Isn’t it annoying when you have finally gotten over the million and one things in life and started building up a healthier lifestyle – but you keep failing?

When I started eating healthy, the biggest problem I faced was that I had to attend a lot of Desi dinners and parties. Now you cannot go to dinner and eat very little. It’ll take just a moment for the host to be offended. Or for you to lose self-control and just eat all the delicious nihari with roghni naan.

You can’t be a hermit either and stay home.

Over the years, I have come up with tips and tricks that I use to help me stick to my eating habits and still go to all these events.

1. Try hard at sticking to portion control. It’s possible, I promise!

A blonde haired woman wearing a bright Pink jacket is eating and saying; 'Such huge portions."
[Image description: A blonde haired woman wearing a bright pink jacket is eating and saying; ‘Such huge portions.”] Via Giphy
I learned this the hard way. You can’t escape food or expect to find some avocado toast at a Desi brunch. So – learn to take what you can eat, instead of eating what you can take.

2. Drink your body weight in water.

A woman with dark hair is chugging water from a huge plastic bottle.
[Image description: A woman with dark hair is chugging water from a huge plastic bottle.] Via Giphy
On the days that you drink enough water and, in turn, complete your steps going to the loo, you will feel less tempted to go back for a fourth serving of curry.

3. Mentally make up your mind on what to eat – before you get there.

A Pink colored cartoon brain runs on the treadmill.
[Image description: a Pink colored cartoon brain runs on the treadmill.] Via Giphy
As a Desi, I know the run of the mill that is served at weddings. You have your karahis, BBQ, biryani, salad, etc. When you know your options, it’s a good thing to mentally think of what you should eat.

4. Stay in tune with what your body is telling you.

A man adjusts his huge square frame glasses with his index finger.
[Image description: A man adjusts his huge square frame glasses with his index finger.] Via Giphy
This is for the days your Grandma is hosting and you want to eat that palak paneer. Try intermittent fasting till 12, then eat a fruit salad or have a smoothie. Then have a snack before leaving for the dinner, giving you the chance to save yourself for the joy that is butter chicken.

5. Eat salad and protein – if you can find it.

Kourtney Kardashian is eating a salad with a fork.
[Image description: Kourtney Kardashian is eating a salad with a fork.] Via Giphy
When you are in a pinch and can’t say no to the hostess, then stick to eating protein and salad. You could eat biryani but have less rice. Add some BBQ to it. Ya know, get creative!

6. Say no to fried food – even if your aunty is staring you down!

Lion King character Timon is making a face and saying "Nope".
[Image description: Lion King character Timon is making a face and saying “Nope”.] Via Giphy
Fried food is your nemesis. Avoid it at all costs. It’s like the big bad wolf that will take up all your energy, and it will leave you feeling off when you go to grab some ice cream. Of course, if you prefer samosas over mint chocolate chip, then I won’t stand in your way!

7. Take it slow and steady.

A man wearing a suit is walking slowly.
[Image description: A man wearing a suit is walking slowly.] Via Giphy
Try not to be the first one at the buffet table. Go in last if you can. Add in the vegetables first, leaving less room for nihari. And eat slowly. Chances are that you will get done with everyone else.

Plus, if you’re done eating before everyone else, the host is more likely to notice you – and that means you’ll be the first victim to the “just have some more!” as they spoon biryani on your plate. Believe me, you will not be thanking your Khala ki Nand at the gym the next morning.

8. Eat a little beforehand.

Ratatouille, a mouse, is eating Cheese and Strawberry
[Image description: Ratatouille, a mouse, is eating Cheese and Strawberry.] Via Giphy
When everything else fails, stick to the tried and tested. Eat an apple or an energy bar before leaving for the wedding reception.

Eating healthy should be a lifestyle. So try and incorporate it in the life you live by making small changes. Don’t be tempted by all these fad diets and plans that are going around. And don’t shy away from eating the foods you love. Everything works if it’s in moderation.
Sumaica Asad

By Sumaica Asad

Editorial Fellow

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