Everyone knows about Lord Ganesha's love for food. It is believed that he is especially fond of sweets, which is why devotees offer a wide spread of sweets to him as ‘prasadam’ during Ganesh Chaturthi. But the word 'sweets' also fills people with concerns about health, which is not unfounded, because many of our traditional sweets are rich in calories and sugar content.
To make this year’s Ganapati festival healthier, we have collated healthier variations of some of your favourite traditional Ganapati treats.
The traditional rice kheer, a popular Ganapati treat, can be made healthier by adding apple slices, which results in a creamy dish, with a combination of sweetness and sourness. Apart from adding taste, apples are also rich in antioxidants, and help lower cholesterol. They are also a good source of fibre and vitamin C. Apples also contain polyphenols, which may have numerous health benefits like helping in weight loss and keeping the heart healthy. They are also a great option for diabetics.
The apples are grated and cooked and then mixed with milk. Instead of sugar, any natural sweetener can be added as a healthier alternative to sweeten the kheer. Almonds and cardamom powder are added as the last step to make this delicious dessert more flavourful.
Basundi is a charming sweet dish made of thickened and flavoured milk, especially popular in Maharashtra and Gujarat during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi. The milk is cooked on low flame, until it thickens. It is then flavoured with nutmeg powder, cashew nuts, cardamom powder, and saffron strands are added as toppings. To make this healthier, a purée of apricots can be used to sweeten it, instead of sugar. Apricots are low in calories and fat. They are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C. In moderate quantities, sugar-free Basundi is good for health, especially bone health, as it is rich in milk, which provides a healthy dose of calcium, protein, and vitamin D.
Coconut barfi is a popular Indian dessert offered as prasadam during Ganapati Festival. While the coconut in the dish contains good fats and helps boost metabolism, dates and almonds can be used to make a healthier version of the traditional sweet. Dates contain several vitamins and minerals like potassium, copper, magnesium, in addition to fibre. Almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, fibre, protein and various important nutrients like Vitamin E, manganese and magnesium.
Make a puree of dates and milk, add almond powder to it to make the dough. After this cools, add finely grated coconut. Let this mixture set and cool down in a rectangular mould. Cut this mixture into pieces of delicious and wholesome coconut barfi.
Puran Poli is a sweet and nutritious flatbread that is popularly enjoyed during many festivals. It is like a sweet paratha, made with a filling of sweetened chana dal, jaggery, and ghee. For a healthier version, whole wheat flour can be instead of maida to make the dough. The main ingredient, chana dal, in this dish is a rich source of protein. For a higher nutritional intake, Tata Sampann’s 100% unpolished Chana Dal can be used.
Sheera is an Indian dessert which is popularly offered as prasadam during the Ganesha festival. It is a comforting dish, made with semolina or rawa, which is packed with the goodness of protein, vitamin B, magnesium, and riboflavin, etc. Rawa is roasted until it turns thick and aromatic. To this, jaggery syrup can be added instead of sugar syrup to make a healthy Ganapati treat. To amp up the flavour, you can add cardamom powder to the sheera while making it.
Now that you’re armed with knowledge about how to have a guilt-free Ganapati, do tell us which healthy delicacy you would be trying out at home this festive season!
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