Lord Ganesha, or Ganpati, the much-beloved God with an elephant head, is worshipped across India. Lord Ganesha is known as a bearer of fortune and a remover of barriers. He is a symbol of wisdom and prosperity. Ganesha’s elephant head’s origin story has various interpretations. The most well-known version is that his mother Parvati gave him a new head—that of an elephant—after he lost it during a fight with his father, Shiva, or his uncle, Shani. Shiva ruled that one must worship Ganesha before any puja because he wanted him to have a special status.
Ganesha Chaturthi, a 10-day festival, is celebrated between August and September. This festival begins with the welcome of Lord Ganesh in our homes and ends with a visarjan that overwhelms the hosts with a feeling of sadness. Ganesha’s lovable and relatable personality may be the reason he is so close to most of us. Thus, it’s no surprise that the Ganpati festival is incredibly popular in India. In Maharashtra, this festival holds paramount significance. The entire state is in a festive mood, and almost every household brings an idol. People dress up intricately carved idols of Lord Ganesha with colourful umbrellas and hold elaborate religious rituals to seek his blessings.
The gracious welcome Ganesha receives in most homes and the personal emotions attached to the festival make it an extraordinary one. The emphasis is on treating him as a family member, cooking for him with care and affection, giving him the purest food, and keeping the rituals simple but respectful. A typical Maharashtrian household will provide simple traditional dishes to their most affable guest. This includes puri, bhaji, dal rice, green sabzi, and favourite desserts like modak, laddoos, coconut barfi, and puran poli. Poha, Aloo Pakora, and Kothimbir (Coriander) Vadi are a few snack items that are commonly offered to Ganesha.
We at HealthifyMe, like the celebration’s simplicity. We would stress the fact that you needn’t offer your ‘guest’ anything that you wouldn’t have on a regular day. Treating him like your closest family member and offering him what you think is best for your health (and his) will make him happier. Let’s pledge to emphasise knowledge, kindness, engagement, and self-control this Ganesha Chathurthi and beyond.
Healthy Food Options For Ganesha Chaturthi
A healthy diet contributes to maintaining overall health. It offers the body the necessary macronutrients, micronutrients, and fluids in the right amounts. A balanced diet helps people maintain their ideal body weight and lowers their chance of developing chronic diseases. Following are a few healthier choices for Ganesha Chaturthi:
- Vegetable Poha
- Poha Chiwda with Dry Fruits
- Idli with sambar and chutney
- Upma with vegetables
- Fresh Fruits
Lunch and Dinner Options
Wheat Flour Puran Poli
- Wheat flour: 1 cup
- Channa dal: 2 cups
- Jaggery: 1 cup
- Ghee: ½ cup
- Water: ½ cup
- Cardamom powder: 3 tsp
- Nutmeg powder: ½ tsp
- A pinch of salt
- Oil, as required
Method of Preparation
- Mix the flour, water, and oil in a large bowl and knead the mixture into a dough. Cover it and leave it at room temperature for an hour.
- Cook chana dal in a pressure cooker until it gets soft and allow it to cool.
- Cook the channa dal, jaggery, and ghee on medium flame until they combine into a sticky paste.
- Blend this paste in a mixer grinder with powdered cardamom and nutmeg.
- Make thick rotis out of the dough. Place a layer of the blended channa dal mixture between two rotis and then seal the edges.
- Heat some ghee on a tawa.
- Gently place the sealed set of rotis on the tawa and cook both sides util it turns golden brown.
Wheat flour gives the body energy-boosting carbs and digestive-supporting dietary fibre. Proteins are essential for gaining muscle mass, and channa dal is an excellent source of these nutrients. Jaggery is healthier than sugar since it has an iron content that is important for the production and transportation of blood.
Moong Dal Modak
- Rice flour: 1 cup
- Moong dal: ½ cup
- Ghee: ½ tbsp
- Water: 1 cup
- Mustard: ¼ tsp
- Shredded coconut: 2 tbsp
- Curry Leaves: 7-8
- Salt, to taste
- Oil, as required
Method of Preparation
- Cook moong dal in a pressure cooker until soft and allow it to cool down.
- Heat oil on a pan. Add mustard seeds to it.
- When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the salt, moong dal, curry leaves, and coconut shreds. Cook for a few minutes before turning off the heat.
- Thoroughly combine rice flour, ghee, and water in a large bowl. Add some oil to your hands and knead the mixture into a soft dough.
- Make round, even-sized balls of dough, flatten them, fill them with the moong dal mixture, and then wrap them up like an upside-down cone.
- Place the Modaks on idli plates with a bit of oil, then steam them for five to ten minutes.
Carbohydrates found in rice flour are essential for metabolic processes. Ghee offers vital fats for development and growth. High protein content in moong dal supports the body’s critical enzyme processes. Coconut has no sodium or cholesterol, which helps to protect the heart and decrease blood pressure.
Other Healthier Food Options
- Rishi bhaji combines all the seasonal veggies and is a healthy festive dish to eat with chapati or rice.
- Thalipeeth is another wholesome festive food made with multiple grains, such as chana dal, wheat flour, rice, and urad dal.
- Khichdi and Kadhi
- Pumpkin Sabji with fenugreek tadka and chapatis
- Paneer gravy with peas pulao, and curd
- Corn Palak Sabzi with Masala Rice
Note: For those who fast during this or until the everyday aarti foods like soup, sprouts, and salads will help balance the day’s nutritional needs.
- Ukdiche Modak: You can make Ukdiche modak in several ways, such as coconut, cucumber, beetroot, or chana dal.
- Oats Stuffed Modak: Oats are a rich source of antioxidants. They lower cholesterol and have beta-glucan fibre. So, if you’re concerned about the ghee-fried Modaks, you can make them with oats instead. It aids in reducing the chance of elevated cholesterol levels.
- Coconut Barfi: Coconut is an immediate source of energy. It helps prevent obesity by speeding up metabolism. It also reduces sweet cravings and thereby slows down any rise in blood sugar levels.
- Nuts and Fruit Laddoo: Nuts contain unsaturated fat, omega-3 and vitamin E, which prevent the development of plaques in arteries. On the other hand, fruits have a high nutrient value and are fibre-rich.
- Steamed Modak
Some Healthy Tips to Follow
A healthy diet increases energy, improves mood, and promotes good health. During these festive days, our daily schedules tend to get messed up and thus it becomes all the more necessary for us to keep a check on our health. Our ‘guest’ will enjoy his stay only when the hosts are in their best health. Here are a few tips to help you:
- Avoid fried snacks: Of course, you can have puri bhaji or sabudana vada on special days. But try to limit the consumption to one or two meals and keep the portion under control.
- Cook at home: When you prepare food, you control the cooking method and the food’s freshness. Use ghee, coconut, or mustard oil to prepare and cook food.
- Use of Spices: Spices like pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and saffron can be added to dishes to give them a unique flavour and speed up metabolism. Additionally, you may prepare basic spices like dhania, jeera, turmeric, and garam masala at home by roasting and grinding the ingredients to maintain hygiene.
- Add a salad and curd to all meals: Your meals will be healthy and fuller if you add a salad or curd to them. It will reduce your carb consumption and increase your intake of fibre and protein. Fibre, as we know acts as an appetite suppressant and thus will help keep your calorie budget under control. Fibre also aids in digestion thereby keeping gastronomical issues at bay.
- Focus on household chores: In order to welcome Ganesha and make him happy, people clean their homes extensively. The homes are adorned beautifully with flowers and garlands. The process of cleaning, sweeping, swabbing etc. is an excellent way to keep oneself active. Try to tend to these requirements by yourself and allow a few days of leave to your domestic help and other attendants who make our lives simpler. Allow them to enjoy the festival with their families.
- Eat Right After Evening Aarti: Do not push your eating hour too late at night. Instead, coincide your eating hour with your puja offering. Eat an early meal with everyone in the family while focusing on conversations and laughter. We are not asking you to call it a night too early. During the later hours, you can have healthy snacks like roasted peanuts, makhana or simply some herbal tea to keep yourself satiated.
A festival like Ganesha Chaturthi is the time to purify oneself in every way. Lord Ganesha’s popularity cuts across regions. He is revered as the remover of obstacles and seems to bring all the luck that a devotee needs. He represents wealth and knowledge. Please keep it simple, spend time with your kids and elderly relatives, and eat healthily this year. Commit to learning something new to embody the Elephant God’s true spirit. For example, you might begin reading routinely or pick up a new hobby. Lastly, remain joyful, and you will always be in good health.
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