Christmas is a beautiful season where families and friends travel from all parts of the world and return home to climax the year with a beautiful feast of love while it is also time for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus sharing love through gifts ranging from food, clothes and shoes. As we celebrate love with friends and families, lets start sharing the love with our bodies first through prioritizing of healthy dietary and lifestyle practices this Christmas and beyond as a way to start the year with a healthy body free from chronic diseases. Here is some nutrition guide to start and continue with;

1. Always plan your meals ahead of time: Planning your meals helps you prioritize and select healthy food choices as well as shop them in bulk at affordable prices before the increase in prices or shortage during the Christmas season. Planning would also help you forecast the number of meals to be prepared based on budget preventing over spending into the new year budget. A dietitian can help plan your meals this Christmas and beyond.

2. Cut down on sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages and enjoy your African beverages: Africa has a collection of healthy homemade beverages low in sugar and caffeine but rich in vitamins, mineral and antioxidants. The recipe for these local beverages varies from country to country and are mostly made from herbs, whole grains, legumes, and healthy spices with some being fermented under hygienic biological factors (less harm). The health benefits of these drinks include, boosting of immunity, regulation of blood sugar, pressure, and cholesterol, and improving heart, hair and skin health. Some local African drinks include non-fermented palm wine, “wonjo or sobolo” juice made from dried hibiscus flower, baobab juice, “attaya” “Lamugin” (ginger drink), “asaana” (caramelized corn) and “zobo” (dried roselle plant flowers) and “kunu” (made from tiger nut).

3. Make all your meals colourful this Christmas: Generally, fruits and vegetables makes your meals attractive, appealing and stimulates appetite both in children and adults. The orange colour of carrot, the redness of tomatoes and beets, the greenness of “kontomire”, cabbage, cucumber, lettuce, and the yellowish pepper and tomatoes invests vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into your body that works together to protect you against cancer, heart disease, vision loss and other diseases.

4. Spice your meals with natural spices only: The secret to the salivating aroma, great taste and appealing look of African meals is our food spices. These spices are natural and organic rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and contains less sodium as compared artificial spices on our shelves. The high sodium content of artificial spices is dangerous to your heart. Some natural you can consider include ginger, garlic, guinea pepper, cinnamon, cumin, rosemary, cloves, African nutmeg, African bird pepper, and “prekese” (aidan fruit), and turmeric, etc.

5. Fry less and Boil or Grill more: Take a break, and reflect on the number of fried foods you have been eating for the past 11 months. Isn’t that dangerous? Yes, it is… because most of these fried foods contain saturated and trans fats that contributes to heart problems and excessive weight gain. Now take another break and count the number of grilled or boiled foods you ate for past 11 months. Isn’t that less than the fried foods? Yes, it is… so that’s the harm you causing your body. This Christmas less try poaching our meat, fish and chicken or even oven or charcoal grill them to reduce their fat content rather than frying to add more oil. Depending on your country or town of origin you grill or poach your fish, meat and chicken into stews and soups and enjoy them with your rice, potatoes, fufu, banku or kenkey.

We hope to take this journey together as one happy family. For any questions, comment below or email us. I am here to help guide you through your diet journey. I got you sisters & brothers.

Laryea. Amartei
Your New Dietitian

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