Traditional Indian foods or Diwali staple dishes are absolutely delicious. But they also can be rich, heavy, and laden with carbs and calories. And everybody knows that refusing food in an Indian household can be trouble! Aakhir tradition toh tradition hota haina? But with some relatively simple substitutions, you can avoid the ghee, butter, sugar and other fattening or unhealthy ingredients.
Here are a few healthy twists to classic Diwali dishes – so you can keep it festive and stay healthy at the same time!
If you’re in the Halloween spirit, but also want to celebrate Diwali, we have the perfect option for you. The best of both worlds in one single dish – pumpkin halva! You’ve heard about gajar ka halva and badam ka halva, but a pumpkin halva–also healthy– is the perfect way to celebrate two cultures at once. Eat healthy by applying the Halloween tradition of adding pumpkin to your ingredients, and pay homage to your own traditions by making some halva with it. Known as kaddu or kaashi phal in Hindi, pumpkin is rich in antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C, and is virtually fat-free. Thus it’s good for your eyes and skin, while helping manage your diet plan as well. So carve your pumpkin for a Halloween decoration and use the inside to make the traditional dish!
Quinoa apple kheer
Making a desi dessert that isn’t laden with ghee is quite challenging! And since kheer is a popular dish, with several variations across the Indian states, a healthy kheer seems to be the best dessert option. Quinoa is stuffed with antioxidants, fibre and minerals, and since it can absorb profuse amounts of water, it’s the perfect healthy option to add to yourkheer. And tales have already sung the health benefits of apples. Hence, this low-calorie, fibre-filled, nutritious dish will allow you to join in the festival fun as a healthy alternative that you can offer others and gorge on yourself, guilt-free!
Steamed dahi wada
Dahi wada, in essence, is a fried lentil dumpling that’s soaked in water to remove excess oil and soften it, and served with thick creamy yoghurt with spices. To avoid the deep-fry and the resulting excess oil, here’s a healthier option – steamed dahi wadas! Simply use a steamer to cook them and soak them in water before using, just like you normally would for fried wadas. Steaming any dish is a much better choice than frying, and it’s one of the cleanest and healthiest ways to cook. Yoghurt is already good for you, so there’s that. For an added twist of sweetness, add pomegranates as topping!
Another staple Diwali dish, puri-aloo can also be made healthier way, by fortifying the puri. Since it cannot be made without frying, add more proteins and fibre to it to balance the ratio! Make the dough for the puri with chickpeas and/or white beans. These two won’t change the colour of the puri, and it’ll taste almost exactly the same. And if you don’t mind trying colourful puris, you can also make them out of spinach and tomatoes. The colourful puris are sure to be a hit with the little ones, while also giving a health boost!
Healthy snacking alternatives
Kanji Vada is the ultimate snack-cum-drink from the Marwar region in northern India. It’s very healthy, as it’s fermented and rich in probiotics. This yummy snack is also an immunity booster! Murukkus, also known as chakli in the north, are yum, but are also deep fried. This savoury – crunchy and yummy – can be baked, instead of fried! So ditch the oil and stick to your oven here! Samosa – doesn’t need any explanation or introduction. Healthy versions of this most-beloved snack include baking it instead of deep-frying, and adding a healthy filling of moong or channa.
So ditch the fried snacks and fattening desserts this Diwali, and prepare these healthy alternatives instead! - Devanshi