As the festive season draws near with family gatherings set to be the order of the holidays, South Africans have been advised to be mindful of what they snack on during this busy period.
Despite the high cost of living, according to a report by global snacking company, Mondelez International, South Africans seem to continue to enjoy snacking with some even indulging in them in the morning before breakfast.
Mondelez International says consuming treats and other food mindfully this holiday season will lead to a positive eating experience.
Corporate & Government Affairs Lead: Sub Sahara Africa at Mondelēz International, Navisha Bechan-Sewkuran, says purposeful and intentional eating is advisable.
“It can be tempting to eat more than usual during the holidays but don’t eat for the sake of eating. If you’re not hungry, rather wait. If you’re full, then stop eating. You must know what you want. Ask yourself, do you want to eat a piece of chocolate because you’re feeling sad or you want it because you haven’t had a chance to eat lunch?
“With ample time during the holidays, assess if the snack is intended to meet an emotional or functional need.”
Bechan-Sewkuran says it’s also important to enjoy and appreciate the snack with ones senses.
“Take time to savour the snack and reflect on its taste, smell and consistency. There may be limited edition products for the festive season which add to the special celebrations so take time to appreciate this feeling. Be aware of portion size and moderate it.”
She adds that: “If it’s crisps you’re craving, don’t go for the biggest bag you can find by thinking of buying for the entire December and January. Rather opt for a smaller bag. If chocolate is your go-to snack, stick to a single serving bar or break a few blocks from a slab and save the rest for later, or even better, share it with someone.”
The communication specialist also advises against rushed eating.
She says one should avoid munch your snacks in front of your mobile phone, television screen, or while driving from one location to the next.
“Rather set time aside to focus on what you’re eating and – once again – savour it with all your senses.”
During family visits and gatherings – she advises opting for a take-home leftover “Tupperware” or saving some unopened snacks for later.
“Eating should be a bit of a ritual, rather than a quick bite, chew and swallow episode that leads to low satisfaction levels and the urge to eat more. Especially during the festive season, meals are connected to moments of celebration and gratitude with loved ones. That’s why it’s important to reflect on what you’re eating, appreciate the nourishment the food is providing your body, and most importantly, enjoy it,” concludes Bechan-Sewkuran.
Call for hike in alcohol, sugary drinks
The World Health Organisation (WHO) wants global leaders to impose tax increases on alcoholic and sugary drinks in a bid to incentivise healthier behaviours.
“Globally, 2.6 million people a year die from drinking alcohol, while more than eight million die from having an unhealthy diet. Implementing tax on alcohol and SSBs will reduce these deaths,” it says.
The WHO says that although 108 countries do impose some taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), globally, excise taxes on average represent just 6.6% of the price of a soda.
“Taxing unhealthy products creates healthier populations. It has a positive ripple effect across society — less disease and debilitation and revenue for governments to provide public services,” said Rudiger Krech, the WHO’s health promotion director.
The organisation added that taxes on alcohol, could also help prevent violence and road traffic injuries.
A 2017 WHO study shows that taxes that increase in alcohol prices by 50% would help avert over 21 million deaths over 50 years and generate additional revenues.
“Countries like Lithuania, that increased alcohol tax in 2017 to drive down consumption have decreased deaths from alcohol related diseases. Lithuania increased alcohol tax revenue from 234 million euros in 2016 to 323 million euros in 2018 and saw alcohol-related deaths drop from 23.4 per 100 000 people in 2016 to 18.1 per 100 000 people in 2018,” said WHO.
Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris