Eating well during Christmas period

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Eating well | People are getting holidays off work and would have more time to relax and enjoy themselves.

Much is said about the Christmas season and food simply because there is in abundance bad food and drinks.

I get so much worried as a dietician anytime Christmas approaches because people are going to eat bad once again. Then after the yuletide, their blood sugar, cholesterol, weight, etc. will rise. This does not have to be so.

Remember that your body will not handle food differently because it is Christmas. This article will delve into how we have to handle our food during the Christmas season and beyond.

Can there be Christmas without bad food?

The answer to this question is an emphatic yes. It is true that we mark all celebrations with food and good food for that matter. But it is not a hard and fast rule that every good food must be presented with lots of oil, frying, made with artificial additives, fatty meat and creamy milk among all the popular ingredients that will be on display during Christmas.

We can all decide to cook food with little oil, lots of vegetables, devoid of excessive frying among others. This way the Christmas food will be healthy.

Some health practitioners will advise that you can eat some of the bad foods but do so in moderation; there is a 90:10 rule which suggests that 10 per cent of what you eat can be bad food or unhealthy food and 90 per cent must me healthy foods. That gives you some permission to eat bad but I think if you do 100 per cent healthy foods, the better for you. Just do the right thing all the time.

Smart choices to consider

When shopping, choose food ingredients that will help you prepare healthy meals. Plan to cook healthy delicious meals from natural and unprocessed ingredients.

Plan to cook some fufu, banku, among others. Make it local dishes mainly.

Christmas is definitely not a time to stock your home with wines, beers, hard liquor and other alcoholic beverages. Fruit juice abuse is also not advised. These drinks are to be taken in moderation.

In the case of alcohol, if you cannot stay by the one or two drinks in a day; just abstain. It is very likely that most people will not just take the recommended one or two drinks of alcohol, more is more likely so the best is to abstain from it.

Squeezed fruit juice is loaded with so much sugar and has no fibre left in them. This makes them unhealthy compared to fresh fruits.

Taking too much of the fresh fruits is also not good. A little at a time is key. You can therefore stock your home with some fresh fruits instead of the soft drinks.

Food safety must be a priority

At the market only buy what is wholesome. You have the power to choose what is best so exercise that power.

Treat your ingredients right once you send them home from the market. Wash all vegetables and fruits well before storing in the fridge. Re-heat foods left in the refrigerator very well before eating.

At the supermarkets, be sure of the expiry dates of the food items you buy. Check and be sure that these foods are wholesome before you buy them.

When prices are reduced, do not be in so much hurry to buy those items. Again check the expiry dates; most of the time, the expiry dates are very close.

Wash your hands well with soap and water before you eat. This should also be done before you eat foods that do not need to be cooked before eating; for example, biscuits and fruits.

What to do at parties

Parties can hardly be left out during Christmas. You can attend those parties but just be careful about what food you are eating. You may not have to attend all the parties you are invited to anyway. Going to all presents opportunities to over-eat and over-drink bad foods and drinks.

At these parties, be sure of the safety of the food displayed there. Wash your hands well before touching food. You are likely to shake hands with so many people at these parties so just be careful.

Choose fresh fruits over fruit drinks at these parties. A serving or two of these fresh fruits will be a healthier choice. You can start by eating salads at parties. The salads should not be too rich, thus eat them without salad creams, eggs and rich dressings.

Taking enough of these will make it possible for you not to eat too much of the proper food. This will help you not to over eat. It also helps to drink lots of water, a good way of filling the tummy so you eat less food.

Do not drink too much alcohol when you attend parties. Becoming drunk will just make you misbehave at parties. You might end up driving back home in the drunken state. This will not just endanger your life and that of other road users but it is also against the laws of Ghana to drink alcohol and drive.

If you attend parties at night, do not eat heavy meals simply because it is a party. Just go light and drink some water in addition.

Dancing at parties will help you use some energy and contribute to increasing your physical activity level which is good for your health. Dance and enjoy yourself when you attend parties.

Those who are not well

If you have any disease or condition that requires that you avoid certain foods, note that Christmas does not give you the freedom to do the wrong thing.

Going against your diet rules will only lead to worsening those problems. So just stay focused and enjoy the yuletide.

Get some exercise

Most people are not able to exercise regularly because of work schedules. The yuletide comes with some holiday or break from work so seize the opportunity to do some exercise.

Exercise is medicine, it helps your body to get rid of stored food or energy which otherwise would have been a source of disease or sickness to the body.

Get some walk for up to 30 minutes. This can even be done indoors if the weather becomes too cold, too dark or too dusty for you to hit the road.

I wish you merry Christmas

I salute all readers of my column. Have the best of the season. Remember that Christ is the reason for the season. Focus on Him; enjoy a renewed life and relationship with Him.

Remain blessed now and always. Keep spreading the message of healthy eating for health and wellness.

Above all keep spreading the good news that Christ came to die for us. So that we have our sins forgiven. This way we spend eternity with God.

Stay blessed, stay healthy. “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul”…3 John 1:2

Wash your hands well with soap and water before you eat. This should also be done before you eat foods that do not need to be cooked before eating; for example, biscuits and fruits.

What to do at parties

Parties can hardly be left out during Christmas. You can attend those parties but just be careful about what food you are eating. You may not have to attend all the parties you are invited to anyway. Going to all presents opportunities to over-eat and over-drink bad foods and drinks.

At these parties, be sure of the safety of the food displayed there. Wash your hands well before touching food. You are likely to shake hands with so many people at these parties so just be careful.

Choose fresh fruits over fruit drinks at these parties. A serving or two of these fresh fruits will be a healthier choice. You can start by eating salads at parties. The salads should not be too rich, thus eat them without salad creams, eggs and rich dressings.

Taking enough of these will make it possible for you not to eat too much of the proper food. This will help you not to over eat. It also helps to drink lots of water, a good way of filling the tummy so you eat less food.

Do not drink too much alcohol when you attend parties. Becoming drunk will just make you misbehave at parties. You might end up driving back home in the drunken state. This will not just endanger your life and that of other road users but it is also against the laws of Ghana to drink alcohol and drive.

If you attend parties at night, do not eat heavy meals simply because it is a party. Just go light and drink some water in addition.

Dancing at parties will help you use some energy and contribute to increasing your physical activity level which is good for your health. Dance and enjoy yourself when you attend parties.

Those who are not well

If you have any disease or condition that requires that you avoid certain foods, note that Christmas does not give you the freedom to do the wrong thing.

Going against your diet rules will only lead to worsening those problems. So just stay focused and enjoy the yuletide.

Get some exercise

Most people are not able to exercise regularly because of work schedules. The yuletide comes with some holiday or break from work so seize the opportunity to do some exercise.

Exercise is medicine, it helps your body to get rid of stored food or energy which otherwise would have been a source of disease or sickness to the body.

Get some walk for up to 30 minutes. This can even be done indoors if the weather becomes too cold, too dark or too dusty for you to hit the road.

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The writer is a dietician at Trust Hospital and author of “Diet, Health & Wellness Book” and. “Answers for your diet”.

For copies, Contact: Tel- 0244090262, Email- letsconsult@gmail.com, Whatsapp: 0244090262.