EXPERTS and industry players urged Filipinos to observe “social distancing” from fatty and salty foods during the Holiday season and patronize healthy locally-produced food products.
Food security advocacy group Tugon Kabuhayan said Filipinos must watch their diet during the Christmas festivities and urged them to consume fresh and healthy local produce to “ensure their safety and well-being.”
The group added that Filipinos must continue boosting their bodies’ immunity by being careful of the food they eat amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The surest way to protect our health is to ensure that the meat and other ingredients we use to prepare our meals are safe. We should also check that perishable goods we purchase like fish, chicken, and pork are properly handled, packaged and stored,” it said in a statement on Monday.
“Filipinos should focus on indulging and eating locally produced food, be it pork, chicken, fish, seafood, vegetables and fruits. Locally produced foods are proven to be a lot fresher, safer and healthier than imported ones,” it added.
Nutritionist-dietitian Aleli Catalina Jimenez of the Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines (NDAP) said eating in moderation and having a balanced diet remains the key measure to tide over during the yuletide season.
“During the holiday season, most of the food is composed of fats, sugar and salt. We should moderate this to avoid complications especially if one has an existing illness. If we have physical distancing because of Covid, we also need distance from the buffet table,” she said during the Tugon Kabuhayan’s virtual press briefing.
Francis Christian Ocoma, Owner and Executive Chef of Cafe Linang, recommended that Filipino consumers explore alternative food products to their usual noche buena plate, such as trying rabbit meat.
“We can also consider alternatives. For example, rabbit meat has lower calories, high protein content, and lesser fats. Also, the taste orientation of rabbit meat is almost the same as that of a chicken,” Ocoma said.
“We can also consider utilizing organic meat in our dishes as we can be assured that these are healthier alternatives. We can also consider brown rice and other naturally grown organic rice as these have lesser calories and are easier to digest,” he added.
Ocoma suggested that Filipinos try roasting, broiling, grilling and steaming as cooking methods since these “do not need a lot of oil and excess fats from the meat can be eliminated.”
“The last two years of Covid restriction has had a tremendous impact on the lives of everyone including the farmers, fishers and aquaculturists, yet their efforts tide us through in those difficult times,” Tugon Kabuhayan said.
“This holiday season, let us indulge in locally produced food products. Let us enjoy, be fit and healthy, while happily patronizing the produce of our farmers and fisher,” it added.
Image courtesy of BERNARD TESTA