Eid-al-Adha or Ileya as we fondly called it growing up was one of my absolute favorite holidays. As a child it was a time of excess. Excess food, excess gifts, excess love, excess everything. No matter what part of the country family members were in, all roads lead to our town in Osun. Everyone arrived home at least 2 days before the main event. From compound to compound, the ceremonial ram would be tied to a tree, generously being fed. In the case of my father’s house, it was always several rams and several cows to feed the treasure trove of people that visited for days unend.
Of course the central event is the food, glorious food. From Jollof to ewedu, amala and so on. Since the feast is centered on the sacrificial animal, meat was always the major part. The meat is prepped, boiled, fried then stewed. At the end of our stay, we would take back sacks of meat to Lagos. Back then we ate until we literally couldn’t anymore. Now excessive eating is a thing of the past due to the sad realization that fat is a thing, someone bring back my childhood oblivion please!
If your lifestyle is anything like mine, balance is key even during holidays. If you have been trying to live healthy or for some of us lose weight; this period might be trigger inducing and perhaps cause some to backslide. There is no reason to panic! I have some tips and tricks that you can employ in order to eat well, enjoy the festivities and still keep on track with your fitness goals.
Eat Before You Eat
That’s right; if you know you are not going to be faced with the healthiest options, have a meal before the feast. A smoothie or healthy breakfast in the morning will not only keep your blood sugar stable, it will reduce the total amount of unhealthy food you end up consuming.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
One of the highest offenders in terms of calories and hormonal interactions is sugar. The fastest way to consume large amounts of sugar is through the consumption of “Soft drinks”. Stay away from soda, malt, alcohol etc. water is the absolute best calorie free option. If you must indulge in a drink, sugar free zobo isn’t just refreshing, it is extremely low calorie and good for you too. Best part, making it is super simple.
Simply combine 2 cups dried zobo leaves, teaspoon cloves, peel of 1 pineapple with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, add in 4 sliced oranges. Turn off heat. Cover and leave to steep for 3-4 hrs. Strain and enjoy over ice!
If you are the active type, you might consider burning calories before you consume them. To burn about 1200 calories will take 2 hours of rigorous physical activity. Options include tennis, squash, swimming and running. Another easy way to burn calories is to actually participate in the cooking process. Cooking isn’t just fun, it can burn a whole lot of calories.
Stay away from the “Ipanu” aka Chops
Heaven knows not all calories are created equal. The most offending of calories right up there with sugary drinks are small chop calories. The very interesting part is that they are not considered meals even though a small serving often pack more calories than actual full blow meals. If it’s flour based (puffpuff etc), battered in flour, wrapped in pastry STAY AWAY. LOOK AWAY. CAST AND BIND. Whatever you need to do to avoid small chops, do. The safest thing to eat is already what you have in abundance during Eid which is meat. Instead of small chops, have some peppered meat.
Build a Healthy Plate
Focus your plate around vegetables and protein. Ignore or have very little calorie laden options like rice and swallow. Even during a feast, here is what your plate should look like.
50% vegetables, 30% protein and 20% Starchy carbohydrate, you will still achieve the same level of satiety as with a carbohydrate heavy plate however this will be at much lower calorie point without hormonal disruption.
Happy Eid celebration everyone! Enjoy.