Diwali or Deepawali is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. The festival of lights is celebrated with much fervour in the country. This year, Diwali will fall on October 27 and 28. The festival is all about irresistible sweets. You can, however, ignore the few extra pounds by opting for fat substitutes. Tempted by delicious looking mithai, crispy namkeens and other calorie-rich foods such as desserts, Diwali diet can be an addition to unwanted weight gain. Although they add much more enthusiasm to the festive spirit, they are also a huge contributor to the extra calories. Saturated fats (found in meat and dairy products) and trans fats (in packaged baked goods) also raise blood cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease.
This Diwali, these are some of the substitutions for fats in cooking:
1. Yogurt: Use low-fat yogurt, non-fat half-and-half or evaporated skim milk instead of whole milk or cream versions of those products. Low-fat or non-fat yogurts can add and maintain moisture to baked goods similar to the way fat can. If only conventional yogurt is available, reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients to compensate for the added moisture in the yogurt.
2. Puréed fruits: Fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, applesauce, bananas and prunes are excellent fat substitutes in baking. Many fruits and vegetables contain pectin which acts similarly as fat to “shorten” or tenderize baked items. You can substitute up to 100% of the fat, although this may cause greater changes in the texture and flavor.
3. Monounsaturated fats: Use healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil and corn oil for cooking and baking.
4. Flax seeds: Since the soluble fibre in ground flaxseed absorbs moisture that forms a gel it retains moisture keeping baked goods soft and moist. To use ground flax seed as a fat substitute, add 2/3rd tbsp of ground flax seed plus 1 tbsp of water to every 1 tbsp of fat.
Diwali marks the coming home of Lord Ram along with wife Sita and brother Lakshman to Ayodhya after an exile period of 14 years. On this day, people decorate their homes with earthen lamps or diyas, rangolis and burst crackers.