Elevate your Hari Raya celebration by eating in a healthier and more mindful! Try grilled meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables for a balanced meal.
It’s so easy to get carried away with good food in Malaysia, fondly known for its galore of food and cuisine, especially during festive celebrations like Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
But we often tend to forget that this joyful feast can put a strain on your arteries and waistline. By overeating around 200-500 calories a day, like an extra serving of lemang and rendang or a few mugs of ‘soda gembira’, you could pack an extra 2-3kgs at the end of the week!
Don’t worry, this article is not written to dampen your Raya mood or to deprive you of enjoying your favorite food. Instead, take this advice as a reminder to eat healthily and mindfully so you won’t tip the scales after you’re done celebrating.
1. Plan your meals wisely. First things first, do note of everything that is being spread out in front of your eyes all at once! Plan your meals like you always do on normal days starting with a healthy breakfast, followed by lunch, and dinner, and the snacks in between your main meals. If you want to go for a heavy lunch or dinner, go a little lighter for your breakfast.
2. Follow the 20 minutes rule. You may have heard of this, but it’s good to be reminded that our body may take around 20 minutes to recognize that it is full. Of course, everyone is built differently. What you can do is eat slowly (gobbling up food is not eating slowly by the way) and let your satiety hormones fill your gut and send a signal to inform you if you can still take in more food.
3. Keep physically distanced from the food spread. Yes, you read that right! Instead of eating at the dining table, let someone else take the last seat at the table. You can still eat your food at the living hall, or in front of the TV where you can mingle with your cousins while you eat. Isn’t that a win-win?
4. Fill up the tank first. It is as simple as it sounds. If you are going to celebrate the first day of Raya at your parent’s house where there will be tons of food, eat something at home so you won’t arrive there feeling famished. It can be as light as an apple with an egg sandwich and a cup of coffee. You’ll arrive at your parents’ house without feeling that you can eat a horse!
5. Plain is better. All those colorful drinks you see at the table, whether it’s sirap bandung, F&N strawberry, or boxed juices, are all loaded with sugar. It’s not wrong to have some but make it a habit to opt for the good old plain water because you should be eating your calories, not drinking them.
6. Make room for some greens! Vegetables are a must on a balanced diet plate. Although protein and carbs dictate most of the hari raya dishes, eat vegetables as much as you can during your visit. They are the most nutritious food that helps with your digestion while nurturing your body with great nutrients at the same time.
7. Be smart around buffets. This may not apply to most people, but there are a few family homes that adopt buffet-styled or potluck-styled feasts. If you’re one of these families, look and see what your options are, and plan wisely (see Point #1) before grabbing a small plate for your food.
8. Prioritize what really matters. Hari Raya is a significant celebration, even if we don’t get to visit everyone in the family due to the current pandemic situation. Cherish the laughter and chats of the ones you have with you at this moment. Enjoy their company with good food but always prioritize what really matters.
There you go! Now let’s go celebrate a meaningful Hari Raya with the family!
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