Globally, hospitality is an expression of warmth, affection and respect. And more so in India, which believes that atithi devo bhavah (guest is god). From this stems the Indian approach of graciousness towards guests in all social situations.
Interestingly, people from the Land of Hospitality, the Pakhtun (south-central Asia), predominant in all provinces of Afghanistan, start their ancient code of ethics with hospitality, also referred to as ‘milmastiya’. It appears to have originated with providing refuge to guests.
In India, it is often believed that the more you serve and feed your, the better host you are. However, in the current environment of abundance and excesses, this takes a tricky turn, especially when it comes to those trying to follow a disciplined diet, or a special regime to meet specific health needs.
In a society where saying ‘no’ to hospitality is considered offensive, here are a few tips to not get derailed during the festival season.
Plan your days in advance with respect to food. Depending on the occasion, decide on when you would like to eat your better meal. Save up calories for that time, ideally in the earlier part of the day. Stick to vegetables, fruits, low-fat milk and yoghurt, soups, salads, eggs or lean meats during the other meals.
Evening is the time when hunger strikes the hardest and self control is at its weakest. Make evening snack time your meal time. For those at home, this should be a simple solution, but those who cannot because of work constraints, eating healthy snacks only requires a bit of planning ahead. Break up the meal and divide calories — between office and home would help prevent loading up calories late at night. Grains or cereals before 8 pm and vegetables, soups, salad, pulses, nuts, cheese, yoghurt and lean meats, later.
In case, you are likely to eat late in the evening, reduce or avoid grains or cereals. Ideally, move away from the dessert counter and skip desserts. If you must, just take a bite or share it with somebody.
Celebrations, festivals and weddings also involve shopping, ensure you carry the right snacks and have the right options to avoid giving into unhealthy food.
Balance by allowing yourself two-three grain- or cereal-free days a week. Step up a serving or two of fruits or low-fat dairy on these days.
Also, beware of sugars in sweets and drinks. Instead, celebrate with