Christmas brings in festivities, jingles and of course, lots of food. It is an occassion for families to come together and spend quality time together, putting an end to the past year and stepping into a new one. However challenging the past year may have been, etched in history and our memories forever, 2020 will still be the year that taught us a lot, and also, helped us unlearn a lot. Speaking on the same lines, we speak to Soha Ali Khan about how to change the way we snack or consume healthy food in the coming year—considering health is of utmost priority. Khan sheds light on some very interesting snacking alternatives that includes almonds, methi and many more. If you wish to spend your Christmas and New Year's Eve as healthily as Khan intends to, you have come to the right place!
Excerpts from the interview...
1. What memories does Christmas bring you?
Soha Ali Khan: Christmas is all about friends, family get-togethers, sharing, and making new memories. However, with the pandemic, we will follow social distancing and may only visit my brother and his family for a quick get-together. I’ll surely miss the celebration with our families together but I’m grateful to be connected with them virtually, knowing they are safe and well.
2. How have the celebrations changed over the years at the Khan-Kemmu household?
SAK: Over the years, Inaaya’s friends have come over for Christmas celebrations and it is lovely to see them getting excited over the festivities. We decorate the Christmas tree and write our letters along with wrapping our presents to keep them under the tree. The festivities are about spreading joy, love, and being helpful to others. That’s how we also teach our kids to be grateful and make the most of the celebrations.
3. Feasts are a huge part of any festivities. How do you think one can incorporate healthy eating during festivals?
SAK: One cannot do without feasts on festivals and that when the cheat day is in action, but I don't let myself get carried away too. I am a strong believer in following a healthy routine even on festive days. I start my days by drinking some Methi water or lemon water along with a handful of almonds. Feasts can mean excessive amounts of sugar and cholesterol, which is why I replace sugar with jaggery. Jaggery is said to help boost the body's metabolism and may help in burning fat too.
Speaking of healthy food alternatives, I ensure including almonds to my festive spread, I prepare a variety of bowls of spiced or flavoured almonds in advance to snack on throughout the day. Almonds are said to be the source of 15 nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc, etc. They have satiating properties that promote feelings of fullness, which further helps keep the hunger at bay. Additionally, I also try to reduce the amount of conventional sweet dishes with a plate of fruits or berries because they are a healthier choice and also they help to curb your sugar cravings without adding more calories.
4. What is your favourite Christmas snack?
SAK: There’s not a favourite snack but having a sweet-tooth becomes difficult to avoid sweets during the holidays. So, I ensure that I complement and make sweets with almonds in them as they are said to help lower the blood sugar impact of carbohydrate foods that they are eaten with, which affects fasting insulin levels. Additionally, I avoid fried snacks and opts for sprouts, hummus, roasted or salted almonds, fruits, or sunflower seeds.
5. Take us through your menu plan for this year's Christmas
SAK: But this year, there's no such menu designed out owing to social distancing and staying safe. So, it will be just us close family members coming together to spend some quality time. However, I like planning my meals so that I can make healthy choices. Mostly you will be seeing us munching on some fruits or almonds and sharing stories.
This year will surely be different from the previous years and we are aiming to keep it minimal like snack platters including roasted or spiced almonds and fruit platter. Meals will include foods that are high in proteins and fiber as being a mother, it is important to look out for the food that my daughter intakes.
6. What alternatives do you think one can resort to, in place of high-sugar sweets?
SAK: For starters, I replace sugar with jaggery as sugar is a refined product whereas jaggery is more natural and less processed. My mother ensured instilling a sense of consciousness in me and my brother as kids, and now being a mother, I am walking in her footsteps. It is important to set an example for your growing daughter and following a healthy diet. My mornings start with drinking Methi water instead of coffee or tea. Along with it, I ensure including healthy options such as dark chocolate, or almonds as they are said to reduce the blood sugar level impact of carbohydrate foods that they’re eaten with.
7. Lastly, what is SAK's New Year snacking resolution for 2021?
SAK: 2021 is the year of new beginnings, new decisions, and a new decade. 2020 had been a challenging year but it was commendable to see how everyone turned the tables by adopting healthy habits. I always tried to keep my resolutions to smaller and more achievable resolutions, so I can work through the year to achieve that especially with a daughter growing up, observing, and learning everything.
I aim to set an example for her by living a healthy lifestyle, practicing mindful eating, and to be fit. Fitness for me is not only confined physically but mental health is also equally important. Replacing unwholesome foods with wholesome snacking options like fruits that are rich in nutrients, nuts like almonds, opting for meals that are high in proteins to maintain my muscle mass, and complementing it with physical fitness.
Also Read: Post-Festive Detox: Foods to Consume To Keep Diabetes At Bay
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