Millions of people around the world will be celebrating Diwali. It’s a time for families to come together, celebrate the triumph of good over evil and enjoy lots of different foods, both sweet and savoury. We know that diabetes and cardiovascular disease is a common health problem in the South Asian population when compared to other cultural groups. During this festive period it is therefore important to remember whilst all these sweet and savoury temptations are there, being mindful of your sugar and salt intake is crucial. To support you through this festive period here are our top ten tips:
- If you can, prepare your Diwali food at home – life can get busy and it is convenient to pop into your local store and buy your favourite Indian treats. So if you were inspired by the Great British Bake Off why not take the challenge and make your own sweets this year. The advantage of cooking at home is that you can control the amount of sugar, oil and ghee you use!
- Control your portion size – it is very easy to fill a plate when there are so many colourful food varieties available. Portion size is important in diabetes to help you monitor carbohydrate intake which affects your blood sugar levels. Stop and think about taking smaller amounts in your plate.
- It’s ok to say ‘No’ – as Diwali is a time for families to get together there will always be the over caring and persistent family member insisting you eat everything and in large quantities! Remember it is ok to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty.
- Remember to monitor your blood sugars – it can be quite easy to get distracted with the festivities around you, give yourself a reminder to check your blood sugars. For example this could simply be a reminder on your mobile phone or a post-it note on the fridge.
- Remember sugar is not only in food! – you may be enjoying more than usual cups of Chai, fizzy drinks and fruit juices with your festive food, so be sensible and balance your intake of sugar from your food AND drink.
- Take medication as directed and prescribed – although your daily routine may be disrupted because of the celebrations, stick to your routine of taking any medication and/or insulin. This may need more effort in setting reminders and planning ahead if you are going to be away from home.
- Don’t overindulge – regular set meals are important but can be challenging when you are socialising around food all day long. So try and plan your meals in advance.
- Don’t forget your exercise – when you are celebrating with friends and family it can be easy to put exercise at the bottom of the list. Try and continue with any physical activities, even small amounts are better than nothing. For example, why not take a walk after your meals, and invite your friends or family to do the same.
- Brush and floss properly – higher blood sugar levels also means a higher level of glucose in saliva which can lead to a greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease. So be smart with your dental care and brush and floss regularly and thoroughly!
- Finally, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! – Follow the tips above, and enjoy the festival of light with your friends and family.
Wishing all our readers a Happy Diwali