The holiday season is a time for celebration, indulgence, and, of course, delicious food. But amidst the festive mood, there lies a sobering reality. Studies show that there is a spike in deaths during the Christmas season. The main culprit is cardiac mortality or death by heart attack, stroke, and similar diseases. Couple that with holiday stress and heavy drinking and you’ve got yourself a literal killer.
Ligtas Christmas sa Healthy Pilipinas: Magdiwang nang kumpleto at ligtas!
This year, the Department of Health (DOH) continues its mission of promoting a safer and healthier Christmas celebration. One of the rallying cries of Ligtas Christmas para sa Healthy Pilipinas 2023 is “Masayang magsalo-salo kung may healthy handa this Christmas.” Through its Healthy Pilipinas project, particularly the Healthy Handaan sub-campaign, the DOH encourages Filipinos to embrace healthier alternatives to their favorite “Pinoy handa.”
The Healthy Handaan sub-campaign focuses on three key messages: Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior.
One of the campaign’s main goals is to educate Filipinos on the benefits of a “balanced, well-moderated, and varied diet.” It aims to open people’s eyes to the fact that you can still have a celebratory meal and skip the cholesterol-rich lechon, crispy pata, or fried chicken, processed meat like Christmas ham, and sweet desserts such as leche flan.
By spreading awareness about the financial, societal, and health benefits of serving “cheaper and healthier alternatives” like roasted chicken, baked fish, vegetable salad, and fruits during the holidays and other occasions, the DOH believes families can avoid diet-related health issues and continue celebrating the holidays with their loved ones for many years to come.
With the right knowledge comes the right attitude. Knowing you can celebrate Christmas with healthier and more affordable food can help shift your perspective. One must not feel the pressure of preparing a grandiose Christmas feast when they don't have the budget or if they have a history of health issues. Borrowing money or spending your whole 13th-month bonus just to have a nice spread on Christmas is impractical and will only set you back financially. Remember, the spirit of Christmas is not about the extravagance of the food but about the joy of sharing meals and moments with loved ones.
The Healthy Handaan campaign also endorses the right behavior during the holiday season. This simply means eating in moderation and avoiding alcoholic beverages as much as possible. Even if you prepare a simpler yet healthier Noche Buena or Media Noche, you should still avoid overeating, especially if you plan on going to bed right after the festivities.
Practice mindful eating by paying attention to your hunger cues and eating slowly while savoring each bite. This helps you avoid overeating and appreciate the flavors of your meal. Control your portion sizes, as well. Use smaller plates and only get enough food to sustain you until the next meal. Instead of alcoholic or sugary drinks, go with water, fresh fruit juice, or unsweetened tea.
Remember, the holiday season is about enjoying time with loved ones, not just about the food. As the DOH puts it, “Sama-sama tayo ngayong Pasko! Masayang magsalo-salo na may healthy handa this Christmas.”