Bajans urged to make healthier food choices this Christmas Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

The National Nutrition Centre has offered some advice to help Barbadians successfully navigate the buffet table this Christmas season by making healthier food choices.

Community Nutrition Officer 1, Carla Ramsay, explained that while this time of year was usually one of indulgence, the basic rules of good nutrition still obtained.

“Include a variety of nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables in your daily diet or on your holiday menu. Also, use less salt in your meal preparations. When you are seasoning your meats, instead of lime and salt, just use lime or vinegar. Use low sodium seasonings and beware of the additional salt that may add up from certain packaged seasonings,” Ramsay advised.

While it was customary for persons to throw caution to the wind during the holiday period with the hopes of getting back on track in the New Year, she pointed out that this approach was not a particularly good idea.

“This is not advisable because a lot of damage can be done in a short period of time. Usually, people are shocked when they see their blood results early in the New Year. It is a season that all of us can enjoy. We are not stopping anyone from having their favourite foods but be mindful of how much and how often you are going to have them. You can eat nutritiously, even in December,” she emphasised.

Ramsay offered a few tips to help persons, especially those with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), to choose wisely when at family gatherings or corporate events:

Eat before you leave so you don’t over indulge on the wrong foods. Don’t save up calories by eating less throughout the day, so you can indulge at a party or event. That generally doesn’t work out well for most people.Walk with a healthy snack, especially when out shopping. This could be a banana, apple, nuts, etc.Scan the buffet or food table ahead of eating time.Choose one or two splurges instead of items you can have any other time of year.Aim to make the plate look festive by including colourful fruits and vegetables.Water is still a viable option. Be mindful that most drinks will be sweetened so you can choose a smaller glass.If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and alternate each alcoholic beverage with water.A polite ‘no thank you’ can work. Eat until you are satisfied not stuffed.Don’t overfill your plate. You may also choose a smaller plate and remember to eat slowly. Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, a quarter of it should be high fibre or complex starches and another quarter could be your lean protein or a vegetarian source.Also check your fullness level while eating.

“For persons with NCDs, be mindful of what you are eating. The same things that we talk about from January to November hold also in December. Make sure you have your fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, high fibre and your complex carbohydrates or starches.

“Make sure you monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure throughout the season. Like I said, it is not that you don’t have the special treats but how much and how often. They should fit into what is considered a healthy day for you,” Ramsay stated.

For further information, persons may download the National Nutrition Centre’s Healthy Eating Guide by clicking here.