..As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Planning meals for a week can help save you time, money and stress. When you plan your meals, it saves you from doing extra trips to the shops, which means you are less likely to do some impulse shopping which will help save money in the long run. This also means you less likely to get drawn to buying junk food that are on sale or discounted.
It may sound like a lot of effort at first, but it can be very simple and will reduce your stress over “what to cook for dinner”. If you are like me and you just eat leftover dinners for lunch – you can! As long as put variety in your meal plan, there are no set rules as to what needs to be served at what meal.
Useful tips to keep in mind:
To create your meal plan, draw up a table or print one out like the one below with similar headings.
From completing this table – it will help to create your shopping list. This will help you to avoid making impulse purchases at the shops if you stick to your list. Plan your shopping ahead of time so that you don’t go when you are rushed, or hungry. Going shopping when hungry is dangerous - don’t do that!
Here is an example menu that I have made which can give you an idea on how to incorporate all five food groups into your day:
Bf - Oat porridge (use rolled oats, add banana & berries, chia seeds)
L – Chicken wrap (add salad and avocado for healthy fats)
D – Beef stir fry (add plenty of vegetables, use brown/basmati rice, add sesame seeds)
Bf – Wholegrain toast with eggs (add tomato + spinach for veges)
L – Chicken curry & rice (add vegetables into curry or have a side salad)
D – Minestrone Soup (meat, vegetables, pasta)
Snacks – nuts, fruit, cheese on wholegrain crackers, yoghurt
Once you’ve created one week’s worth of meal plan, you can use it again for the next week or switch it up and repeat it every second week. It is entirely up to you!
Meal planning is a tool which will help you keep your healthy eating on track, help you to control your portions because you are only buying amounts of foods that you need, and stops you from having a lot of other extra food or other unhealthy foods in your home. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.
Happy meal planning!
Taken from www.iStockphoto.com/GHOSS
The ninth month of the Islamic calendar has fallen upon us again... It is the month of Ramadan. A blessed month where Muslims all around the world are obliged to fast (refrain from eating and drinking) from dawn to dusk.
Fasting, however, is not merely a physical act but is also a spiritual act of worship where one should refrain from gossiping, lying, slandering and all traits of bad character. All obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are also to be avoided. Fasting is highly rewarded by God (Allah).
Abu Salamah narrates that Abu Hurayrah said, the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of faith and seeking reward, his previous sins will be forgiven" (Bukhari).
It is advisable that a person who is fasting should still be mindful of what they eat during the non-fasting period. Fill your stomach with correct portions as taught by the Prophet (s.a.w) himself.
"The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third is for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air." (Tirmidhi, 2380; Ibn Maajah, 3349).
From this, we can learn the lesson that Islam even teaches us to observe moderation when we eat and drink. During Ramadan, your daily intake is limited to 2 main meals a day - at suhoor (before dawn) and iftaar (after dusk). Therefore, it is important to try and incorporate all of the five major food groups into your meals (breads and cereals; vegetables and legumes; fruits; dairy; meats and poultry), in order to acquire adequate energy and nutrition.
Taken from www.acas.edu.au
Suhoor (Pre Dawn Meal)
Reported by Anas (RA): The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said, "Eat Suhoor for verily there is a blessing in it'' (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The pre-dawn meal should be like a healthy and balanced breakfast to provide long lasting energy for the day Try to include a complex carbohydrates as they are absorbed and digested slower in your body and have a longer satiety effect. Good sources include oats, wholegrain cereals & bread. It is also important to include a source of protein such as from dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese) or lean meat, fish, eggs etc and a piece of fruit. I know some people have very little appetite this early in the morning, so if this is the case, you can opt for a light snack such as dates, milk, or fruit. Having a pre-dawn meal is highly recommended as it will help to sustain you throughout the day as well as provide your body with adequate nutrients.
Here are some quick suhoor ideas:
Don't forget to also drink a few glasses of water!
Iftar (Breaking of Fast)
Upon breaking the fast, it is the Prophet's (s.a.w) tradition to break his fast with dates. If dates is not available, then break with a glass of water. This practice of breaking the fast with a couple of dates and water can provide you with the much needed hydration and quick source of energy.
Dinner - usually consumed after the maghrib prayer, but may be eaten straight after the breaking of fast. For this meal, try to incorporate the foods from the five major food groups. Try to follow the healthy plate model for your meal -this means filling half your plate with vegetables, one-quarter with starch and one-quarter with protein (pictured below) . You can end your meal with a piece of fruit and water. If you experience cravings for sweets, then have 1 single serve of a sweet of your choice. Remember that night time should not be a time of feasting; over-eating at iftaar can make you feel heavy and tired which will make it harder to perform acts of worship at night.
Taken from www.sanofi.ca
Other Healthy Tips
Last, but not least...
It is important that our intention for fasting should not be mixed with the desire to lose weight. It is an act of worship, therefore, the intention should be to fulfil an Islamic obligation and please Allah. If you do lose weight unintentionally, then Alhamdulillah - thank Him for the added benefit, but that should not be your mere intention. Fasting should help to increase our awareness and consciousness of God, and bring us closer towards Him. It should increase our appreciation for food as we experience the feelings of those less fortunate who have no food or drink every other day of the year. It should help us to realise the value of the food we have been blessed with, thus increasing our appreciation of Allah's blessings upon us.
I would like to end by wishing all my Muslim readers a Ramadan Mubarak! May your fasting, good deeds and prayers in this blessed month be accepted.
Taken from www.bestwishesquotes.com
I often come across people who wants to start eating healthy or adopt a healthy lifestyle, however, it seems one of the main problems is that they don't know where to begin... Or they take the wrong step to begin with.
Adopting the latest diet or trend you have read on your Facebook feed or watched on YouTube that day may not actually be the healthiest or the best diet for you. Sure, it may have worked for the person in the before/after photos, but that person is not you,
You don't need to go Paleo, Vegan or quit sugar in order to be healthy.
Here's the truth... there is no ONE diet that fits every body. Because, let's face it, everyone is different. Can we agree that we all have different genes, backgrounds, tastes, preferences, and lifestyles, to say the least ?
This is why when I work with clients, I match my advice individually to that person according to these factors.
So you're probably reading this and thinking, ok that all makes sense but this doesn't answer the question of where I can begin to be more healthy?
So, as a general rule, I like to look at food as a whole and not as specific nutrients. Because as humans, we eat food, we do not eat one nutrient like "vitamin A" or "Potassium". For example, we eat carrots and that is high in vitamin A, but it also contains other goodness such as fibre, vitamin K, antioxidants and also Potassium.
Therefore, the first key thing is to have variety in your diet. When you fill your everyday diet with an array of different vegetables and fruits, it is likely that you will be consuming most of the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs. With fruits & vegetables, I say the more colours, the better - eat a rainbow. (But no, I don't mean rainbow skittles)
The second key place to start is to ensure you are not eliminating any food groups. There are 5 - Breads & Cereals, Fruit, Vegetables, Dairy and Meat/Meat alternatives. By ensuring you include each of these food groups in your diet, you are less likely to miss out on any key nutrients. The exception is, of course, if you have food intolerances/allergies, in which case it is best to see a dietitian to ensure you're getting all the right things from your diet.
Last, but but not least, portion size is so so important. Yes fruit is healthy, but having 10 bananas a day, is not. There is such saying as too much of a good thing, and that actually rings true in terms of nutrition and health. Even with healthy foods, you still need to consider how much you are eating. And it goes without saying, that it is even more crucial to limit portions of less healthy foods such as biscuits, cakes, chocolate and other high calorie, low nutrient snacks. You can check out the guidelines for the portions of each group suitable for your age & gender here..
Until next time,
They say you are what you eat, but does it really ring true?
Photo taken from StyleCraze
Myth #1: Chocolate causes acne
Myth #2: Eating a lot of oily foods causes breakouts
Small study observations have found there are lower levels of zinc, vitamin A and vitamin E prevalent in young adults with acne. Because acne is an inflammatory condition of the body, antioxidants such as vitamin A, E and zinc may help to reduce inflammation and therefore affect the development of acne. Although, the evidence for this is limited and conflicting. Zinc is found in a variety of foods but is present in high amounts in cereals and dairy foods. Vitamin A is primarily found in oils, fruits and vegetables, whereas Vitamin E is found in healthy fats and oils such as fish, olives, avocado, nuts and seeds. Therefore, eating foods rich in oils may not negatively affect your skin, IF it is the good type. Fats and oils found in fatty meats are less healthy and intake of this food group should be reduced.
Myth #2: Busted
Photo taken from Sprout
Overall, there is no convincing evidence to show that any single dietary factor can reduce the prevalence or severity of acne. Due to the weakness of evidence available, we cannot recommend that people with severe acne take nutrient supplements for the purpose of reducing acne. Increasing intake of foods high in these nutrients may or may not have benefits on skin health. However, these foods contain many other nutrients which is good for your body and beneficial for overall health. Those who want to reduce or treat acne should adopt a healthy diet that meets dietary guidelines.
Until next time,
I know we are almost at the end of February already, but... how many of you have started to lose track of their goals this year? Be honest! *slowly raises hands too*
Well, doughnut worry! It is never too late to reset your mind and intentions to achieve your resolutions. We still have 10 more months to 2017.. so, you got this!
Image from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a6/97/89/a6978954265fc0820347bbd8fa7b2d90.jpg
The first step is to sit down and have a think of a main goal that you want to achieve. What is the one thing that you really really want to accomplish? If you don't have a clear goal to start with, you might lose sense of what you want to achieve, which can lead to a loss of motivation.
The second step is, and is very important, to set smaller goals which will become the stepping stones to achieving that main goal. For example, your aim may be to drop 2 dress sizes this year. Of course, this is not something which is achievable in one day. And it may seem like too difficult of a task at first, but, it is possible to reach by setting a few small goals which are SMART.
What do I mean by SMART?
A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Using the previous example, if you were wanting to drop 2 dress sizes, think of a number of possible
actions that you can do to achieve this. One action step might be to start exercising. However, your goal should not just be to increase exercise. Why? Because when you are going to put it into action, how will you maintain it? Most people sets their goal as to start exercise and join a gym. But, once they join, do they actually go to the gym? Perhaps they go religiously for the first few weeks, but then it starts to become less frequent each week until they stop completely. Sound familiar? This is likely because the goal was not phrases correctly. Instead of setting the goal as "start exercise". it should be rephrased into a SMART goal, such as: "Go for walks for 30 mins 3 times a week for 4 weeks".
This goal is SMART, as it is specific in action (walking), measurable in duration (30 mins 3x a week), attainable and realistic (short and easy exercise to start), and timely (for 4 weeks).
Once you've achieved that, you can then set another one that builds on this by either increasing the duration (from 3 days to 6 days a week), or by increasing the intensity (from walking to jogging).
When writing a SMART goal for your eating habits, think of a specific food-related action that you want to start doing. This can be as simple as eating more veggies. Afterwards, you can then specify amounts (such as 4 serves of vegetables), frequency ( 5 days a week) and duration (for 1 month). Eventually, you will be eating your 5 serves of vegetables every day of the week until it becomes a long term habit.
SMART goals can also be used to achieve other milestones that may not be related to your body or your health. Generally, it is best to set 3-5 SMART goals to start with. Write them down... so you can tick them off once completed which will give you a sense of accomplishment, and will motivate you to set more goals for the year. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to achieving anything that you set your mind to.
Image from https://au.pinterest.com/pin/429460514453425279/
You see, our bodies are actually so amazingly designed by our Creator in that it has been designed to work in our favour to keep us alive. We have an organ called the liver which naturally "detoxes" our body everyday because that is its job, basically, and its pretty good at it (unless you have liver damage or failure). Of course, when our diet is filled with fat laden foods, our livers have to work extra extra hard. Putting a lot of strain on our liver does lead to damage and negative consequences to our health in the long term, so we don't want to do that. However, since we have this amazing organ, we do not need to go through a detox to start being healthy.
When going through a detox, you'll find that not only will you feel super hungry but you may also feel tired, dizzy, nauseous or have headaches/migraines. These programs will tell you that these are normal symptoms... which they are, however, this is because you are not doing something beneficial for your body! Your body will send you signals because it is deprived and needs nourishment. Basically, it is trying to tell you to stop and feed it!
In the short term, yes you will probably lose weight. However, most of this weight is probably your body burning up the stored glycogen (made from glucose found in carb-type foods). Glycogen also contains H2O, meaning when you see the numbers on the scales drop, it is likely your water weight going down. Therefore, the weight loss you see on the scales is not the good kind of weight loss you want. As soon as you get back into normal eating, your body will restore your stored glycogen levels, and you will likely be back to where you normally started and gain the same weight back, if not more. Therefore, in the long term, a juice cleanse or detox is hardly going to make any difference to your health. If anything, it can be detrimental to your health if one is not careful.
You want my advice on how to get your health back on track? I say, quit the detox and just start eating wholesome nourishing foods. It may not seem as appealing or as easy as an elixir in a bottle, but trust me, it will be worth it.
I am so excited to be launching my very own website and blog! I can't wait to be sharing nutrition and fitness related articles with you all. This page will be dedicated to my love of food, and my passion for nutrition, health and well-being. I am so incredibly nervous but excited at the same time about starting this but I appreciate those of you who have taken a few minutes out of your time to read.
First, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am an accredited practising dietitian living in the south side of Brisbane of the land down under (aka Australia!). I come from a South-East Asian background (Indonesia) so I have a deep deep love towards South-Eastern Asian cuisines! But.. I do not discriminate against food as I eat and enjoy almost every type of cuisine out there! I love trying out new foods and I can be a 'wanna-be' foodie at times. (Follow me on Instagram if you want to see all my delicious food photos and eating adventures) ~
As this is my first official post, I am asking YOU what topics YOU would like me to cover on this page! I will try my best to cover them all as time goes on.
Nowadays, there is an increasingly overwhelming amount of information you can find about food and nutrition, whether it be on the internet, books or magazines (heck, even your Facebook news-feed). However, what I find really frustrating and unfortunate is that a lot of these materials portray false and non-evidence based information which can mislead a lot of people into having the wrong ideas about diet and nutrition in general. From Paleo, to quitting sugar, to detoxing... It seems every Bob, Joe and Larry out there have their own two cents on what is the one "best" diet that is the answer to ALL health problems. For this reason, I have decided to make this blog in order to share my knowledge, opinions and advice on what I know and have learnt so far about food and nutrition (you'll be amazed how much information and scientific research is out there - keeping up to date with the research is def important).
So when did healthy eating become so confusing? And, what is the best diet?
Let me tell you a secret.. no one diet fits all! Everyone is an individual. We all have different needs, different backgrounds, cultural influences, family routines and personal food likes and dislikes. I believe in a balanced approach to food, and despite my title of being a dietitian, I am actually not a fan of the word 'diet'. It is so so important to educate yourself and acquire knowledge from the right sources.
If you ever need nutrition advice, seek help from an accredited dietitian or nutritionist who are the qualified experts on this subject.
That's all for now.
Feel free to comment, or shoot me a message with your ideas on future blog topics!
Image taken from http://scienceoffitness.com.au/blogs/nutrition
Food loving dietitian who believes that a moderation approach is key to a good physical and mental well-being. Inspired by cultural diversity.