Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion all around India, and today marks the arrival of our favourite Lord, Ganesha.As we welcome dear Bappa into our lives with loads of warmth and love, spirits are extremely high while looking forward to the forthcoming festivities that last about 10 days, after which we bid adieu to Ganesha until we meet next time. Be it any festive season or a special occasion, they are never complete without indulging into some of our favourite mouth-watering delicacies.Although, buying sweets may seem to be an easy choice and an instant fix to fulfil our needs and cravings for the same, it can be extremely unhealthy. These confectionaries are loaded with high amounts of sugar and unhealthy calories, and are also prone to various forms of adulteration. The same can result in several health complications over the course of time especially for the ones suffering from diabetes.
Here are some of the healthy alternatives to market-bought sweetmeats, delicacies that can be easily prepared at home with simple kitchen ingredients and won’t prove heavy on pockets as well.
#1 Gajar Ka Halwa
One of the most enjoyed Indian delicacy, Gajar Ka Halwa remains the top choice when it comes to healthy alternatives to sugar-loaded sweetmeats. Be it a special occasion or a casual day, this recipe needs no reason to be on the menu and can warm up your hearts any day. Cooked with sweet shredded carrots made to simmer in full-cream milk and desi ghee, the rich aroma will definitely make your mouths water and hearts melt. One can garnish with dry fruits like almonds, cashews, pistachios and raisins, and enjoy it warm or cold.
Deemed to be the ‘Queen of Indian deserts', this recipe is rightly so, as it contains the goodness of both taste and health. Also known as ‘kheer’, this delicacy is made with broken rice soaked overnight, and cooked in ghee with a dash of green cardamom and saffron. One can add some jaggery instead of refined sugar to go green and clean. Simmering the brewed mixture in milk, garnish it with loads of dry fruits.
The most famous sweetmeat enjoyed by people of Maharashtra on every occasion, be it someone’s birthday or a light-hearted get together. Chikki is known to be an excellent superfood, especially during chilly winters, as a mouthful will instantly warm up your body. Packed with the warmth and goodness of jaggery, peanuts and sesame seeds, the recipe can also be moulded into small balls, known as ‘till gud ke laddoos'.
#4 Besan Laddoo
Another popular and highly loved Indian dessert, balls of goodness your way! This recipe is also one of the healthiest delicacy if made with artificial sweeteners or jaggery instead of table sugar. Made with common kitchen ingredients, Besan Laddoo is nothing but gram flour roasted in pure ghee and green cardamom, moulded into balls and topped with dry fruits.
#5 Nutty Laddoo
It is no surprise, that laddoos are an integral part of Indian cuisine and festivals would go incomplete without adding some ‘laddoo ka' magic to the day!
Surprisingly, laddoos can take various forms, and most of them can be healthy too. One such clean recipe is that which can be made with dates, as a replacement to sugar, and a mixture of nuts of all kinds. Simply roast a handful of nuts and dry fruits, like almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, pistachios and add some blended dates to the mixture. Knead them together with ghee and roll in some desiccated coconut to add to the royalty.
#6 Oats Kheer
Unlike the usual kheer, this recipe is made with the goodness of oats instead of rice. One can load in some dry fruits and dates, along with rich cream to grace the added milk and ghee with utter delight. Add in some chopped banana and berries to go all in for a rich and loaded oatmeal-cum-kheer.
#7 Anjeer Modak
Being Lord Ganesha's favourite delicacy, Modaks are made with pure love and lots of mouth-watering goodies. Filled with the sheer delight of figs (Anjeer), dates, dry fruits and desiccated coconut, modaks can be made with a mixture of these ingredients filled inside a spongy and soft covering of steamed whole-wheat dough, that melt in your mouths.
#8 Malai Kulfi
Simple to prepare yet reaches straight to the heart!
This recipe is every Indian's delight and is made by teaming together some blanched and chopped almonds and pistachios, condensed milk, and a dash of saffron, all made to chill and freeze together in a matki or placed onto ice cream sticks for one rich delicacy.
#9 Rabdi Malpua
Traditional Indian version of pancakes, malpua is a sweetmeat made with a filling of desiccated coconut, chopped nuts and dry fruits, fennel seeds, shredded carrots and dates, inside a deliciously juicy covering of whole-wheat atta. What makes it undeniably better, is to serve the delicacy on a bed of sugar-free saffron rabdi.
#10 Pineapple-Rice Pudding
Similar to rice kheer, this recipe is made with rice that is allowed to simmer in coconut milk, with a rich addition of cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, saffron, almonds and raisins, and finally loaded with some boiled pineapple puree, to add to the sweetness and delish of this heavenly pleasure.