Festivals like Hari Raya are synonymous with sumptuous spreads and feasting. Hard as it is to resist traditional Malay fare like lemang, rendang, ketupat and lontong, it is best not to overindulge after a month-long of fasting. That is because during the fasting month, your body, particularly your digestive system, makes quite a transition during those few weeks.
During the fasting month, your entire eating schedule is completely inverted from day to night. Then after a month, you not only switch back to your normal eating routine, but you are faced with mouthwatering delicacies, some of which you get to sample only once a year.
Although we celebrate Hari Raya with an array of colourful delicacies that comes in various flavours, it’s not the ticket to brush aside healthy eating habits. It is up to us to eat wisely and practice healthy eating at all times to safeguard our health. How can we celebrate Hari Raya without the weight gain while eating healthily?
Eat in small portions
Yes, you are excited when you are served with a variety of delicacies like rendang and kuih. However, be mindful of the quantity and portion size to avoid over-indulging.
Go for low-calorie, less oil, less fat and less coconut milk
A difficult task when you are faced with lemang or delicious curries. But try to limit your intake of it. Choose ketupat instead of lemang which contains coconut milk, soto instead of curry mee which is less oily and fresh fruits instead of dodol and wajik.
Go plain instead of carbonated
Avoid the usual carbonated and sweetened drinks if you are serving your guests. Instead try to “flavour” your water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, mint leaves or adding pandan to your iced plain water.
Limit your sweets and fatty food
One of the must-have delicacies for Hari Raya is wajik and dodol. Made with glutinous rice and cooked in palm sugar and coconut milk, these foods are high in sugar and fat. Since it’s a treat that you can only get once a year, try to eat moderately.
Say no to salty food, if possible
Kuih siput, banana and tapioca chips are traditional favourites found in many homes during Hari Raya. However, it is advisable to consume them as little as possible as they are high in salt.
Strategise your meals
If you are eating at home, try to use smaller bowls and plates to reduce serving size, choose dishes with less oil, sugar, fat and coconut milk and avoid extra helpings. Stick to your meal times and try not to snack in between.
To practice healthy eating during Hari Raya, remember these three principles: balanced diet, eat in moderation and eat a variety of foods.