CEBU CITY, Philippines — It will be Christmas in just a few weeks, but have you planned already on what would be your preparations for Noche Buena?
Delicious and enticing foods are what people usually anticipate in this celebration, yet sometimes, one might forget to consider serving healthy foods on on the Christmas eve dinner.
In an interview with a local nutritionist, she said that having healthy foods for Noche Buena must also be a priority for the families.
Dr. Parolita Mission, National Nutrition Council in Central Visayas (NNC-7) regional program coordinator, urged families to prepare “healthier food options” during the Christmas as well as in the New Year celebrations.
“One particular example that you can do is to offer healthier foods like preparing a vegetable salad, and of course include fresh fruits in the desserts,” she said in mixed English and Cebuano.
As for the main dishes, she said that they must usually be prepared with high-protein foods such as chicken, fish, and beef.
Principles of moderation and balance
With this, she reminds the public to remember the “principle of moderation.”
“Moderation is the key. It cannot be avoided to attend many parties in this season because we have a lot of social groups. The case is, you just have to have moderation in your intake and remember your nutrient requirement for the whole day,” she advised.
For instance, if a person had eaten more food during the lunch time when they attended a party, that person may reduce their food intake during dinner.
“Because you already complied with your requirement for a day, so only a small amount of food you have to intake for dinner,” she added.
She said that in order to cut food consumption, a person can skip eating snacks especially when he or she is not feeling hungry.
“Then as you look at the buffet table, as much as possible, serve a variety of foods because no single food can provide all the nutrients needed in your body,” she added.
Another principle for healthy eating is the principle of balance.
This means that all the food that a person eats during the festivity or even on a normal occasion should have varying representation, she said.
“They should not eat meat alone or foods with carbohydrates alone. For example, you already ate pasta but you also ate rice. That is too much carbohydrates. So, you should eat foods through sorting them into go, grow, and glow. It is also easy to remember that because we already studied that during our basic education,” she said.
And for those who will be preparing the foods, she encouraged them to avoid serving carbonated drinks, and serve fresh fruit juices instead.