With Christmas drawing near and festivities in full swing, the Department of Health (DOH)-5 in Bicol is taking the lead in promoting a holiday season centred on health and safety.
Arlene Riario, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) regional program coordinator, recently addressed the public in a press conference. She urged the public to prioritise nutritious foods and safe toys to ensure a festive yet health-conscious celebration.
Navigating the Temptations of the Season
The holiday season often beckons with a plethora of delectable treats and indulgent meals, challenging our commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Riario acknowledges the difficulty of making healthy choices during the season. Despite this, she emphasises that with strategic planning and prioritisation, it is indeed possible to strike a harmonious balance between savouring festive foods and being mindful of our health. She reiterates the importance of incorporating nutrient-rich options such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains into holiday menus. Managing portion sizes and opting for alternatives like water, herbal tea, or infused water over sugary drinks and alcohol are key components of this health-conscious approach.
Making Thoughtful Choices at Celebrations
The season is synonymous with parties and gatherings, and Riario offers practical advice on making informed food choices in such settings. She encourages individuals to survey the buffet before loading their plates. In addition, she also advises opting for healthier alternatives while being cautious of high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sugar foods. Selective indulgence in holiday treats allows for enjoyment without compromising overall health. Practicing mindfulness during meals—savoring each bite and paying attention to what one consumes—contributes to a more gratifying and health-focused holiday experience.
Incorporating Physical Activities
Riario emphasises the significance of incorporating physical activities into the holiday routine. Amidst the celebratory feasts, maintaining an active lifestyle can help prevent diseases and offset the potential impact of indulgent holiday meals. Simple activities such as brisk walking, a short workout, or engaging in festive activities that involve movement are enough as long as you keep yourself active during the holiday. This is because staying active contributes to overall well-being and adds an extra layer of joy to the holiday season.
Safe and Age-Appropriate Toys
Moving beyond nutritional considerations, the DOH-Bicol emphasises the critical role of choosing safe and age-appropriate toys for children. According to the department, a safe toy should align with a child’s physical capabilities, mental age, and social development. It should also be considered well-constructed, durable, and suitable for their age. The agency aims to ensure a safe and joyous holiday season for children. Therefore, they underscore the importance of parental supervision during the playtime of children.
Responsible Packaging Disposal
In addition to advocating for safe play, the DOH urges parents to dispose of packaging responsibly. It should also be kept out of the reach of children. This precautionary measure prevents potential hazards associated with packaging materials. Additionally, it contributes to creating a safe environment for children to enjoy the holiday season without unnecessary risks.
As the festive countdown begins, the DOH-5’s call for health-conscious celebrations serves as a poignant reminder to prioritise well-being during this joyous time. By making thoughtful food choices, incorporating physical activities, selecting age-appropriate toys, and responsibly disposing of packaging, individuals and families can embrace the holiday season with a holistic commitment to health and safety. May this season be not only merry. May it also be a time of nurturing and cherishing the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones.