Health Matters, So Does Diwali- Learn Hacks To Cut Down On Calories

By Shantanu Sodhi +2 more

In India, the mention of festivals remains incomplete without Diwali. Diwali is one of the most treasured festivals and celebrates the eternal fight between good and evil. It celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of knowledge over ignorance. That is why people place diyas, candles and lamps in various corners of their houses to welcome positivity. Another very important facet of Diwali is the celebration of good food and sweets! 

For calorie-conscious and fitness enthusiasts, the time of Diwali can prove to be quite the battle between restraint and temptation. So this Diwali how can you win the fight of health over empty calorie consumption?

Tendency to binge on oily and sugary foods

If you are prone to giving into oily and sugary foods, Diwali and all the delectables that are prepared during this time can amount to the feeling of a kid in a candy store. From samosa, nimkis, murukku, kebabs, kachoris, barfi, Gulab Jamun, kheer, soan papdi, laddoos, kalakand and various types of halwa, every item is made with love and a whole lot of ghee and/or sugar syrup!

How this might affect your health

Diwali doesn’t just upset your weight loss plans but unhealthy consumption of sweets and deep-fried snacks could usher in a horde of other problems. Some of these are:

  1. Weight Loss Goes for a Toss: Not only do weight loss goals go for a toss but you will be gaining kilos that you will find extremely difficult to shed. Consuming even a few sweets at a stretch can mean months of hard work gone to waste as most of these snacks (both sweet and savoury) are packed with lots of sugar, butter, oil, and refined flour that are strictly off-limits for people on a diet.  
  2. Detrimental for Diabetics: People at risk of diabetes due to family history or diagnosed with it are at an increased risk of a sudden blood sugar spike due to unmonitored sweet consumption. Those who are diabetic and are also born with a sweet tooth find it extremely difficult to keep their hands off the sweets at home. Diwali is a mentally taxing time for diabetic patients.
  3. Terrible for Your Teeth: Consuming excess quantities of sweets can be really bad for your teeth.
  4. Disrupts Your Sleep: Having too much sugary or fried food at night especially, after dinner, over-stimulates you making it increasingly difficult to fall asleep at night. As per a study conducted in 2016, those who consumed sugary food items at night were found to be restless and reported poor sleep quality. When you do not get a good night’s rest you tend to crave more sugary items the next day, thus the vicious cycle will keep on continuing throughout your Diwali celebration, making it increasingly difficult to just stop at one sweet.  

Hacks to Cut Down on Calories

Although you may not be able to run away from indulging in festive cheer altogether there are certainly a few hacks by adopting which you can lessen the impacts.

  1. Drink Water
    It is a known fact for those trying to lose weight that drinking water often and especially before your meals prevents you from overeating. Drinking water at regular intervals makes you feel full. Additionally, festivities call for a lot of running around. You need to stay hydrated at all times so that you feel energized and do not fall sick from dehydration.
  2. Drink Less Chai and Coffee
    Steer clear of milk tea and milk coffee, though the temptations might be really high. As per tests, an average cup of Indian milk tea with sugar contains around 40 calories. Restrict yourself to just one cup if you have to and choose healthy drink options such as nimboo paani (salty), plain lassi and kokum sharbat in its place. You don’t want to add an extra dose of sugar to your system during Diwali.
  3. Choose Nuts Instead
    A traditional Diwali platter across Indian households comprises mithai, namkeen and dry fruits. When offered a bite make sure to grab a handful of the dry fruits as they are rich in minerals and nutrients and also keep you feeling full for longer.
  4. Protein Power
    Protein is a vital food component for all. It is not only essential for those looking to shed kilos but also for those who are aspiring to gain weight (muscle). Protein contains amino acids that are necessary for muscle repair and growth and also to make various other enzymes and hormones. So, this Diwali, add a whole lot of protein to your plate and diet in the form of Tandoori kebabs, roasted chana, grilled paneer preparations. You can also enjoy Dahi kebabs and Dahi vadas because milk is a good source of calcium and protein essential for bone development.
  5. Take Note of Portion Control
    Learning the science of portion control can do wonders when you are trying to watch your weight. Restrict yourself to one small serving of whatever food you are offered. If you find saying no a bit challenging you can try an effective hack; always get the smallest plate for yourself from the kitchen or dining area. When you do this you trick your mind into eating less. This optical illusion is known by the name of Delboeuf Illusion and is highly effective for weight loss.  

Foods to Avoid Totally

During Diwali, there are some food items like dry fruits and kebabs that will not make you go on a guilt trip ride. However, there are a few that you should totally avoid or just restrict yourself to one helping if you are insistent upon incessantly.

  • Deep-fried snacks such as pooris and bhajis
  • Pre-packed meals
  • Sweets and snacks made from refined flour
  • Cold drinks or other high-calorie beverages

When making savoury snacks at home consider adding items to your Diwali menu that can be roasted/ baked in the oven or cooked in the air fryer to minimize health damage. You can also use skimmed milk for sweets (that require milk as the key ingredient such as Kalakand and halwas) instead of fattening full cream milk. 


Diwali or any festival is the time when you get to spend time with your friends and family and forget all about your worries. But letting your hair down completely and getting swayed by the infectious festive mood will do you more harm than good. Keeping healthy living as the main goal, modify your Diwali celebrations so that you can optimize your fun minus damage to your overall well being. This festive season, win the fight against guilty indulgence!

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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