Weight and food are correlated. In fact, while desserts are the usual culprits, you can gain weight with excess rice, bread or even a salad that has generously dressed seasonings. So how do you indulge your sweet tooth and enjoy the year end festivities? Well, read on to know some tips to avoid weight gain.
The idea is to work on a calorie deficit pattern where you burn the calories in such a way that your intake is lesser than what you burn.
“What you can do is to opt for more dense and non-refined sugars rather than having white refined sugar or castor sugar,” says Pallavi Gupta, partner at Santé Spa Cuisine, a Bangalore-based healthy food restaurant. “Khandsari sugar, coconut sugar and jaggery add a certain earthiness to desserts that are authentic to our roots. Using the right combinations these can enhance flavor and are extremely satiating to the palette.”
Shweta Andrews, owner of Bakes Ahoy, a home bakery in New Delhi that specializes in artisanal baked goods, says, “A banana bread or a banana pancake makes for a great option for a healthy dessert. Cakes made with almond flour taste great, too. Also, home baked desserts are a much better option. Commercially baked goods use saturated fats and other unhealthy preservatives that affect body weight and can lead to obesity.” Incidentally, the U.S. has several bakeries that bake the perfect desserts that have a health twist. The Grain Café in Los Angeles, for one, is a great place to try vegan food.
A low-carbohydrate dessert with all-natural ingredients will seldom cause weight gain. Insulin is an anabolic hormone. If the body needs less insulin to break down food then the food will often not cause weight gain as well.
“Replacing sugar with raisins, dates and anjeer is not the best alternative if one is trying to avoid extra pounds.” says Sarrah Kapasi, founder and CEO at D-Alive Health Pvt. Ltd. “Replacing sugar with lower glycemic index (GI) natural options like coconut sugar (GI 35) and stevia (GI 0) is the best way to do this.”
Combinations Are Key
Sharing some tips to avoid weight gain, Gupta says, “When using jaggery we stick to flavor profiles that are earthy and warm. For example, coconuts, chia seeds, millets and gram flour work very well. With something like Khandsari sugar, fruity flavors work well – berries, oranges, grapefruit, and you have a star dish.”
According to Divya Kotwani, founder, Health Culture With Divya, “Coconut sugar is the healthiest sugar. Like other sugar–free substitutes it does not taste bad. You can use this sugar to make cakes, sweets, and any type of dessert Stevia is a plant-based sugar whose active compounds are steviol glycosides, which have 30 to 150 times the sweetness of sugar.” Coconut sugar is easily available at Walmart, too.
Coconut Protein Balls, Courtesy Health Culture With Divya
- Medjool dates, 2 cups, pitted
- Raw almonds, 1 cup, coarsely powdered
- Protein powder, 1/2 cup (vegan protein)
- Unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 cup
- Unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup
- Flax seeds, 1/4 cup
- Sea salt, 1/2 tsp
- Combine protein powder and almonds.
- Combine the mix with all the ingredients in a food processor, blending the mixture until it is sticky.
- Using a cookie scoop, roll scoops into smooth balls. Roll them over the remaining coconut and sprinkle the ground almonds on them. Serve or store in the refrigerator. You can store them in an airtight container for two weeks.
Tips from Nabanita Saha, chief clinical dietician at Nutrition & Dietetics, Bengaluru
- Choose a smaller portion size when it comes to pick your favorite dessert.
- Go for light exercise or a walk after your dessert.
- Have a light meal or a healthy snack like a bowl of salad, which are rich in fiber, before your dessert.
- Use healthier alternatives – skim milk rather than whole milk, jaggery or honey instead of white refined sugar, and fruits for toppings.
Tips to Beat the Sugar Rush
- Consume apple cider vinegar with lukewarm water on an empty stomach in the morning to reduce your cravings for sweet, especially during the holidays.
- Black coffee will speed up digestion and help you remove fat from your body.
- Holidays cannot stop you from working out.