Stay healthy by following these healthy holiday eating tips

As you indulge, stay informed. Merry-making in moderation means one less resolution to make, health-wise, in the New Year.

Eat Smart and Don't Risk Food Poisoning

Adapt healthy holiday eating tips, especially if you have a pre-disposed condition

DON’T RISK FOOD POISONING, AND RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO BINGE.

The occasional over-indulgence does not pose a major risk to health, but moderation is key. “If [overeating] becomes a habit, it could lead to ill-effects such as diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension,” says Ms Pauline Xie, Senior Dietitian at National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP).

Healthy, Holiday Eating Tips

If you have diabetes, you can continue to enjoy festive snacks in moderation, but avoid skipping regular meals to enjoy more of these treats. Festive snacks high in sugar will cause greater fluctuations in blood sugar levels. They can also lead to weight gain, unhealthy cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. “Instead of skipping meals, limit portion sizes,” advises Ms Xie. “Spread out your carbohydrate intake by eating small and regular meals throughout the day.”

  • Eat a high-fibre snack, such as a banana with peanut butter, before you head out. This will help you feel full and prevent overeating.
  • Prevent binge-eating. Have a hearty breakfast of wholegrains and protein — such as scrambled eggs with wholegrain toast — to regulate your blood sugar levels for the day.
  • Load food onto a smaller plate to ‘trick’ your brain into thinking you have had enough
  • “Sharing festive treats with friends and relatives is another way to avoid excess weight gain,” says Ms Pauline Xie.

Related article: How Much Calories Do I Need A Day?

Common Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Recognise early indications of food poisoning

If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical advice promptly.
Stomach cramps, Fever,  Diarrhoea, Vomiting

TUMMY TROUBLE FROM FOOD POISONING

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), food poisoning refers to food-borne illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses or chemicals. Earlier this year, 130 people across Singapore became ill after eating food from the same caterer because the latter had flouted regulations that require such food to carry a timestamp. Cooking at home is not necessarily a safer option, as common kitchen mistakes can also cause food poisoning.

Here’s how you can protect yourself and your guests.

HOW TO AVOID FOOD POISONING WHEN CATERING:

  1. ORDER THE CORRECT QUANTITY:  This will minimise leftovers which when stored for a prolonged period, can increase the risk of food poisoning.
  2. KEEP IT COOL:  Check that uncooked food, such as sashimi, is delivered chilled. Keep such food refrigerated until ready to serve.
  3. CHOOSE AN APPROVED CATERER: Only order from caterers approved by the National Environment Agency (NEA) — visit nea.gov.sg for the list. Ensure that the food is delivered just one hour before the time of serving. This reduces the time that food is kept at room temperature, at which bacteria thrive.
  4. DISPLAY THE CATERER’S ‘CONSUME BY’ TIMESTAMP PROMINENTLY:  This will deter guests from taking leftovers.

HOW TO AVOID FOOD POISONING WHEN COOKING:

  1. CLEAN YOUR FRIDGE REGULARLY: Discarding spoiled foods will help to prevent accidental food poisoning. Since we don’t always wash our hands before retrieving or storing food items or condiments, a good cleaning is needed to remove germs in the refrigerator.
  2. THAW FOOD IN THE FRIDGE, NOT ON THE COUNTER: This prevents bacteria from multiplying to unsafe levels. Avoid cross-contamination in the fridge by catching condensation drips.
  3. DON’T WASH RAW POULTRY: This can spread campylobacter — a bacteria that causes food poisoning — to kitchen surfaces and utensils. Cook meat thoroughly to get rid of such bacteria.
  4. CORRECT THE DIAL:  Keep your fridge between 0°C and 4°C — any higher and you’re creating optimum conditions for bacteria to multiply.

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