How many of you are already drooling at the thought of all the food that will be on offer over Raya? There will be plenty of open houses to attend and with that the buffet tables groaning under the weight of platters of delicious dishes ready for the taking.
While you may feel like you deserve to gorge yourselves after a month of fasting, it is probably best if you take it easy!
First of all, your body needs to adjust itself to the fact that it will now be receiving food throughout the day instead of just after sunset. Stuffing yourself would be a rather rude shock to your digestive system so give it some time to get used to it – after all, Raya is celebrated over a month so there’s plenty of time to sample all the Raya goodies.
1. Plan your day carefully
You would probably start out your day knowing how many houses you’ll be visiting so plan your meals around that. Knowing that you’ll be eating at every house, you can then gauge how much you should be eating at each house. If you have two houses to go to, then yes you can probably plan your lunch and dinner around them. If however, you have 10 houses to go to, then it should go without saying that you shouldn’t have a full plate of food each time! Be smart about it.
2. Have breakfast first
Another smart thing to do would be to have breakfast before you leave the house for a full day of open houses. While you may think it’s brilliant strategy to leave the house on an empty stomach, you’ll think you’re starving by the time you reach your destination and be inclined to go all out! So do line your stomach with something light.
3. Fill your plate with healthier options
Apart from being mindful of how much you eat, you should also keep an eye on what you eat. Of course, the easy way out here is that you can’t dictate what the host will serve and it would just be totally rude if you don’t sample the fare so… eat you must, right?
While it’s true that you would be an ungracious guest if you refused everything on offer, it would be safe to say that every open house you go to would have options that are healthier than others. Train yourself to go for the healthier dishes. Scan the table to see what’s on offer and take the healthier options first. For example, take the fresh fruit instead of the baked goods, maybe the soto instead of the nasi biryani. Have the ikan bakar or satay instead of the fried chicken. Having some protein at every meal is good as it’ll keep you satiated and reduce your cravings for the sweet and unhealthier stuff.
Of course, you’d want your fill ketupat and lemang too so go for it. However, do keep in mind that you will be seeing plenty of these particular dishes throughout the month so you don’t need to eat your fill all in one day!
4. Hydrate healthily
Don’t forget to keep hydrated. It is easy to forget to drink so make it a conscious effort to drink your fill of water. And yes, you read that right, water - not sweet and fizzy drinks. Apart from water being very important to your health, it also serves a purpose in helping you to not overeat. Drinking water will help to fill you up and you’ll be better able to resist taking that second helping. If you're not used to drinking plain sky juice, try these 7 ways you can make water invigorate your tastedbuds! Bring a flask with you if you must; this will allow you to rehydrate in the car as you go from one open house to another. If your host isn’t serving water, then make smart choices. For example, if your options are a sweet carbonated cola or a cup of unsweetened tea, then choose the tea!
5. Stay active
And although you’re on your Raya break, it’s no excuse to forgo the exercise! Make it a fun activity for your family to do together – even a walk around the block is better than nothing. Although if you come from a rather competitive family, then organising matches or competitions would be most effective – they won’t even realise that they’re doing something healthy as they’d be having too much fun! Or get together and try fun partnerr exercises!
These tips should help you have a healthier Raya but even if you have a temporary lapse, don’t stress about it too much. Just pick yourself up and do better next time.
Wishing you and your loved ones Selamat Hari Raya and Eid Mubarak!