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How To Mindfully Eat During Hari Raya

10 May 2022
Family that has Gibraltar BSN insurance also watches their diet

One of the great Raya traditions is to feast together with family and friends in an open house gathering. But eating may also continue outside of feasts with food stocked up at home. The traditional Malay cuisine served during Hari Raya can be irresistible but overeating some of them can be harmful to health. That’s all the more reason to be extra mindful with our eating while still enjoying the festivities.

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Healthier alternatives

There’s always healthier alternatives when it comes to food. If you are preparing food, use a lighter version of coconut milk or replace it with low-fat milk instead. Since many Raya dishes are made with coconut oil, it makes the dining experience less fattening. 

Rice is often served during Hari Raya to go with yummy dishes such as rendang, ayam goreng, and serunding. Use brown rice instead of white. It has better nutritional value. For example, it has more vitamins and minerals, more than twice the fibre, and a significantly lower glycemic index compared to white rice by 22

Finally for dessert, try more fruits and less kuih. It’s a healthier dessert option and there are many reasons why. Fruits have natural sugar that gives it a healthier natural sweetness. Most fruits contain fibre which fills you up and prevents you from overeating. A plate of kuih has much higher calories than a plate of fruits.

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Strategise your meals

a) Attend open houses that accommodate your mealtime. 

b) If you are attending in between them, try to eat and drink minimally. 

c) If you are planning on going heavy on lunch or dinner, then go lighter on your breakfast. 

d) If your feast is buffet or potluck-style, there’s no harm in scoping out the available food and drinks and plan to achieve mindful eating.

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Avoid going back for second rounds

It’s tough when the food is so good! But going for one round during your meal is often sufficient for your body’s daily needs. Constantly adding to your plate results in overeating. Try eating slowly to avoid this. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness.

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Limit sweet drinks

Popular sugary drinks such as sirap bandung and soft drinks should be limited in their intake. Sugary drinks are associated with weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and many more negative health effects. If you want, you can even completely replace them with plain water. 

Plain water is calorie-free while also being vital for life to regulate functions such as body temperature, nutrient transport, and waste removal. It includes trace amounts of minerals. Drinks such as sirap bandung and carbonated drinks are loaded with sugar and empty calories. Sweet drinks contain more sugar than your body needs, thus converting it into fat.

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Avoid snacking

During the Raya season, many households usually stock up on plenty of food. Cravings to snack may increase when many delicious snacks are within easy reach. Here are some ways to avoid snacking:

a) Pour yourself a glass of water. It is a natural appetite suppressant as it fills up your stomach

b) Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep causes the body to search for extra sources of energy

c) Make your snacks difficult to reach. One study showed participants ate an average of 9 candies a day when the bowl was on the desk, 6 if the bowl was in the drawer, and 4 if they had to walk to get to the bowl.

Continue and maintain weight loss achieved during Ramadan by continuing eating moderately throughout Syawal. Mindful eating limits our risk but does not completely prevent them. For financial protection against critical illness conditions often associated with an unhealthy diet, check out GoXtra Care.