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Friday, February 23, 2024

Staying healthy this festive season

The festive season is a time of joy, celebration, and sampling of delicious foods. In many parts of the world, including Nigeria, this period is marked by special occasions like Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.

It’s a time when families and friends come together to share meals, exchange gifts, and create lasting memories. However, it’s also a season when many people tend to overindulge in unhealthy foods and neglect their overall well-being.

In this article, we’ll explore practical and straightforward ways to stay healthy during the festive season, regardless of where you are in the world.

Mindful eating
One of the highlights of the festive season is undoubtedly the delicious food that graces our tables. From mouthwatering dishes to decadent desserts, there’s no shortage of culinary delights. However, it’s easy to get carried away and overeat. To stay healthy, practice mindful eating.

Mindful eating means savoring each bite, paying attention to the flavors and textures of the food, and eating with awareness. Instead of rushing through your meal, take your time to enjoy it. This approach not only enhances your dining experience but also helps you recognize when you’re full, preventing overindulgence.

Healthy plate of food

Balance your plate
When filling your plate during festive feasts, aim for balance. Include a variety of foods, such as lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

This ensures that you’re getting a mix of nutrients and helps control portion sizes. By diversifying your plate, you can enjoy the flavors of the season while maintaining a balanced diet.

How exercise boosts immunity. Image credit: Ezfit Singapore

Stay active
The festive season often brings a break from our regular routines, including exercise. However, staying active is crucial for your overall health. Engaging in physical activities can help you burn off those extra calories and boost your mood.
You don’t need an expensive gym membership to stay active.

Instead, consider fun and accessible activities like dancing to your favorite music, taking family walks, or playing outdoor games with friends and relatives. These activities not only keep you moving but also create memorable moments with loved ones.

Hydration is key
Amidst the celebrations, it’s easy to forget the importance of staying hydrated. Water is a fundamental need for our bodies, and it’s readily available to most people. Make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and even overeating since thirst is sometimes mistaken for hunger. By keeping a water bottle handy and taking regular sips, you can stay hydrated and feel your best during the festive season.

According to Folashade Babatunde, a renowned Nigerian nutrition expert and educator with extensive experience in the field of nutrition, it’s crucial to note that fizzy drinks, sugary beverages, alcohol, and even indulgent treats like ice cream are not substitutes for water.

While these drinks and treats may be tempting during the festive season, they can contribute to dehydration due to their diuretic effects. Babatunde emphasizes that nothing can replace the benefits of plain, clean water when it comes to keeping your body properly hydrated. So, while you enjoy the festivities, remember to prioritize water as your best friend for staying healthy and hydrated.

Savory snacks

Plan your indulgences
Indulging in festive treats is part of the joy of the season. Whether it’s a slice of cake or a special dessert, planning your indulgences wisely can make a significant difference in your overall health.

In Nigeria, the festive season brings a delightful array of traditional dishes that are both delicious and tempting. From the rich flavors of Jollof rice and the savory goodness of Moin moin to the spicy kick of Suya and the comfort of Pounded yam, there’s a wide variety of festive foods to enjoy.

Indulgent lunch ideas

Instead of consuming everything all at once, consider selecting your favorite treats and savoring them mindfully. This approach allows you to appreciate the richness of the festive foods without feeling guilty or compromising your health.

You can relish dishes like Akara, Peppersoup, Efo riro, Ogbono soup, Puff-puff, Afang soup, Palm nut soup, Egusi soup, and many others by controlling portion sizes. It’s all about balance and enjoying the unique flavors of Nigerian cuisine during the holiday season without overindulging. This way, you can fully embrace the culinary traditions of Nigeria while prioritizing your health.

Get adequate rest
Amidst the excitement and late-night celebrations, it’s essential not to overlook the importance of getting enough rest. Many people take time off work during the festive season to relax and travel to new places, and it can be tempting to skimp on sleep. However, remember that adequate rest is crucial for your overall well-being.

While some may feel like there’s no need for a good night’s sleep during the holidays, it’s important to understand that sleep plays a vital role in recharging your energy. When you’re well-rested, your body has the opportunity to repair itself, and you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, irritability, and reduced immune function, which can put a damper on your festive spirit. During the festive season, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule as much as possible.

Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night. This will help you stay energized, fully enjoy the festivities, and ensure you have the strength you need for the year ahead. So, while it’s tempting to stay up late and make the most of your time off, remember that a good night’s sleep is an essential part of staying healthy during the holidays.

Conclusion: A healthy and happy festive season
As you prepare to celebrate the festive season, remember that staying healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself of culinary delights. It’s about finding a balance that allows you to savor the flavors of the season while taking care of your well-being.

By practising mindful eating, balancing your plate, staying active, staying hydrated, planning your indulgences, and getting adequate rest, you can have a joyful and healthy festive season. These simple yet effective strategies apply to people around the world, regardless of their location or traditions.

So, here’s to a festive season filled with delicious food, laughter, and good health. May you create beautiful memories with your loved ones while prioritizing your well-being. Cheers to a happy and healthy celebration!

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