Happy Vishu weekend: Give festival sadya a yummy, healthy makeover

Follow healthy tips to enjoy your Vishu sadya without affecting your fitness journey. Photo: Shutterstock/Aisha Nair

Just like for Onam, sadya aka feast is an integral part of Kerala's Vishu festival. Rich with traditional vegetarian curries, desserts and savouries, the lavish spread is a time-honoured, flavourful cultural tradition. It's also an occasion for family gatherings and community cooking. However, if your priority is to enjoy the sadya without affecting your fitness journey, here's what you can do: 

Use brown rice instead of white
Brown rice's outer bran layer, rich in fibre, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins is better than the polished white rice varieties. It can also satiate your hunger faster and therefore, aid weight management. The nutty flavour of brown rice can also add its own complexity to your sadya. 

Add rainbow vegetables
Incorporate rainbow-coloured veggies in your Vishu dishes like thoran, avial, olan and gravies. You can also add leafy vegetables like multi-coloured spinach varieties to add to the nutrition quotient. Also, add those like red, yellow and green bell peppers, which aren't traditionally used in sadya curries, to add that colour, uniqueness and textures to dishes. 

Portion sizes
Regardless of how nutritious your dishes are, if you don't limit the portion sizes, it won't help you. Make sure that you take just one, small serving of rice, with numerous curries to complement it. Leave enough space in your tummy for a spoonful of desserts too. If you can't compromise on your payasam intake, save it to eat it as an evening meal instead of your tea. Also, savour it all slowly so that your brain gets time to understand when your tummy is full.

Use less oil, added sugars and salt
Opt for healthier cooking methods like steaming, baking and grilling wherever possible, instead of deep-frying. Also, add natural sweeteners to desserts instead of white sugars. Also, flavour your curries with just enough salt rather than adding it excessively to all preparations.  

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