My Sister And I Pledged To Care For Ourselves More From This Raya Onwards, Here’s What We Did


Syahirah Mazlan •  May 15, 2023

Ramadan 2023 passed by so quickly and we’re now already in the Hari Raya season! Hari Raya is a time for family and friends to come together to enjoy each other’s company. ✨ That being said, a gathering is never complete without a feast! We often indulge in kuih raya and sumptuous dishes at this time of the year. While we prepare for Raya and celebrate with our loved ones, we may forget to take care of ourselves especially in the midst of the festivities, food and visiting. I’m guilty of this too (especially with so much good food at every home we visit)! That’s why this Hari Raya, I’m pledging to take better care of myself by eating healthily and staying active - and my sister will be joining me too! Find out how we put our health first as we go about with our yearly Raya festivities!

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:https://bit.ly/3LnFN1F

1. Committing ourselves to a healthier lifestyle by taking the pledge

It’s important to know the limitations when it comes to changing our lifestyle! We know that we can’t possibly change our habits overnight. That’s why we decided to start by setting realistic goals that we can achieve. My sister and I may have different health goals as individuals but one goal in common that we have is to eat healthily. And we agreed to start small by committing to at least one healthy meal a day. ? On weekends, that means eating a healthful breakfast or dinner because we’ll be going for Raya visiting during lunch time and we all know how hard it is to say no to your relatives especially when they’ve spent the whole morning preparing food for you! So, we’ll be including more fruits and veggies into our daily meals as well as using healthier cooking methods to prepare our food (like baking and boiling).

2. Plan our meals in advance

My sister is the queen of planning meals while I source for ingredients. Both of us concluded that planning our meals in advance will help us avoid unhealthy food choices that we make in the spur of the moment. ? We created a meal plan for the week that includes a variety of healthful options such as stir-fried vegetables, steamed fish, egg sandwiches and grilled chicken wraps. We also plan to prepare our meals in advance (like cooking the proteins ahead of time for example) so that we don’t have to worry about cooking when we’re busy.

P.S. By pledging and making an effort to live a healthier lifestyle, you're setting an example for those around you to care for themselves too!

3. Eat mindfully

Many may wonder, “What is eating mindfully? Is it the same as planning your meals in advance?” And to that I say that eating mindfully is about being present and aware of our food and food choices. It’s not limited to the type of food you eat but more so about how much you’re eating it. For example, ensuring we’re eating a balanced meal by following the My Healthy Plate guide of Quarter plate of wholegrains, Quarter plate of protein and Half plate of fruits and vegetables. If you are unable to find a meal that fits the Quarter, Quarter, Half proportions, you can make up the missing food groups in your next meal. ?

We have begun eating slowly, chewing our food properly, and really savouring the flavours. After all, when is a better time to savour traditional and handmade dishes than Hari Raya? One thing that we’re still working on is avoiding distractions such as watching TV or using our phones while eating.

4. Choose healthier snacks

Snacking is a common sight during Hari Raya - for most people - but my sister and I love snacking all the time! ? Truthfully, we’re trying to kick the habit but Hari Raya can make that 10 times more difficult with all the yummy kuih and dessert! So, we plan to choose healthier snacks such as fruits, nuts, and yoghurt instead of chips and candies. We also plan to limit our portion sizes and amount of kuih we eat to avoid overeating - we’ve set a limit of no more than 2 pieces of kuih per house. In the long run after Raya, we aim to kick this habit of snacking for good.

5. Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of water is essential for our health and hydration, especially during Hari Raya when we tend to consume more sugary drinks. When we’re out visiting, we make sure that we drink at least 8 glasses of water per day and avoid sugary drinks such as soda and cordials! If relatives and friends ask what we’d like to drink when visiting their place, we always politely ask for lukewarm plain water. Or when we’re craving a sweet drink, we choose those with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS). It was hard at first, but we reminded ourselves that at the very least it’s worth not waking up with a sore throat the next day or adding those extra calories. ?

6. Stay active

Other than eating healthily, we also aim to stay active. Staying active was challenging to us as we often feel that we couldn’t find the time to exercise especially during Ramadan when the time passed by so quickly. However, we realised that we could break up our daily activity goals into shorter bouts and it's easier when we engage in activities we enjoy doing as a family. So now, we take the stairs instead of the lifts and join fun Zumba classes to stay active!

7. Give support to each other

My sister is my number one supporter in life. ❤️ Having her as my supporter has made it easier for me to continue working hard to achieve my health goals. We keep each other in check and support each other by cooking and exercising together, sharing healthy recipes and tips, and providing encouragement and motivation when times get tough!

Pledging to eat healthier and staying active after Ramadan may seem challenging, especially during Hari Raya when it’s a time for joy and celebration (aka many food and snack temptations)! However, it’s important to remember the bigger picture and that’s to take care of yourself so that you can continue looking after the people that you love. Think of it as self-love! You can do it! ??

Join us in this journey and take the pledge here!

This article was brought to you by the Health Promotion Board.