As a nation of food lovers, festive seasons are mean feasting seasons! For those who observe the Islamic obligation of fasting during the month of Ramadan, our digestive systems will have to make quite a transition for the Raya celebrations. First, our entire eating schedule was completely inverted from day to night, and now, we are faced with an abundance of delicacies to feast upon on a daily basis for at least a week. So, during this period, it’s even more crucial to eat right!
While we’re enjoying the food, fun, and family gatherings, it is important to remember that most of what we’re consuming is rich in fat, salt, and sugar. If you managed to adhere to a good puasa habit, over-eating now would reverse the benefits you worked so hard for! You may end up gaining weight, and worsening medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, high uric acid levels, gastritis, acid reflux, indigestion, and so on.
Whether it is fasting, festive, or regular seasons, you should always stick to the basic principles of eating in moderation, eating a balanced diet, and to stay active. If you simply cannot avoid overindulging, do it only for one day, but you must immediately return to practising a healthy diet after that.
Here are some simple tips to eat right!
Eat Right Tip #1: Remove and Reduce the Bad
- Remove excess oil in curry, sambal tumis, and goreng berlada dishes.
- Use chicken without skin and fat-trimmed meat.
- Use half coconut milk and half low fat milk/yoghurt for curry, rendang, lontong/lodeh dishes.
- Reduce sugar, oil and fat in recipes by cutting down half of the suggested portion.
- Avoid artificial colouring in cookies/cakes/puddings – try natural colourings such as pandan leaf extract/juice or beetroot.
- Avoid carbonated or sweetened cordial drinks – serve plain water.
- Reduce intake of salty foods such as chips (kerepek/keropok) and processed foods (asam, jeruk, sweets).
Eat Right Tip #2: Add and Use the Good
- Add natural ingredients such as onions, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, turmeric, meat stocks, lemon/lime, chillies, and vinegar.
- Add high-fibre ingredients such as wholemeal flour, oats, muesli, fried/fresh fruits or vegetables when making cookies or cakes/desserts.
- Use healthier cooking methods such as roasting, braising, oven-baking, and boiling.
- Serve fresh fruits and vegetables (ulam/salads/acar/kerabu) at all times.
Eat Right Tip #3: Strategise Your Meals
- Use small plates/bowls to eat smaller portions and reduce serving size.
- Plan your open houses to accommodate to your meal time; for example, attend according to your meal times – lunch, teatime, and dinner. If you have more invitations in between, eat and drink minimally.
- Choose dishes with less oil, fat, coconut milk or sugar – take less gravy/sauces, and choose soup-based noodles such as soto and porridge.
- Avoid taking extra helpings – take small portions to avoid wastages and to reduce to tendency to overeat. Enjoy your food slowly!
Selamat Hari Raya, and happy feasting!
The information in this article is contributed by Rozanna M. Rosly and edited by Tongue in Chic for publication.
Rozanna graduated in July 2000 from Leeds Metropolitan University with a Bachelor of Science degree with second class honours (1st division), having followed an approved sandwich programme in Dietetics. Rozanna is currently the Head of Dietetic Services at UMSC.
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