TIPS FOR A HEALTHIER RAYA
Don’t overeat, stay active during the festive season, advise experts
HARI Raya is synonymous with sumptuous spreads and feasting. But that is no excuse to overeat and brush aside healthy eating habits.
National Heart Institute (IJN) chief dietician Mary Easaw urged people to be mindful about what they eat to prevent health risks.
“Hari Raya is a time to spend with family, relatives and friends. There will also be plenty of delicious traditional dishes to savour, like ketupat, rendang and lemang.
“This does not provide you a ticket to eat as you like and pile up the kilos you lost during the fasting month.
“It’s best to take the food in smaller servings. There will be many houses to visit, with plenty of food to feast on.
“It’s good if you exercise some discipline and not go on a food binge during Hari Raya. It’s unhealthy and could land you in trouble, health-wise.”
Easaw added that one should be careful of taking too much sweet and savoury dishes.
“This can lead to saturated fats becoming accumulated in the blood stream. It can also cause a sugar high in your body, which could attack the brain or heart if you are hypoglycaemic.
“Practising mindful eating is the best way to enjoy Hari Raya. Savour the food, not gulp it down in one go.”
Universiti Malaya Sport and Exercise Sciences lecturer Dr Sareena Hanim Hamzah, who specialises in nutrition for health, fitness and sports, reminds everyone to be disciplined and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the festive season.
Dr Sareena said physical activities would help burn the accumulated fats and calories.
“It is good to spend at least 30 minutes exercising, around three to five times a week.
“There are two forms of exercise that can be done. Aerobic exercise includes jogging, cycling, swimming and aerobic dance, while recreational exercise includes football, badminton or tennis.
“Exercise is important to break the eating pattern, as having too much to eat leads to higher energy intake, which is more than required.
“This means more energy is consumed than burnt, which causes excess calories to be deposited as fats in the body.”
Dr Sareena also emphasised the need to control the quantity and quality of the food intake.
“Eating in moderation and avoiding too much high-calorie food, sugar and fat are good to maintain your health during the festive season,” she said, adding that consuming plain water and taking fruits as starters could help one feel full and reduce subsequent food intake.
Practising mindful eating is the best way to enjoy Hari Raya. Savour the food, not gulp it down in one go. MARY EASAW
IJN chief dietician
Consuming plain water and taking fruits as starters could help one feel full and reduce subsequent food intake.