Eat Right For A Healthy Festive Season

03 April 2024


With Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration around the corner, aside from involving in various interesting and traditional activities, indulging in delicious cuisine is definitely something that every individual looks forward to after a month long of fasting.

A common knowledge is that foods such as snacks and drinks served during festive season usually contain high levels of fat, sugar, salt, and calories.

In the excitement of enjoying the dishes, many people would not realise that overeating will have harmful effects on health and the body.

Celeste Lau, dietetics senior manager at Sunway Medical Centre, said that overeating especially during festive period will result in significant weight gain and expose them to risk of unwanted diseases.

Effects And Risks Of Overeating

“It is not impossible for an individual’s weight to increase by three kilograms in a month if they attend many social activities such as open houses and consume many main dishes or heavy meals including various snacks and sweet drinks.

“They would be exposed to the risk of heart disease or even sudden death if they eat and drink too much, eat uncontrollably, and lack rest and sleep. Although the risk is low or rare, it may happen,” she explained.

Healthy Lifestyle And Diet Guarantee Long-Term Health

Commenting further, Lau said that for individuals with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and chronic kidney disease, it is important for them to control their food intake and maintain their lifestyle during the festive season.

“Although the celebration of the festival doesn’t occur often, if the diet and lifestyle are not maintained, it may interfere or waste the disease preventive efforts that were done before.

“For those who are not sick, if they do not take care of their diet, and they lack rest, sleep and exercise, the common health problems experienced during festive season are weight gain, gastrointestinal problems such as flatulence, constipation, headaches, food poisoning, fever, or bacterial infection,” she explained.

Therefore, she emphasises that every individual is advised to adopt a healthy lifestyle and diet as making such decisions and choices can guarantee the wellbeing and health of the body for the long term.

“Habits are routines or things we often do while lifestyle is the way we choose to live our lives.

“We can make eating habits a lifestyle, for example, choose light food for breakfast, a little heavy food for lunch and eat a little at night because choosing the right food is an important aspect of health care,” she stressed.

Practise The Concept Of Quarter Quarter Half

She advised the public to control and reduce the consumption of foods and drinks that have high sugar content because most of the dishes served during festivals are sweet.

“Reduce foods such as cookies, cakes, chocolate, sweets, and sugary drinks, increase the intake of fresh and natural foods, and drink more plain water.

“What is important is to make sure that the food taken is balanced, simple and diverse, such as the concept of Quarter Quarter Half or the Malaysian Healthy Plate concept introduced by the government so that the food chosen is balanced according to the appropriate quantity,” she said.

Healthy eating practices habit to the concept of Quarter Quarter Half:

  • Balanced: Consists of three main food groups that supply macro and micronutrients.
  • Moderate: Following recommended portion to meet the needs.
  • Variety: Mix and match a variety of different food options from the recommended food groups.

As Hari Raya Aidilfitri is celebrated cheerfully and happily, it is important to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle so as to not affect health during and after the celebration, for yourself and others as well.

“In addition to disciplining ourselves to adopt a healthy lifestyle and diet, we can also encourage and provide healthy or balanced food and drinks to visiting guests.

“Eat according to need and don’t indulge your cravings, always remember that balanced, moderate and varied is the key to long-term health,” Lau added.

Source: OVA