British Heart Foundation

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Diwali Advice to South Asians

South Asians living in the UK are twice as likely to have diabetes putting them at greater risk of cardiovascular disease than the rest of the population. Therefore, it’s important to eat healthy without spoiling yourself even during the festivals

 

Diwali is a very special festival for millions of Indians living all over the world. As the festival of lights brightens our lives so does the food. And no Diwali celebration is complete without sweets such as besan laddoo, halwa and burfi. Indeed, the festival of lights may also be called the ‘festival of sweets.’ But, these rich foods cooked in plenty of ghee, oil and sugar, can make healthy eating a challenge. Mrs Surbhi Vithlani who is involved with health checks and also works as a Stop Smoking practitioner at Solutions for Health, Croydon, says South Asians living in the UK are twice as likely to have diabetes putting them at greater risk of cardiovascular disease than the rest of the population. Therefore, it’s important to eat healthy without spoiling yourself even during the festivals. “As Diwali celebrations can last for more than three days”, she says “you should try and plan ahead to keep Diwali healthier. This can also help to keep your weight stable for the entire week”. Mrs Vithlani suggests that if you plan to include rotis in your Diwali menu, and then instead of using oil to knead the flour (brown wheat is good for health), use semi skimmed milk and warm water to make the dough. Wrap it in a wet cloth, to keep it moist, before rolling it out. “It has a good texture and also contains less fat,” she added. Wherever possible, try using a vegetable oil like olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil instead of ghee or butter when cooking, recommends Mrs Vithlani. “Mrs Vithlani’s Diwali Mantra is simple: ‘Eat healthy, stay healthy and keep exercising’. Try some of Mrs Vithlani’s other suggestions for a Healthy Diwali

 

1. Bake rather than fry. Chevdo tastes just as great if the ingredients are baked and adding a bit of lemon reduces the amount of salt needed – Try this BHF Roasted Chevdo recipe from the BHF recipe book ‘Taste of South Asia’.

 

2. Fruit, fresh or dried, and almonds and cashews nuts roasted with a little black pepper to are great to serve to guests with tea. Making fruit salad from fresh fruit with no added sugar is her favourite.

 

3. Choose lower fat milk such as semi skimmed or 1% milk instead of full fat. She makes her own paneer with reduced fat yoghurt and milk.

 

4. Avoid serving fizzy drinks – if necessary choose sugar free or diet varieties.

 

5. Fit in extra physical activity – where possible walk to and from an event.

 

For delicious and healthy recipes order a copy of our free booklet ‘Taste of South Asia’ (G606) by calling the BHF order line on 0870 600 6566 or emailing : orderline@bhf.org.uk

 

Have a Very Happy and Healthy Diwali.

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