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Eating healthy during festive season

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As we approach the festive season, there is bound to be a potpourri of celebrations, parties, and carnivals where food, drinks, and alcohol may likely be consumed with exuberance.

Dietary guidelines and patterns are often disregarded during merry moments like this. So, the saying: “We eat to live and not live to eat” is often dismissed in favour of excessive consumption of food and alcohol, which has negative effects on the health and wellbeing of individuals. Continuous excessive food and alcohol consumption predisposes an individual to non-communicable diseases like, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis and hypertension.

Even a moment of indulgence can leave an individual with a bitter experience to deal with for several years. Therefore, one has to be careful about what one eats and drinks this season. Previous articles that reviewed the importance of 100% fruit juice are very relevant to this series. Let us look back on how far we have come on this ‘juicy’ journey. We have had different discussions on 100% fruit juice, its positive impacts on healthy living and why it should be a part of our daily diets. I have also examined topics such as five surprising health benefits of orange fruit juice, healthy ways to revitalise your body after fasting, and antioxidant/healthy living: the role of 100% fruit juice.

Having discussed these topics exhaustively, it is believed that more persons are now aware of the benefits of 100% fruit juice. It is important you apply the knowledge in your day-to-day living, as this season will likely test your discipline and willpower to apply the knowledge.

Eating food goes beyond providing sustenance. Healthy food has curative properties. Scientific evidence recently established the fact that some food nutrients cure certain diseases. An unhealthy diet, inadequate daily physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits are responsible for some chronic non-communicable diseases.

100% fruit juice as the festive season companion
For all the meals that would be consumed during this festive period and going forward, the importance of having a glass of 100% fruit juice alongside meals cannot be overstated. This is because the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines include 100% juice as part of the fruit group, and notes that up to half of the daily fruit intake could come from 100% fruit juice.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 100% fruit juice is equivalent to 62kcal or around three percent of daily energy requirements based on a 2,000kcal diet. In Italy, the recommended daily juice portion is 200ml. In the United States, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines uses a cup equivalent equal to 237 milligrammes, as a reference for whole fruits and fruit juices. We should know that the amount of fruit each person needs each day depends on their level of physical activity, age, gender or other health requirements.
Responsible indulgence – Recommendations on portion control during the festive season

Adequate nutrition is essential for health and well being at every stage of life. No single food by itself, except breast-milk, provides all the nutrients in the right amount that will promote growth and maintain a healthy life. Hence, you must be sure to consume the right foods daily to achieve the right calorie intake. This in turn must be complemented with optimum energy expenditure to achieve good health.

Fundamentally, portion control is a key issue during festive seasons. So, do not be carried away with the hype of celebrations. Keep a check on the quantity of food you consume and your daily calorie intake. You can enjoy your meals this season without compromising on your health and wellbeing.

Additional tips for the festive season
Keep yourself hydrated especially because of higher temperatures at this time. Daily consumption of water and 100% fruit juices will help with this. Avoid staying up late and eating unhealthy snacks, which affect digestion. And you should not eat everything that is presented in front of you. Control the cravings to eat more after you have exceeded your recommended dietary allowance and/or your stomach is full.Finally, do your body system a favour by keeping a pack of 100% fruit juice with you. This should be your companion as you celebrate during the holidays. Have a juicy yuletide season!
*Olusola Malomo is a registered dietitian (Twitter @malomoolusola)

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