The National Nutrition Centre has urged Barbadians to eat responsibly for the holidays.

As a result, the Centre has issued some tips to help members of the public eat their way to a healthy and prosperous new year. Nutritionist, Beverly Stanford said that while the Yuletide period was a time when most people ate in excess, there were many ways in which they could enjoy nutritious dishes.

"Those extra pounds can be avoided through mindful eating in moderation and a few simple strategies. The holidays are a time to enjoy friends, family and food. And contrary to popular belief, you can have all three without putting on the extra pounds," Mrs. Stanford explained.

Here are some tips to a happier and healthier new year: Serve your main meal (dinner or lunch) with large quantities of vegetables.

Vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals and will give you a feeling of fullness so that you don’t over eat. Steam your vegetables – steaming cooks vegetables without submersing them in water, so they are more likely to retain their vitamins and minerals. When preparing macaroni pie use skim milk and low fat cheese and make your own gravy instead of using cubes or granules which tend to be high in salt.

When it comes to the traditional [holiday] drinks such as sorrel, you may add raisins, dried lime peel and ginger when steeping the sorrel.

This adds flavour and the drink will need less sugar. Barbadians are also reminded to cut down on the sugar and fat in recipes when making cakes, puddings, pone and sweet breads. Choose to eat small portions of the ones that you select. High-calorie beverages such as soft drinks, juice drinks, energy drinks and alcohol add calories just like solid foods. Whenever possible, replace these drinks with plenty of water. If you are a nut lover don’t forget to buy only the unsalted ones.

Eat slowly as it will prevent what may be described as being ???uncomfortably full’. Doing this helps you to consume only what your body needs to feel satisfied.

Get active – just don’t eat and relax or sleep – take a walk, play games or even dance away some calories.

While everyone likes the odd treat now and then, persons are advised to balance this with some healthy options, such as fruit salad instead of ice cream. If you attend a buffet, try to visit the table only once and make an effort to avoid the foods that are high in fat. Persons are also asked to make a supermarket list and stick to it and keep away from those aisles which create the most temptation.

Turkey is a good source of protein and its meat is low in fat. Most of the fat in a cooked turkey is found in the skin so it is advisable to take the skin off before eating. In addition, Barbadians should use smaller plates and bowls to help them eat less. "We tend to fill up the dish we’re using and then eat it all. Our brains also think we are getting more when the same amount of food is placed in a smaller dish." Mrs. Stanford said.


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