Celebrate Raksha Bandhan with nourishing sweets: Top guilt-free sweet choices | Health - Hindustan Times
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Celebrate Raksha Bandhan with nourishing sweets: Fitness experts reveal top guilt-free sweet choices

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Aug 30, 2023 04:13 PM IST

This Raksha Bandhan, let us prioritise health without skimping on the festive spirit. Here are some nourishing dessert alternatives

Raksha Bandhan is an iconic Indian festival celebrating the bond between siblings but the celebrations often tempts us with traditional sweets, promoting blood sugar as excessive consumption of sweets commonly contributes to elevated blood sugar levels and heightens the risk for diabetics. In non-diabetics, it can lead to insulin resistance and not to mention, consuming more sweets can also contribute to weight gain, heart disease and dental issues thus, this year, let us prioritise health without skimping on the festive spirit.

Celebrate Raksha Bandhan with nourishing sweets: Fitness experts reveal top guilt-free sweet choices (Pexels)
Celebrate Raksha Bandhan with nourishing sweets: Fitness experts reveal top guilt-free sweet choices (Pexels)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Ushakiran Sisodia, Registered Dietician and Clinical Nutritionist at Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital in Mumbai, suggested 5 scientifically-backed, nourishing dessert alternatives -

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1. Besan Ladoo with Jaggery: Trading refined sugar for jaggery in besan ladoos is a wise choice. Jaggery, apart from offering a distinct rich flavor, is packed with essential minerals. Unlike white sugar which can lead to rapid blood sugar spikes, jaggery has a lower glycemic index, causing gradual absorption and less strain on the pancreas.

2. Dry Fruit Kheer: An updated, healthy take on the age-old Kheer involves reducing sugar and adding almonds, walnuts, and figs. Almonds are known for vitamin E, walnuts for their Omega-3 fatty acids, and figs for their abundant fiber, promoting digestive health and sustained energy.

3. Dates and Nuts Barfi: Dates are nature's candy and offer sweetness with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Paired with protein-rich nuts, this barfi serves as an energy booster, offering sustained energy release and aiding muscle health.

4. Oats and Coconut Ladoo: Adding oats, a revered source of beta-glucans, aids in cholesterol management and digestive health. Coconut, on the other hand, provides medium-chain triglycerides - known to promote heart health. You can choose between honey or jaggery for sweetness.

5. Ragi Malpua with Honey Drizzle: Ragi is a super grain, filled with calcium which is essential for bone health, and dietary fiber for optimal gut function. Choosing honey, rich in antioxidants, over syrupy sugar or chashni which can combat inflammation and support overall health.

Asserting that desserts are a main part of any Indian festival and Raksha Bhandhan is always a special festival, Aarti Karnawat, Consulting Dietician, Yog Therapist and Naturo Therapist at Nutricare in Mumbai, recommended 5 dessert options that can be enjoyed without having any second thoughts about weight gain as these desserts are not only delicious but also healthy alternatives. They are made with nutritious ingredients such as fruits, nuts, and whole grains, ensuring that you can indulge guilt-free during Rakshabandhan -

1. Rice kheer, made with dry fruits, coconut milk and jaggery. Here, we're utilising coconut milk, which is high in protein, healthy fat, iron, and magnesium. Good for the heart and hair. Jaggery is a superior choice to sugar and is also rich in iron. This delicious kheer is full of all the essential nutrients, tastes great, and is a heart-healthy snack that one can enjoy without feeling guilty about gaining weight.

2. Nutri bars are a tasty, healthy option that contain only healthy components (cashews, almonds, walnuts, dates and figs) The recipe's sweetener will consist of date and fig pulp that has been soaked. Dry fruits would be chopped into small pieces and combined with date and fig juice. A nutri bar can be garnished with a variety of healthy seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower and flaxseeds, to make one that is high in protein, omega fatty acids, and micronutrients.

3. Ice cream made of milk powder, almonds, dates, honey and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate, which is anti-aging and high in micronutrients and has a low glycemic index, is a better option than sugar. Iron and fiber are abundant in dates. Honey has a low glycemic index again. For any occasion, this ice cream is the best dessert.

4. Mixed fruit salad - Fresh fruit paired with nuts, seeds, muesli, and honey. This dish has a delicious, natural flavor that one can enjoy without feeling guilty. All the beneficial nutrients found in different fruits, including high levels of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It is extremely rich in protein, fiber, and micronutrients with OMEGA thanks to the nuts and mixed seeds. Honey, a naturally occurring sweetener with a high antioxidant content, makes the best dessert.

5. Date cake - Jaggery, wheat flour, ghee, curd, and nuts. Each component is beneficial to health. Iron, protein, calcium, zinc, and magnesium are all abundant in this cake. It will still be more nutrient-dense because to the fiber and omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts. This cake is yet another guilt-free treat to savor throughout the festive season.

Satyajjit Hange, Co-Founder and Farmer at Two Brothers Organic Farm, opined, “On this Raksha Bandhan, let's transform our celebrations by making thoughtful choices that prioritise both taste and well-being. By moving away from sugary mithai and chocolates filled with artificial enhancements, embrace the sattvic laddoos made from indigenous ingredients like sattu, gondh, sesame seeds and dry fruits, naturally sweetened with jaggery, mishri and dates, with this, we can create a healthier festive experience that delights the taste buds while nourishing the body.”

He advised, “The refined Desi Gulab Pink Rose Gulkand can be utilised as a natural sweetener bringing together a blend of flavours and wholesome advantages that go beyond typical sugary options, exploring the array of natural nutri and minibars provides a versatile assortment to elevate our celebrations. In place of carbonated drinks, consider the traditional charm of Desi Thandai to satisfy thirst and elevate the festive spirit. By intertwining heritage and well-being in this Rakshabandhan, we can infuse each moment with joy and fortify our meaningful connections. Embrace smart choices, celebrate wholeheartedly, and let a sense of sweetness resonate across all aspects of this special occasion.”

Akash Sharma, Co-Founder of Farmley, concluded, “Celebrations should be both joyful and nourishing, just like the blend of shared memories and playful companionship. This occasion is a reminder of the support, love and camaraderie that siblings offer each other - packed with the goodness of just 6 ingredients - Pista, Almonds, Dates, Cashews, Honey and Ghee. Dates Bites have no added sugar and are a perfect guilt-free indulgence that your sibling will truly appreciate. As you exchange sincere wishes and knot the sacred thread, Date Bites would bring forth an exquisite fusion of flavors that harmonise seamlessly, much like the beautiful connection you share with your sibling. These delicacies not only showcase your affection but also provide a healthier alternative to traditional sweets, making your Raksha Bandhan celebrations both meaningful and delightful.”

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