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Plan your meals to enjoy treats at Diwali, advises Diabetes UK

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If you are planning on celebrating Diwali and live with diabetes you can still enjoy sweet treats but in moderation, says Diabetes UK.

Diwali is held on Sunday 30 October this year, and with traditional festival foods often being high in fat and sugar it is important that you think carefully about how to approach it. If you are living with diabetes you don’t have to miss out if you plan your day’s meals in advance and use moderation in what you eat.

South Asian people are two to four times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes which means lots of people with the condition are joining in Diwali festivities.

Dr Sejal Saglani, from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a Hindu temple based in Neasden, said: “Diwali is a very special festival for millions of people all over the world, and food is often a vital part of the celebrations – but we know that many people will be thinking about how to balance having a good time with doing the right things to manage their health. Whether or not you are living with diabetes, we can all do with considering what we are going to eat and serve to make sure we have as happy and healthy a Diwali as possible.”

Barfi and mithai

Krishna Sarda, Engaging Communities Manager at Diabetes UK, said: “Foods like barfi and mithai typically contain high fat and sugar levels, and fried foods such as pakoras and samosas are high in fat and calories. It is worth planning in advance how you will prepare the festival foods and how much you will eat.

"Throughout the day, it’s best to eat healthier foods such as fruit and vegetables, wholegrain basmati rice, chickpeas and dhal. These types of foods can help keep your blood glucose levels more stable during the celebrations, but keep an eye on your portions.

“You can also make some small changes to make traditional recipes healthier, such as using vegetable oil instead of ghee, using spices and herbs to replace some of the salt, and by replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners.

"The other important thing to remember is to stay active, as this will help you to manage your blood glucose levels. If you have a blood testing monitor, don’t forget to test your blood glucose levels more during the festivities to make sure they don’t get too high. One or two high blood glucose readings should not affect long-term diabetes control, but people should aim to avoid persistently high readings. Speak with a healthcare professional about the healthiest approach to the festival for you.”

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