The Festive season—Christmas and New year—is a time for celebration and indulgence, and for many people, that often means consuming rich, tasty foods and drinks until satisfaction.
However, it’s important to remember that while it’s okay to treat yourself now and then, it’s also important to maintain a healthy diet and not overindulge.
In Nigeria, Christmas is often a time for family gatherings and feasts, and traditional dishes such as jollof rice, fried plantains, and grilled meats are common. While these dishes can be delicious, it’s important to remember that they can also be high in fat, salt, and sugar, which can contribute to weight gain and negative health effects if consumed in excess. It is possible to enjoy the festive season without abandoning healthy eating habits.
Here are some helpful practices to maintain healthy eating habits this season:
- Practice moderation: It’s okay to indulge in your favorite holiday treats, but try to do so in moderation. Instead of eating large portions, try having smaller servings or sharing with others.
- Make healthy swaps: Instead of using unhealthy ingredients, try using healthier alternatives in your recipes. For example, you could use olive oil instead of butter, or whole-grain flour instead of white flour.
- Choose healthier options: When eating out or at a party, try to choose healthier options such as vegetables, nuts, fruits, and lean proteins. Avoid sugary drinks and opt for water or unsweetened teas instead.
- Eat plenty of vegetables: Vegetables are a great source of nutrients and can help to fill you up without adding a lot of calories. Try to include a variety of vegetables in your meals and snacks.
- Stay hydrated: It’s easy to become dehydrated during the winter months, especially if you’re consuming alcohol. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and flush out toxins.
- Limit your alcohol intake: Alcohol can contribute to weight gain and poor nutrition, so it’s important to consume it in moderation. If you do choose to drink, opt for lower-calorie options like light beer or vodka with soda water and a splash of fruit juice.
- Get active: Physical activity can help to offset the effects of indulging in unhealthy foods and can also help to boost your mood and energy levels. Try to get in some form of exercise, whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, a workout at the gym, or engaging in games with your loved ones.
- Don’t skip meals: It can be tempting to skip meals to save room for holiday treats, but this can lead to overeating later on. Instead, stick to your regular meal plan, to help keep your energy levels stable and your appetite in check.
- Plan ahead: If you know you’ll be attending a holiday party or gathering, try to eat a healthy snack beforehand to help curb your appetite. This can help to prevent you from overindulging in unhealthy foods.
- Eat slowly: Instead of rushing through your meals, take your time and savor each bite. Eating slowly can help you feel full and satisfied, and it can also help prevent overeating.
- Don’t deprive yourself: It’s okay to indulge in your favorite holiday treats, but try to do so in moderation. Allowing yourself to enjoy a small portion of your favorite foods can help prevent feelings of deprivation and the temptation to overindulge.
- Don’t stress: The holiday season can be a stressful time for many people, but it’s important to try to manage your stress levels. Stress can lead to unhealthy habits such as overeating and skipping meals, so try to find healthy ways to cope, such as through exercise, meditation, or talking to a friend.
Eating healthy during the festive season, especially in Nigeria doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these tips and making a few small changes, you can enjoy the holiday season without sacrificing your health. Remember to practice moderation, make healthy swaps, stay active, and enjoy all foods.