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The festive season is on. During this time of year, we often end up overeating and overloading on calories.

“What do I eat to be healthy? Isn’t junk food okay occasionally? What about cheat days? If I stop following the dietary guidelines, will I gain weight overnight?” My advice is to make dietary guidelines your default setting for your everyday, regular meals, and especially during occasions. It’s important to track what you eat because that helps you figure out what you’re doing wrong,” said Ira Trivedi, celebrity yogini, and author.

Portion control

It is difficult to stay away from fried foods, sweets and other unhealthy options because they are delicious. The solution to this problem is controlling the portions. We should discipline ourselves during festivals, even when it comes to our favourite junk foods. The most important thing to remember is to start small, aim low and work your way up.

The basic principle of following a healthy diet — fewer refined carbohydrates, adequate proteins. Special care should be taken to avoid sugar.

Stay hydrated

Hydration is of utmost importance. We tend to forget to drink water and keep ourselves hydrated. We must carry our water bottles to the temples and keep sipping water every one to two hours. Moreover, you can carry lemon or cucumber-infused drinks.

These drinks will hydrate you as well as provide the essential vitamins and minerals. They help in regulating body alkalinity too. Avoid indulging in carbonated and soft drinks as they only provide empty calories and no other nutritional benefits.

Swap the ingredients

We all prepare delicious sweets and food items at home using refined sugar. However, by just swapping refined sugar with dates, jaggery, or honey we can make our sweets more wholesome and healthier.

Furthermore, we can also switch refined flour with whole wheat flour to make sweets and snacks. “Make sure you completely avoid using Dalda or vanaspati ghee to prepare the snacks,” said Trivedi

If you are craving puris, do not assume they are a healthy option. Instead, choose chapati and paratha options that not only taste good but are filing too. You can also add methi (fenugreek) or pudina (mint) to give a healthy twist to your chapatis.

Keep snacks handy

Carry snack boxes filled with nuts and seeds so that whenever you feel hungry you can trust these to get your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, you can carry your favourite fruit and munch on them whenever you feel hungry. These are the safest and healthy options when it comes to following a diet during the festivities.

Do not forget to exercise

Take out 20-30 minutes to move. During celebrations, you must practice yoga or take a brisk walk every day. It helps burn the excess calories that you have eaten and will maintain your weight and body fat.

“Long-term adherence to these dietary tips will help you maintain your weight, improve health and enjoy festive parties,” said Trivedi.

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