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Wine & Dine
November 11, 2014

Make Mine Mini

Illustration by Farzana Cooper

Festive celebrations are de rigueur these days but does this have to translate into huge portions of food and calories galore? Health guru Luke Coutinho offers his tips and tricks to maintaining a svelte silhouette even as you dip into the season’s fare

Festive celebrations are looming large on the calendar. While you may bemoan the inevitable pile-up of calories at these events, it is possible to follow a balanced lifestyle, eating healthy even when feasting. Here are a few eating tips which can help you to maintain your health and manage your weight.

Drink enough water
Drinking water becomes very important. Adequate amounts of water help to flush out toxins from the body. Ideally drink a glass of water prior to your meal as this helps you to feel full and avoid overeating. If you cannot consume a lot of water, buttermilk and limewater are healthy options.

Portion control
When most of us sit down to eat or serve ourselves, the last thing we think about is portion control. But for anyone who wants to lead a balanced lifestyle, portion control becomes very important. Always take a small serving; it will help you to eat a variety and enjoy whatever you eat without feeling guilty about it.

Take care of your sleep
Sleep is a very important part of your lifestyle and also the most neglected one especially when you are out partying with old friends and relatives. Make sure you catch up with people but do not forget to catch up on sleep as well.

Skipping meals
This should be the last thought on your mind. Skipping a meal will not help you in making healthy choices, rather it will increase your craving for the next meal and you will end up overeating. Skipping your first meal of the day is a bad option, so even if you get up late, make sure you have a small meal within half an hour of waking up.

Control your snack craving
Be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian fare, munching on delectable snacks is everyone’s favourite party pursuit. Just take care to keep off the fried stuff and treat yourself to veggies and grilled snacks instead. Many parties these days boast of a fruit bar, salad bar and a barbeque. Barbequed chicken, fish, cottage cheese and vegetables are good options for snacks. Fried and salted snacks are undoubtedly the biggest pitfalls at a party. Soya-based products, low-fat cottage cheese and raw veggies are a good alternative. The best part is that you can have a lot of these without calculating the calories.

Start with a salad
Beginning with a salad will help you to feel full soon and you will take care of portion control after this. Also keep GPRS handy which means fill your plate with anything that’s grilled/ poached/ roasted/ steamed or stir fried. This will help you to eat healthy and without feeling guilty.

Fix the dinner time
Have your dinner early so that you have plenty of time to stroll around and it has a chance of being absorbed in the body. It will help you keep indigestion, acidity and flatulence at bay. Take food in a small plate and try to limit your visits to the buffet counter. Being choosy is the key; you are obviously not supposed to eat everything that is served. Pick up things that look less oily and load your plate with loads of veggies. Eat slowly, go easy on the bread basket, avoid rice and drink lots of water.

Limit desserts
Desserts and alcohol is a bad combination as it will end shooting up sugar levels in your body. Having a dessert simply would add up to empty calories in your meal. Try one or more dishes from the buffet if you can keep yourself away from this last leg of the menu. Still if you fail to control yourself, then try your hand on small sized cookies, cupcakes or low fat ice creams. Don’t go beyond three to four bites.

How to make your drinks lighter
When it comes to drinks, most of us do not think of the calories involved. Ideally, keep aerated drinks out of sight; you can have limewater and skimmed milk preparations. As for alcoholic drinks, reduce the frequency and limit your intake to two drinks. Take every sip, do not gulp and do not be in a hurry to finish. Even though you may be in a group that has its drinks on the rocks, always dilute your drinks with water and ice cubes. Consume plenty of limewater before and after, as this will save you from dehydration. Fried snacks make you feel thirstier and you end up drinking more, so avoid these as well.

Stay Holistic 
Some simple guidelines will keep you hale and hearty even though you may be inclined to binge….

Ideally, consume six to eight glasses of water daily. This not only helps to get a clear complexion, it also helps curb those hunger pangs.

Snacking on junk and oily food should be strictly prohibited. Hungry? Reach out for healthy snacks like dry fruits, carrot sticks, apples, wheat crackers, a few nuts (like almonds, walnuts). Eat four to six small meals and never skip breakfast.

Opt for organic or freshly prepared fruit and vegetable juices, or simply, water, when out celebrating with friends and family. Alcohol intake must be limited.

Naturally, this is the time when Indian sweets and mithai boxes are going to tempt. Steer clear of these. Talk to family members about how important it is for you to get in shape for the festivities. This will help them remove these ‘temptations’ out of your way!

Eat The Rainbow:  Have coloured vegetables and fruits in your diet. This will give you an inner glow because of the phytonutrient present in them.

Yoga and meditation are also very effective in staying stress-free at this time. Have eight hours of essential sleep as this will help you stay calm and look gorgeous and glowing on all the festival days.

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