By Umm Zaidah Nusaybah
In this session we discussed the importance of eating a balanced diet, the different food groups and how we can incorporate healthy eating in our own families.
We were asked to discuss what it means to have a balanced diet. We came up with the following points:
• Dairy products
• Moderation-in what we eat
• Regular meals-not skipping any meals
• 5 a day
• Full fat for under ones
We discussed the five food groups and the types of foods in each group. We also discussed the amounts we should consume from each group.
Fibre-brown bread, brown rice oats
Fats and dairy-cheese, milk
Fruits and vegetables- apples, strawberries, cabbage.
Carbohydrates can be classified into two categories, refined carbohydrates which consist of white rice, white flour and unrefined carbohydrates which consist of wholemeal bread, brown rice, brown pasta etc. Unrefined carbohydrate is better for us to consume especially for those of us trying to lose a few pounds.
Fruits and vegetables have a lot of vitamins and minerals. We should try to eat at least five portions every day. I know this can be quite hard with all the unhealthy alternatives on offer (i.e. cakes, biscuits) but we should adopt this habit especially when we have our children to think about. So instead of giving them sweets, biscuits and other junk food as snacks we should replace these with fruits and other healthier snacks insha’Allah.
It is sad to so many children who are over-weight. We as Muslims should remember that our children are a trust from Allah for whom we will be questioned about. Therefore, we must make sure that they eat a healthy balanced diet to keep them fit and free from illness insha’Allah.
Most vitamins cannot be made by our bodies so we need to take supplements.
Vitamin A looks after our eyes and skin cells. Examples of some food that contain vitamin A are sweet potatoes, oranges, dark green leafy vegetables and carrots. Vitamin A deficiency may lead to impaired vision or blindness.
Vitamin D is obtained from direct sunlight. This vitamin helps us to absolve calcium into our bodies. Foods that contain vitamin D are oily fish and dairy products. Vitamin D deficiency is known to cause several bone diseases.
Vitamin E fights free-radicals (which damage our cells). This vitamin is found in vegetables, poultry, fish and fortified cereals. A deficiency of vitamin E may result in muscle weakness, blindness, poor transmission of nerve impulse.
Vitamin K helps us to make protein. Foods containing vitamin K are soya oil and margarine. Lack of Vitamin K may lead to massive uncontrolled bleeding, malformation of developing bones.
Vitamin B helps the flow of blood smoothly. Foods that contain this vitamin are potatoes, bananas, lentils, liver oil, liver, turkey and tuna. Vitamin B deficiency can result in anemia, acne, disease of the nervous system and heart.
Vitamin C is important for the development of bones and skin. It also helps to observe iron. Foods containing vitamin C are spinach, broccoli, and citrus fruits (did you know that peppers contain four times more vitamin C than oranges!!) Lack of vitamin C may lead to developing scurvy.
Minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Sodium are also needed. Foods containing these minerals are milk and dairy products.
Allah says “And eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good and fear Allah in whom you believe” (Mai’dah V:88)
Allah has blessed us with so many variety of foods alhamdulillah but we should stick to the ones that are lawful and GOOD insha’Allah.
And Allah knows best.
By Umm Zaidah Nusaybah