As the year ends, more people tend to look for places where they will be jolly and relax. Many people during this festive season will be going to various places for picnics. Taking care to pack healthy snacks is paramount.
Although one day of unhealthy eating may not really affect your health, it is better to pack your own food if you are not sure of who is preparing the snacks, says Dr Vincent Bakyenga, a general doctor with Uganda Healthcare Federation.
When going for a picnic, it is important that you prepare the food yourself instead of just buying already cooked take-away foods. Classic picnic foods may include but not limited to sandwiches, fruits, salads, chips, cookies, pies, vegetables. Finger foods are the most comfortable to eat and serve. Remember you can be creative and make your picnic memorable.
Fausta Akech, a nutritionist at Healthy U recommends that if you are moving with children, you can pack sliced bread spread with margarine, cookies, vegetable salads, sausages, nuts and other simple foods that will not require you to use a knife or fork and fewer utensils. Eat junk foods with regulation to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“Sometimes as you travel, there are eats which are sold by the roadside so be very careful about what and who you buy from. This will protect you from food poisoning. Only buy foods from a place or person you trust to have hygienic foods,” she says.
Despite the restriction, there are some healthy foods that you can buy along the way but you should use your intellect to judge the kind of food you are buying and the person selling it. Such foods may include roasted cassava, sweet potatoes, plantain (gonja), beef, gizzards, fries or roasted chicken, goat meat, liver.
Akech cautions people to buy these foods when they are warm enough because cold food increases the risk of catching hygiene-related diseases. In order to maintain a normal healthy metabolism rate, everything we eat or drink should be close to our body’s normal temperature.
“When cold food is ingested, the body counteracts the temperature difference in order to preserve a suitable environment for the enzymes in the stomach for proper digestion. This in turn lowers the functionality of the lungs thereby causing coughs, flu and other illnesses due to indigestion,” she says.
It is easy to get dehydrated when you are outdoors even before you know. Children are more prone to this so ensure you carry your own drinks such as lemonade, fruit juice, soda, milk, bottled or boiled water.
Dr Bakyenga says: “There are so many water and juice brands on the market in Uganda but you are not sure if they are all safe for drinking and do not want to risk catching typhoid or any other water-borne disease. So, you are better off packing your own water or juice where health and safety are guaranteed.”
If you forgot to pack drinks, soda may be the safest drink at that time or still ask for the most loyal packaged water brands which you think will be safe for you. It is also important to balance what you eat with a lot of fluids to keep yourself hydrated and be active to help you get rid of the year’s stress.