Healthy eating in the new year
Compliment of the season to all the readers of this column. Holiday weight gain is a common concern for many adults at this period of the year. Various seasonal holidays especially that of the end of the year may encourage overeating, sedentary behavior, and consumption of calorie-rich foods making holiday weight gain more inevitable.
Maintaining a healthy eating habit can be quite challenging especially during festive seasons. With the celebration come lots of food temptations such as chocolates, cakes, carbonated drinks, alcohol, meats, and other mouth-watering delicacies. This will make it difficult for those with a strict dietary pattern to stick to the plan.
In as much the delicacies, there is a need to remember that we are what we eat. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to fight infections, as well as how likely we are to develop health problems later in life. In order not to fall ill or complicate health issues, there is a need to eat healthily. A healthy and balanced diet will provide many benefits in during the Yuletide and beyond.
Ways to help control our diets
- Be honest with yourself – nobody can help you manage your diet better than yourself. You need to be determined to adhere strictly to the dos and don’ts of health and balanced diet.
- Avoid starving– New Year celebrations often involve visiting friends and relatives for gathering and meals. Avoid going on any visits on an empty stomach. Starving yourself in anticipation of a bigger meal will make it harder to go for healthier choices because everything on the table will look irresistible. As a result, you end up eating more than intended.
- Pay attention to the type of food you eat – do not eat all the food available. If hungry, eat more fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid junk food. Nuts make for a good gift during visits to your friends or relatives rather than sweets. Watch what you consume especially if you have strict dietary rules to follow. This is very important for people with medical cases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity or those on a dietary programme.
- Avoid fatty food – irrespective of your medical status, reduce the intake of fatty food. Being overweight may increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some forms of cancer. Instead, use vegetable oil as a substitute for cooking; eat more of low fat dairy products, chicken, scale fishes and avoid frying, eat more vegetables and fruits.
- Limit sugar intake – too much sugar is not healthy for anyone. This is particularly bad for cancer patients, cancer survivors, diabetes patients, and people with a family history of diabetes, obese people and those with other health complications.
- Cut down on salt – Taking too much salt has no benefit for the body. Instead it harms to the body. Having less salt in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure. Eating salt raises the amount of salt in the bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of the kidney to remove water from the body.
- Avoid harmful use of alcohol – uncontrolled alcohol intake is harmful to the body. If taken in excess, it can also lead to accidents which might result in bodily harm or deaths. It may also leads to Holiday Heart Syndrome. Holiday Heart Syndrome is a term used to describe a heart condition associated mainly with excessive alcohol consumption coupled with overeating.
- Have a controlled pattern of eating – determine to have a controlled pattern of eating. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast.
- Stay active – do not sit in a place all through the season. Be active, exercise, walk around and engage in physical activities. This will help with body metabolism and aid digestion. Make it a habit to continue with your regular physical activities even during festive season. This is the best way to deter weight gain. 150 minutes of moderate physical exercises or 75 minutes of intensive work-out a week is recommended.
- Drink a glass of water before every meal – drinking a glass of water before every meal is healthy for the body. Try to choose water over sweetened drinks. Always remember that water is a source of empty calories. On the other hand, alcoholic drinks and soft drinks, which are often served during this period, are high in calories. If you really must drink, try to incorporate a few glasses of water in between servings to reduce the amount of other drinks you consume.