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Towards a Balanced Diet

Towards a Balanced Diet - islamictribune.org

Written By: Mahnoor Arif

It is not difficult for desi people to understand how we are continuously presented with this notion by our parents or elders that whatever problems we are facing are because of the imbalanced diet we are eating. While we brush it aside on purpose, it holds true that a lot of health problems we face these days are because of our sedentary lifestyle and careless attitude about the food we eat. We munch on any junk food we can find, closest to our work or school while sitting on our chairs. It is preferable for us to get it delivered. On weekends, we tend to sleep all day long and then get back to the grind. We deem it completely normal to sit in our bed and order food and when it arrives, we enjoy it while watching a movie or TV series. Well, this wasn’t achieved in a day. We gradually moved towards this lifestyle and gradually we can change it for the better, one step back at a time. We can eventually reach a healthier lifestyle or at least the one close to it. Some of the alterations we can do are:

Meal Planning

Fix your days of the week to the type of food you will eat. Sit with your family and decide on a weekly meal plan. Fix days for meat, lentils, and vegetables. Get creative with the vegetable part because that’s where we get lazy. This way[1], you will be having all the nutrients in your diet without having too much to think about.

Also Read: The Importance of Family Meals

Plant-Based Oil

Replace your regular cooking oil with plant-based oils[2]. They taste great in salad dressings as well and is a lot healthier option than the regular cooking oil we use casually at home.

Healthy Snacks

If one has a habit of snacking, they can also slowly shift to healthier options e.g., fresh fruits, yogurt, cheese, nuts, etc. This article gives us more insight into how to revamp our snacking habits and move towards healthier options.[3]

Homemade Food

Instead of ordering lunch when you are at the office or school, one should opt for investing a little time in investing effort in prepping a lunch box. It is an effective way to preserve your health. One can also opt for a trustworthy service that delivers homemade lunch boxes for a certain number of days in a week. This interesting article by Harvard Health explains how to pack a healthy lunch box and what ingredients can help one achieve a balanced diet goal.[4]

Also Read: Five Sunnah Foods

Physical Activity

Physical activity is very important for good metabolism and with our laid back lifestyles now, it has become imperative now to consciously include some kind of physical activity in our daily routines. For this purpose, walking for merely 30 minutes at night outside your home, in your lawn or even your rooftop will make a lot of difference. WHO suggests ‘150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week[5] for ages 18 – 64.

Try to incorporate physically exerting activities on weekends. Replace your weekend hangouts with hiking hangouts. It will refresh your mind for the week to come and also be a healthy alternative to weekend Netflix binge.

Julie Corlis, rightfully says, in this article, that nearly everyone, regardless of age or athletic ability, can find a hike that offers the right level of personal challenge. While giving us some great cardiovascular workout, it acts as a stress reliever as well.

Kitchen Garden

Try investing your time in a little gardening here and there. Start out with some coriander, mint, tomatoes, the herbs, and vegetables that are easy to grow. Move on further with cucumbers, potatoes, beets, and lettuces, etc. By growing them at home and witnessing the achievement of having a ripe fruit/vegetable in your hand, a new motivation for eating fresh food will take a hold of you and that’s the greatest push one needs to change their lifestyle.

Research indicates that garden-based nutrition education programs increased the intake of fruits and vegetables in kids. The children involved loved to prepare fruit and vegetable snacks, taste testing, working in the garden, and learning about them.[6]

As a Muslim…

Last, but not the least, keep this motivation in your mind, that being a Muslim, it is incumbent upon us to have strong bodies so we can work more in the way of Allah. Through our daily routines or our acts of ibadah, we have to utilize our body one way or the other, and we can not just feed it with anything that we have out there.

O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.

(Al-Baqarah: 168)

[1] World Health Organization: Healthy diet

https://www.who.int/behealthy/healthy-diet

[2] Harvard Health Publishing: Choosing oils for cooking

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/choosing-oils-for-cooking-a-host-of-heart-healthy-options

[3] Harvard Health Publishing: Revamp your snacking habits

[4] Harvard, School of Public Health: Packing a healthy lunchbox

[5] World Health Organization: Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health

https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_adults/en/

[6] A Garden Pilot Project Enhances Fruit and Vegetable Consumption among Children

Heim, Stephanie et al.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 7, 1220 – 1226 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2009.04.009

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