Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  
Star Health

Healthy eating tips for coming Eid-ul-Azha

Tomorrow is Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest festivals of Muslims. It is time for religious celebrations, parties, family get-togethers and bulging bellies.

Eid-ul-Azha is marked with celebrations that include lots of food specially with high protein intake. For some persons, the day can also mean enjoying too much meat, sweetmeats, desserts and drinks. But excessive intake of meat and sweetmeats may force many to rush to hospitals following diarrhoea, vomiting, cardiac ailments, gastric discomfort, increased acidity, abdominal cramp, constipation and high level of sugars in the blood circulation. With a little know-how and vigilance, you can get as much enjoyment during Eid without feeling guilty or unhealthy. There are strategies to help you get through the Eid holidays without having to put your healthy-eating habits on hold.

Quality not quantity
Your favourite calorie-laden foods do not have to be completely off limits this time. Make an effort to enjoy them in smaller portions. The taste is usually enough to satisfy a craving without overindulging. To help eat smaller portions, choose a salad plate instead of a dinner plate and serve yourself.

Snack strategy
To prevent overeating during the Eid holidays, do not skip meals and arrive at an event on an empty stomach. This means eating meals at regular times throughout the day and having a light snack between meals in order to keep blood sugar levels consistent.

Healthy foods first
When serving yourself at a buffet or dinner party, fill up on healthy foods first. That means taking fatty and spicy or smoked food less and more of salad, fruits other healthy dishes. This is an easy strategy to reduce your intake of rich foods, and by round two you will not be as hungry and will be less likely to reach for the unhealthy fare.

Take calorie free liquid
The calories in alcoholic beverages can quickly add up. To avoid unnecessary liquid calories, drink plenty of water and also avoid other carbonated soft drinks. Alternate every alcoholic drink with a glass of water if you are alcoholic. If hot beverages are your vice, tea is the a good option. It is tasty and calorie free.

Plan ahead
If you attend a get-together where food is served, take a low-calorie dish to share. That way you can partake in the event and know there is at least one healthy dish you can enjoy.

Focus on activity, not on food
Start your own family traditions by planning get-togethers around activities, instead of meals. While a meal is quickly forgotten, a fun event will be remembered for years to come. Tobogganing, skating or playing a game as the focus of a get-together will take the emphasis off food and will burn calories.

Choose wisely
Most of the dishes celebrating Eid al-Azha focus on the sacrificial meat, such as cow, goat and sheep. Prepare these special dishes with low-fat sauces to keep the calories at a minimum. Use traditional spices to add extra flavour without adding extra fat.

Home care If someone becomes sick, it is really tough to get a doctor on Eid day. For this reason you can take some over the counter drugs at your home for emergency. Oral saline is well known to all used in diarroea. Incase of baby, zinc tablet should also be administered along with saline. Antacid is another usefull drug to neutralise gastric acid. Take these medicine at your home. But seek medical help when the condition becomes deteriorate.

To avoid disappointment from unrealistic goals this time, focuses on taking taste without overeating. By setting yourself realistic goals instead of an all-out ban on Eid indulgences, you are also ready to feel better about the holidays of Eid once they have ended. Do not forget the importance of exercise. Regardless of how you celebrate, healthy eating habits combined with physical activity can help you to celebrate the Eid holidays feeling the best.