Holi marks the arrival of a season of hope, myriad colours and good harvests and is one of the most revered festivals of India. Holi also means a mix of family get-together and visits, which means bringing on unhealthy snacks and sweets that in the long run can have a significant impact on one’s health.
During the festivities, it’s easy to let go and lose track of one’s food intake, and overindulge in sweets and comfort food. This year, let’s replace unwholesome or calorie laden food with almonds and plan for a healthier Holi.
Whether it’s within the gifts we share with friends or family, or festive recipes, or the snacks we serve as a part of the celebrations – almonds are nutritious and healthy, and can easily be incorporated in the Holi festivities.
Leading Bollywood actress Soha Ali Khan said, “Holi is a great occasion to spend quality time with your friends and family. It is also a time when a lot of us indulge in sweets. As someone who’s very health conscious, I personally believe in offering almonds instead of sweets as they are a healthy choice. The benefits of daily consumption of almonds is also proven by years of global research which showcase the positive impact they have on type 2 diabetes, heart health and weight management.”
According to Fitness enthusiast and Supermodel, Milind Soman, “Holi, for a lot of people, is a power packed festival – there’s dance, lots of family visits, and let’s not forget the vibrant colours and pichkari play. During Holi, we certainly need to keep our energy levels at their optimal best and a great way to do this is by keeping a handful of almonds nearby. Almonds provide energy, and you can easily snack on them when hunger strikes to ensure you are energized, in the right way, to take on the festivities.”
Being a quintessential Indian festival, Holi is that time when people indulge in music and an array of traditional food. With festivities abuzz and many get-together, it is also important to be mindful of your health and diet.
Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, Ritika Samaddar said, “During Holi, a lot of us tend to overindulge in fried sweets and snacks such as gujiyas, kachori or chakli etc. While these traditional foods are delicious, they also end up adding to our calorie intake causing unwanted weight gain. One easy way to avoid this by opting for healthier snacks like almonds. When guests visit, serve them roasted, or lightly salted almonds to enjoy a healthier Holi.”
According to Madhuri Ruia, Pilates Expert and Diet & Nutrition Consultant, “I highly recommend sharing nuts like almonds as gifts during festivals and special occasions. The advantages of doing this are twofold. One, they serve as a delicious snack, and two, the gesture itself is representative of the giver’s interest in the receiver’s health, as almonds contain several nutrients required for a healthy life.”
Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant added, “After playing Holi for hours, it’s natural for people to work up an appetite. At this point, many tend to reach out for unwholesome snacks, to satisfy the hunger. To counter this, I suggest keeping dried fruits or nuts like almonds handy.
Replacing highly processed snacks with almonds will not only keep you satiated through the festivities, but will also aid with your overall health.”
So, this Holi, gift your loved ones the blessings of almonds to spread joy and good health! Here’s a recipe of Almond and Holy Basil Thandai to add to your Holi celebrations!
ALMOND & HOLY BASIL THANDAI
Serves: 3 – 4 people (approx. 200ml each)
Soaked Almonds, skin removed 2 tbsp
Soaked melon seeds 2 tbsp
Soaked poppy seeds 1 tbsp
Almond slivers ½ cup
Sugar ¼ cup
Saffron strands a pinch
Fresh holy basil leaves 4 no.
Milk 2 cup
Green cardamom powder ½ tbsp
Black Peppercorns 1/2 tsp
Soaked Fennel seeds ¼ cup
- Make a smooth paste of fennel seeds, poppy seeds, and almonds.
- In a heavy bottom pan, bring the milk and saffron strands to boil. Dissolve the sugar in the milk.
- Grind the fresh holy basil leaves and black peppercorns to a paste and add it to the milk.
- Add the almond, poppy seed and fennel seed paste along with cardamom powder and almond slivers to the milk and simmer it for 2-3 minutes.
- Refrigerate the thandai.
Almonds from California are a natural, wholesome and quality food. The Almond Board of California promotes almonds through its research-based approach to all aspects of marketing, farming and production on behalf of the more than 6,800 almond growers and processors in California, many of which are multi-generational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture.