By Marissa Dinar

Ramadhan was a month of moderation. Eat less, pray more, be kinder, nicer and less materialistic. Ground yourself. These are spectacular ideals to adhere to, as each of us requires reflection at times – and this month provides exactly the chance to do that.

But come hither the Raya hols and people tend to forget all the good done the month before and revert back to excessiveness. It’s completely harmless (as long as it’s just like, once) to splurge on clothes, decor if you want to, but food – on the other hand, can be harmful if abused. Raya propagates the consumption of extremely high calorie, high fat and sodium foods – like rendang, ketupats, and lemangs, and sirap bandungs. For the susceptible, it can lead to extreme obesity, and fatal diseases like diabetes and heart attacks.

So here are 5 major health tips that you can modify to suit you and your family during this holiday season.

  1. Pace Yourself.

Be fair to your body about the things you put in it. It’s not worth it to stuff your belly with plates and plates of rendang and pulut kuning which might cause potential bloating and heartburn. That’s what causes the inevitable “sakit perut” post-Raya open house. Notice that Raya foods hardly include fruits and veggies? Ease back into it with smaller portions. If you want to try the whole selection of Raya delicacies, have some discipline and take only a spoonful or two of each.

2) Exercise Excessively

With this one, you can go over the top. Granted, you’re going to be stuck in your skin tight baju kebayas and stiff sampins for the day but hey! when night falls and you’re camping it out with your cousins at your kampong, go out and play some outdoor games that could get your heart rate up and your sweat going!

Here are a few throwback games that require running around instead of your noses being stuck to your smartphone screens:

  • Police and Thieves
  • Galah Panjang
  • Hide and Seek (Supervision required especially at night)

If you turn your nose up at the thought of these games, try a few light workouts that you do not need equipment for!

Source: pinterest

Start with 5 repetitions, and complete 5 sets of each. To make it even more fun, suggest it as a competition amongst family members to see who has the will and fitness to complete it all without breaking a sweat!

  1. Lunges
  2. Squats (Modifiable to include: squat kicks, jump squats)
  3. The all-hated crunches (Hey, those abdominal muscles could use a bit of work after eating!)
  4. Star jumps
  5. Burpees (No, not a burping competition – but a core workout that would get you your cardio fix!)

3) One Open House

For those who have extended families based in one kampong, they tend to move from one house to another. Visiting this mak ngah who lives at 3A, then mak long at the next house, 3B so on and so forth. What you don’t realize is that technically you’re visiting within the same family tree but you’re consuming thrice, quadruple the amount of food and kuih rayas and sugary drinks prepared.

So why not ask the whole extended family to gather under one roof and hold a potluck with each family contributing one or two dishes and call it a day? That way you eat less of the same good food!

4) Subtle Substitutions

Since we’re already eating thousands of calories in one day, we should try to cut down on the sugar we take as well. One problem that’s evident in the Malay consumption of food is the seeming necessity of sweet drinks. In the month of Ramadhan, you can hardly find a buka meal which did not have a sweet jug of drinks to accompany. Drinking mineral water for buka is practically unheard of.

So I would say this one is an unconventional biggie, but I would suggest replacing sugary drinks with unsweetened teas. Best one you should try for? Green tea.

Green Tea

That one cup can give you a truckload of antioxidants as well as containing nutrients that help heighten your metabolism, cause you to lose weight, and reduce blood pressure. The taste may take a little getting used to, but its benefits are seriously unparalleled.

Matcha Green Tea

5) Chore Completions

Finally, this one can be applied to both the last few days before Raya and during Raya!

When your mum asks you to help sweep the floor, hang new curtains – quit the grumbling and get your gloves on! Apart from beautifying your house and marking the coming of a new year – you get to slog some of that fat off and build some muscles at the same time!

Same goes for during Raya, instead of napping in the afternoons after you’ve all gathered and eaten together in the mornings – trek to the kitchen and assist with the cleaning of plates and dishes, whether you’re a guy or a girl. That will give your food time to break down and be digested by your gastrointestinal system.

So give it a go! Following all these could lead to a much healthier Raya for you and your family. All the good times minus feeling like a complete potato.

Selamat Hari Raya!