Onam festivities are incomplete without the sumptuous Onasadhya (Onam feast). But many, especially the elderly, are health conscious and wary of savouring each and every dish.
Don’t worry. Nothing stops you from enjoying the feast to the fullest if you bring about these small changes while preparing the grand feast. But limit the luxury to lunch and have a simple diet for dinner.
The first thing you should remind yourself is to make the most of the festival by keeping your sugar levels in check. Prepare pudding and all by substituting sugar with coconut jaggery or palm sugar candy. Here is a list of dos and don’ts that you can actively consider sticking to during the festival days:
- You can avoid pappad and banana served as side dishes. Instead, you can try Apple pudding for a change.
- While preparing avail, use more of white gourd, cucumber, carrot and the like and less of items like yam and potato. Upon preparing the curry, take five to six drops of coconut oil, mix the curry leaves ground with your hand, and spread over it.
- While making parippu curry, use as little coconut as possible, but more of small onion. The taste will only get better.
- If the curd used in preparing pachadi is made at home through fermentation the previous day, then you can relish the curry as much as you want.
- Thoran can be prepared out of plantain blossoms or stems. These are now available in plenty in vegetable shops.
- Pappad can be roasted rather than fried in oil. If placed on the phulka grill frame of the gas stove, it can be roasted well. But you are advised to have only one small pappad.
- Ensure the use of pumpkin to prepare curries such as erissery and pachadi. It contains a lot of Vitamin B, which provides strength to nerves. The pumpkin seeds are a rich course of calcium and are good for bones and teeth. Even the pumpkin peel can be consumed, which is good for proper digestion and cleansing of the stomach. You can also make a pudding using pumpkin.
- Don’t exclude brinjal either. It’s good for preventing bone osteoarthritis. It helps in the further strengthening of muscles and joints. Brinjal is also a medicine for kidney-related diseases. It’s the main ingredient in sambar. It can also be used to prepare thoran.
- Though not a usual dish, green peas can be used instead of peas. The benefit is that it can be consumed even by those suffering from high blood pressure. The pea seeds are rich in proteins. If consumed along with rice, green peas help in reducing the assimilation of carbohydrates.
- Gooseberry is ideal for making pickles. Even if there is not sufficient oil in pickles, the taste will be more or less the same.
The total calories one will get by consuming Onasadya is normally around 1900 kilos. If you follow the tips, you can limit the calories to 1500-1600 kilos.
Four chips (banana) – 50 kilo calories
Four jaggery-coated chips – 100-kilo calories
One banana (Njalipoovan/Palayamkodan) – 50 kilo calories
Three tablespoons Thoran (like cabbage) – 70 kilo calories
One tablespoon ginger curry (injicurry) – 70 kilo calories
One teaspoon pickle (lemon/mango) – 20 kilo calories
One tablespoon pachadi – 60 kilo calories
Two tablespoons of kichadi – 50 kilo calories
Two tablespoons of kootucurry – 100-kilo calories
One cup of avial – 150 kilo calories
Two tablespoons of olan – 80 kilo calories
1 ½ cups of rice (Matta) – 260 kilo calories
One cup dal – 60 kilo calories
One teaspoon ghee – 45 kilo calories
Two pappads – 120-kilo calories
One cup sambar – 60 kilo calories
½ cup Kalan – 40 kilo calories
One cup rasam – 30 kilo calories
One cup milk pudding – 200 kilo calories
One cup Jaggery pudding – 220 kilo calories
One cup buttermilk – 35 kilo calories
Total 1870 kilo calories.