
One of the better things about Diwali? It doesn't come unannounced. This gives you the opportunity to meal plan. If you know you'll have an evening out, plan the preceding part with that in mind. Eat smaller portions, include lots of fibre and increase your water intake. In fact, you could even consider meal supplements under advise of your physician which could help you keep levels in check during the day. With the right preparation, your evening might allow for a little indulgence.
Keep yourself on your toes
Here's where the festivities come to your rescue. Physical workout is always welcome and Diwali gives you all the opportunities to do that. Out shopping? Park the car a little further down and walk up to the mall ( parking situation might have you doing that already). You could also switch the sitting card games with some dance parties, so get your feet moving.
The drinking game
Now, this one's a tough cookie. Though we'd prefer when people commend you on your ability to hold a drink, the only thing you're holding is a glass of water but here are somethings you should consider. Basically, alcohol inhibits the breakdown of carbohydrates and might lead to a sugar low or hypoglycaemia. So, pack your medicine for just-in-case scenarios. If you HAVE to drink, stick to a glass of wine or two; steer clear of beer, sugary cocktails, sangrias etc. Moderation is key, here. And of course, other basics like 'don't drink on an empty stomach', 'always hydrate' still hold true
And finally, probably most importantly, consult your doctor for a quick check on your sugar levels and get their recommendations on what you need to do to make the most of the festivities. Your history gives the doctor maximum context to how your body will react to in-take and make recommendations, accordingly. What can also help is keeping a tab of your sugar level consistently during the process, so you can be better informed about your body's reactions in the future.
Much like another aspect of your health, this one is a subject of making smart choices too. A little mindfulness can keep your Diwali spirits up without feeling like you're missing out. So here's wishing you a fabulous and festive Diwali!