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8 Tips to a Healthy Feast this Xmas and Year End Celebration

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8 Tips to a Healthy Feast this Xmas and Year End Celebration

LifeCare Diagnostic

December 14, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic period has been stressful for many people. This is the season where families and friends would commonly be gathering over the holiday to share food or gifts. Thinking about a holiday gathering? How are we going to modify the gathering to keep ourselves, our friends and family, and the community healthy and safe?

Small gatherings of family and friends

Consider celebrating this Christmas and New Year virtually or members with your own household – including family members or housemates who live in the same housing unit. This is not going to be new normal but virtual festive gatherings can fill the gaping hole in the families or friends who are in different places, states, or countries. Virtual Christmas and year-end celebrations and gatherings can be conducted over video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, video calling, etc.

If you are considering hosting or attending a gathering with people living in a different household, these are a few tips to keep everyone safe. 

  • Check the Covid-19 infection rates on our Ministry of Health(MOH) website http://covid-19.moh.gov.my/.
  • Limit the number of guests as much as possible to adhere to social distancing.
  • Avoid direct contact, including handshakes or hugs.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors or consider an outdoor setting.
  • Mask up except when eating or drinking.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or using hand sanitizer.

Other than keeping ourselves safe from the virus, here are 8 tips for a healthy feast this Christmas and New Year. 

  1. Do not starve yourself for the feast
    Never come to the table with an empty stomach. Eating a light snack beforehand, like a serving of fruit, or drinking a cup of water to prevent overeating and hunger pangs – an uncomfortable sensation caused by strong contraction when the stomach is empty. 
  2. Eat slowly
    Chew each bite 20 times or more and put the fork and spoon down between bites. It sounds simple, but it is actually tougher than you think. The trick for this is to be mindful and conscious. Chewing slowly helps to control the amount of food you eat and improve the gastrointestinal hormone responses.
  1. Be selective 
    Be aware of the food that is high in calories and fat. Avoid cream-based gravy/soup, fatty meat, processed food. Skip fried food and opt for grilled, steamed, or broiled dishes. It is time for a little self-restraint. Control on the portion size. Always remember and visualize our Malaysian Healthy Plate, #QuarterQuarterHalf. Half of our plate should be reserved with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of the plate should be protein and the other quarter is for the grains, preferably whole grains.
  1. Limit on soft drink intake 
    Do not gulp down fizzy drinks even though you are going for a variety in your diet. Do not underestimate the amount of sugar and calories in a can of soda. Fizzy drinks or soda can increase the risk of overweight and obesity. Remember plain water is always the best choice or you can opt for a glass of green tea as it improves digestion with just a very little amount of caffeine.
  1. Rethink dessert
    What is the wise choice for dessert? If you need something sweet, some fresh fruit will be a good choice as they are rich in fiber and lower in calories. Otherwise, you can consider some frozen yogurt as it can help with digestion.
  1. Treat with a home-cooked meal 
    By feasting at home with home-cooked meals, we can control added salt, sugar, fats, additional sauces, etc. Replace those with natural herbs and spices. Control on the amount of oil used in cooking, choose lean meat over fatty meat for a protein dish and this will make your Christmas and New Year feast a healthier one!
  1. Get active during the festive month 
    It does not mean you can abandon your exercise during the festive month. Find the time for a workout or just do something to keep yourself active. For example, taking the staircase instead of using the elevator or park your car further away from the destination to do some leisure walking.
  1. Alcohol-involved gathering
    Avoid drinking on an empty stomach. The dietary guidelines recommend that if alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation, which is up to 2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women. Learn how to say no and get an alternative to water or non-alcoholic drinks. And please take note of the alcohol consumption if you are driving.

Christmas and New Year celebrations might be different this year, but their meaning will always remain the same. We hope these tips help you to enjoy yourself and stay healthy during this holiday season.