With Hari Raya dawning upon us in several days, I thought it’ll be a great idea to build up from the healthy habits we’ve built up from the Healthy Melayu Meal Plan.
So, lo and behold, I’ve created this Ultimate Healthy Melayu Game Plan for Hari Raya. Today’s guide is broken up into two parts. Part I which is today, we will be talking about your game plan for Eid including:
- Building healthy relationships with treat foods (oh yes there’ll be a lot of that!)
- Eating slowly and mindfully
Tomorrow, I’ll show you exactly how to portion out those ketupats and rendangs and how to eat properly after one whole month of fasting so make sure you come back tomorrow to finish up the rest of the Game Plan.
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Hari raya is a special occasion and is my second favourite month after Ramadan as for the most of us. After a month of implementing excellent nutrition and exercise habits, why not learn how to move forward so you know exactly what to do when hari raya comes?
You’re ready? Let’s do this.
It’s a once in a year event
Remember, Eid is only a once in a year event. You might think that I restrict myself during Eid when it comes to food but to tell you the truth, I don’t.
See, after a month of fasting and ibadah, Eid is supposed to be a joyous occasion. It’s when you get together with your families that you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s about mingling and laughing and hearing Dad jokes. And of course, it’s a great chance to enjoy some delicacies made by your family members — it’s not easy making kuih-muih.
But that does not mean you should just let all your fitness goals and adopted nutrition practice go out the window where the lampu klap-klip is.
There are ways for you to still be conscious and yet have fun, and at 1-Habit Nutrition, we call this Mindful Eating.
Mindful eating works three ways:
- Being absolutely in control of what you’re having by being the primary decision maker of your choice of food.
- Checking in with your hunger levels before you eat, and after you ate.
- Eating slowly, taking time to chew your food and swallowing it and taking another bite.
Let’s look at these three closer.
1. Being absolutely in control of what you’re having by being the primary decision maker of your choice of food.
Let’s face it, during events like Eid when everyone is around you all the time, sometimes we have no choice but to eat. It’s true. When I go to Cik Nah’s house, I know it from the start that she will definitely make me eat.
And then you have that Makcik of yours who be like “Ah, tambah lah lagi.”
But let me tell you the truth. You have absolute control over the choices of food that you have during Hari Raya and Eid. Period.
Your situation: You’re someone who feels uncomfortable saying no when someone has cooked for their guests.
If you feel uncomfortable skipping the ketupat and rendang at your fourth house visit, by all means have it. But you should already know that you’re the kind of person who will feel bad saying no.
And that’s okay.
Your game plan: Eat seriously small at every house.
Here’s how it looks like.
- 9am: You know you’ll be having breakfast with your entire family before heading out to your first house visit. Don’t overeat at this meal.
- 10.30am: First house. Eat again, have 1/2 a palm sized of ketupat, 1/2 a palm sized of rendang and just a little bit of sayur lodeh.
- 12pm: Second house. Eat again, within the same portion as the first house.
- 1.30pm: Third house. Eat again, within the same portion as the first and second house. You get what I mean.
Take small meals, it’s fine. And don’t feel bad on Hari Raya. It’s not a nice feeling.
Oh and if you have some nosy Makcik who be like – “Sikit je makan, diet ke?” Reply, “Oh tak cik, saja je so boleh makan kat semua rumah.”
Straight forward. Boom.
Your situation: You have a Makcik who always tells you to tambah from when you were a kid. Perhaps also the reason why you’re super cute and chubby when you’re young.
Your game plan: Say no. Really.
Look, you’ve already had that first serving. Build up that inner strength of yours that you have and say no to the second serving. Firmly.
And then move on to “Cik kerja macam mana?”
And like I said, you have absolute control over your choice of food. Don’t short change yourself.
Your situation: You only have one house to go to, your nenek house.
If you’re like me who will be staying at my Nenek’s house the whole day, then your game plan is easy. Eat small meals every 2-3 hours. Chances are you’ll be busy mingling and playing catch up with your cousins so that 2-3 hours will go by fast.
Tomorrow I will show you how to portion out your meals for Hari Raya but keep this in mind today.
2. Checking in with your hunger levels before you eat, and after you ate.
The second part of Mindful Eating is to check in with your hunger levels before and after you eat.
This will require some practice and it’s something I work on with my clients in Coaching but it’s a good habit to have when it comes to eating.
How do you check in with your hunger levels?
Firstly, before you start eating, ask yourself how hungry you are on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being starving and 5 still full that you can wait another hour or two.
We want to be around 3-5, where you’re not starving and yet you’re not full. This way your meals will be quite controlled and you won’t be too ravishing because you’re not that hungry.
If you’re still at 5, I suggest waiting out for another hour until you’re at 3. That’ll make your meals a little more satisfying.
Finally, after you’ve finished eating, this includes all desserts and drinks meaning you’ve walked away from the dining table, ask yourself how full you are on a scale of 3 to 7, 3 being full that your next meal can be in about 2-3 hours, 7 being super stuffed you can’t feel your toes.
We want to be around 3-5, and if we are, it simply means we’ve ate until we’re 80% full which is great.
If you constantly start eating at 1 and finish eating at 7, practice eating a little more mindfully. Which leads us to our third Mindful Eating point…
3. Eating slowly, taking time to chew your food and swallowing it before taking another bite.
Eating slowly is important for health. So many of us rush through our food because we have some work deadline to meet (I was guilty of that too once upon a time), and when we do it too often, we just naturally eat super fast even if we don’t have a work deadline. Stop.
Don’t do that to yourself.
Firstly, eating slowly allows your stomach’s hormones to react, telling your brain that you’re full and you should stop eating. It takes about 15-20 mins to do this.
Eating slowly also means you’ll be chewing more, your food is smaller and digestion is more effective.
This Hari Raya, take some time to complete your meals, at least about 20 mins each time. Talk to your cousins. Put down your utensils in between bites. And make it conscious.
You’ll find that you naturally don’t want to eat those kuih sarang semut after a huge plate of lontong because your brain is telling you that you’re full. Win.
Tomorrow we will go exactly into how to portion out your food during Eid and moving forward to your own healthy practices after Ramadan.
Until then, please eat mindfully!