THE Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) shared healthy living tips for this year’s holiday season and beyond.

“We can still make Christmas happy. Just follow the minimum health standards,” said Dr. Ma. Encarnita B. Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, in the vernacular in a Dec. 21 webinar.

Here are a few tips for holiday feasting:

Sit-down meals are better than buffet-style ones.

The advantage of a sit-down noche buena (the traditional Christmas Eve feast) is that there’s no need to line up for food, thus promoting physical distancing. The other advantage is that — since there’s no need to help one’s self to a serving — fewer hands touch the serving spoons of each dish.

For air circulation purposes, an outdoors venue is also more preferable to an enclosed one.

Take your mask off only when you’re about to eat.

“I want to call the attention of mall owners,” Dr. Limpin said. “Ang daming tao sa mga restaurant na hindi pa kumakain e wala ng suot na mask [There are so many people in restaurants who take off their masks even before they start eating.]” Masks need not be removed when conversing, she added.

The reason COVID-19 cases are again rising in other countries is because people stopped following health protocols after being vaccinated, and after noting the initial drop of cases in their area.

The Philippines is doing it right by continuing to encourage mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing, Dr. Limpin said.

Mind your portions — especially if you’re diabetic.

Feeling deprived of a specific type of food might encourage an individual to gorge on it later on. A way to quell cravings is to enjoy food in moderation.

Diabetics in particular need to be careful about their serving portions, Dr. Limpin said. Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body’s blood glucose is too high.

She recommended the following portions for diabetic patients: one mango cheek, seven grapes, and half a large apple or orange.

Diabetics with controlled sugar levels who crave Filipino Christmas staples like leche flan and fruit salad may have a teaspoon and three teaspoons of the desserts, respectively.  “Para lang matikman mo [Just so you can have a taste of it],” she added.

Keep moving throughout the day.

Prioritizing physical movement during this festive season helps burn the energy gained from the food one consumed at social gatherings. It also helps keep the body in tip-top shape.

Pencil pushers are advised to take regular breaks away from their desk to stretch and walk. Dr. Limpin said that the PCP will recommend to the Department of Labor and Employment to make it an office policy for workers to take a break every hour to move. “You can achieve the ideal 10,000 steps a day if you do that [in addition to your] other regular activities,” she said. — Patricia B. Mirasol