Molokai Fitness: Makahiki Time!
By Ayda Ersoy
Makahiki is the ancient Hawaiian festival in honor of the god Lono. I love the Makahiki season – nowadays, it means fun games, seeing everyone, watching the kids’ happy faces. And food!
We definitely need to support everyone who cooks all the food for the festival. Mahalo!
Here are some tips for the Makahiki, or any time you go out to a party or a meal, on how you can still eat healthily and at the same time have fun.
First, make sure you eat well before you go, so you’re not so hungry. When you get there, everything looks and smells delicious; there’s food all around you and everyone else is eating. It’s cheap, tasty and convenient. But it’s also loaded with calories, sodium and fat — often enough in one meal for an entire day! If you eat well at home before you go, you won’t feel too hungry, so you can still enjoy the food but you won’t overeat.
Keep your eye on the portion size, too. For example, one serving of rice is one-half cup — that’s about the size of a tennis ball. One serving of beef or chicken is three ounces, or about the size of the palm of your hand. Stay away from the extra large portions!
Try to pay attention to how the food is cooked; deep fried, pan fried, batter dipped, breaded, creamy or crispy are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats and sodium. And don’t be afraid to ask for a special, healthier order; for example, you can ask for no added sauce or dressing, or just ask to serve it on the side so you can add a little yourself. If you ask for something that they don’t have now, then maybe they can get it for next time!
Be aware of the sides that can quickly add calories, like fries, chips, rice, noodles, coleslaw, and macaroni. Better choices are side salads with a light dressing, baked potato (easy on the toppings), fresh fruit cups, corn on the cob or apple slices.
Watch what you drink — water is the best option. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories and so high in sugar — the average large soda packs around 300 calories. If you drink diet soda, then it’s just filled with artificial sweeteners (aspartame). After you drink, you will be hungry sooner than you think. Smoothies are so high in sugar too, some have almost 120 grams of sugar (our bodies need 24 to 36 g per day). Make sure you drink water throughout the meal. This will help you eat less.
Pay attention to what you are eating and drinking. You don’t have anywhere else to live, so take care of your body and your body will thank you for it. Enjoy the Makahiki Festival!