Eating Smartly During Hari Raya

This upcoming month, we will be welcoming the joyous festival of Hari Raya Puasa! A traditional holiday celebrated by our Muslim friends after a month of fasting during Ramadan. Prior to the main event, bazaars along the streets of Geylang Serai will be decked with colourful lights and filled with savoury treats! Fueled by the joys and laughter of families and friends, the ambiance is one that is not to be forgotten. Besides being a preparation for Hari Raya, these bazaars have also turned into an iconic event for everyone to enjoy!

It is a common sight to see families coming down to shop for traditional Malay costumes like Baju Kurung and Baju Melayu at the bazaar, getting ready to flaunt the newest designs together as a unit. By dressing up in matching colours and prints, Hari Raya has also become a fun family affair that everyone looks forward to every year! As the occasion is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation, families and friends typically gather in each other’s houses to catch up and strengthen relationships. Little ones are also given sweets and green packets, making visitings more enjoyable and memorable.

Without a doubt, the main highlight of the Hari Raya celebrations is the array of sumptuous food whipped up for the visiting guests. This is the time we indulge in spreads that typically consist of favourites like spicy rendang, sweet kuihs, and ketupats! There is so much goodness made available to revel in! As we are surrounded by rich cuisine, there are many ways to enjoy it while staying healthy and being more conscious of the way we consume them. With that being said, let’s see how we can make Hari Raya a fun and healthy occasion for everyone.

Establishing Proper Eating Habits

Maintaining a healthy eating behaviour is just one of the many ways we can eat smartly this Hari Raya! It is always tempting when we have a spread of delicious food waiting for us upon our visits but the ability to exercise a disciplined eating behaviour can go a long way for us and our health.

Before embarking on house visits, let’s try to not leave on an empty stomach. We can do so by starting our day with a healthy and well-balanced breakfast. This can help make sure that we would not be susceptible to overeating and overindulging later on in the day!

Eat slowly and soak in the feel-good moments the festivity has to offer. By doing so, we are doing a favour for our health as our body has enough time to acknowledge that it is filled to its capacity. Through this, we can prevent overeating. As for beverages, go for homemade cordial drinks as we can always control the sugar, unlike carbonated drinks to keep the calorie count low. Alternatively, try opting for water to quench our thirst or wash down those delicious foods instead. By inculcating healthy eating behaviour with these helpful tips, we are not only looking out for ourselves but our loved ones too!

Moderate Consumption

Hari Raya is the best time to get all kinds of delicacies like lontong and rendang but we should always remember to be aware of what we are putting into our bodies. Simply put, to enjoy our favourite food and to take care of our bodies, we can choose to eat smaller portions or request a smaller plate when we are about to feast at our loved one’s homes. The concept of a smaller plate creates an illusion that the portions taken are large enough to satisfy our appetite.

Avoiding foods with high levels of salt might just decrease the risk of getting high blood pressure. Processed foods like banana chips or tapioca chips can always be found easily in front of a group of guests and they are suggested to be consumed in moderation as they might encourage dehydration and thirst. The same can be said for sweet and high-fat foods such as Tapak Kuda and Kueh Lapis as well!

We can enjoy the occasional sweet and salty treats but we have to be responsible for the amount consumed so that potential health issues are preventable! With moderate consumption, we will always have the opportunity to try every dish without feeling too full or overeating.

Healthy Substitutes

As a host, we could always choose to make healthier changes to the feast we put out for our visiting guests. It is common to treat our guests to nostalgic traditional recipes on this festive occasion. When we make some adjustments to our menu, all of us can enjoy a healthier Hari Raya. Some examples include making a ketupat over a lemang as the rice is steamed instead of being cooked with coconut milk or cooking mee soto over curry mee as it is less oily.

Here are some healthy ingredients to be mindful of when we are about to cook up a feast. It is traditional to use coconut milk for most dishes but we could opt for a lighter version of coconut milk or substitute it with plant-based milk without changing the taste of your food too drastically. Choose to cook with healthier oils like olive or canola oils instead of palm oil. There is a variety of healthy oils by Naturel that we can choose from Grocery Owl. On the other hand, try light stir-frying, grilling, or baking, as it helps to retain the original taste and nutrients of the dishes.

Simply switching out white rice to brown rice can make your meal much healthier. Try out this healthy Brown Rice Lemak recipe from us to whip up something new and delicious for your loved ones.

Most desserts are full of sugar so an alternative would be to use Naturel’s Organic Coconut Nectar as it is a natural sweetener with low GI. Additionally, we could serve up a colourful fruit platter as an alternative to a dessert tray of dodol or a wajik. With some minor refinement, our Hari Raya feast can still be mouth-watering and healthy at the same time.

Days After Fasting

By the end of the fasting month, we would have formed a habit of not having meals at regular times. Going back to having them right away might just cause us to inflict excess stress on our bodies. So how can we prevent this from happening?

For starters, let’s reconfigure our bodies to have regular breakfast in the mornings. The main goal for this is not to skip breakfast as it helps to fill us up, preventing us from feeling hungry quickly. Foods like junk food, fried food, and fatty food may cause indigestion, or bloating after a fast so it is best to avoid them or have them in moderation.

Drink lots of water and remain hydrated as it would prevent hunger pangs and lead to a feeling of fullness. This is best practised everyday and even more so after ending your fasting month. Last but not least, we should always eat lots of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains to ensure we get our required fibre, proteins and necessary nutrients. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that our transition from the fasting month is a healthy one!

Like most festive holidays, Hari Raya brings out the most appetising foods and treats to enjoy with our loved ones through communal eating. Just be mindful of what we eat and make simple changes because it can go a long way in preventing certain health issues. So let’s make this Raya holiday a healthy and memorable one!

From all of us at Naturel, Selamat Hari Raya!