Dealing With Nutrition In The Current Economy
We as Sri Lankans are suffering through an unprecedented economic crisis which has led to food shortage. Most essential commodities are either unavailable due to import restrictions or simply unaffordable since the cost of basic food items have tripled making it very difficult and nearly impossible to maintain a healthy diet.
10 tips to maintain healthy eating and adapt to the current situation
We need to focus on the basic principles of healthy eating and aim to be flexible and grateful for the basic food we have available to us. We don’t need imported foods like chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, quinoa, couscous, smoothie bowls etc. to be healthy. It is time to focus on the basics and be more conscious and efficient as to where and how we spend our money on food
1.Be simple. You don’t need a large variety of food during this time. It is time to adapt to the situation. Each week buy one carbohydrate option like rice, one source of protein like fish, chicken or eggs and one vegetable option. In these instances, you don’t need to alternate vegetables, meats, you don’t need to have 2-3 different types of protein per day. Focus on what you have available to you.
2. Don’t be fussy, choose the cheapest vegetable and protein option available to you.
3. Cut back on extra snacks and additional food items. Since basic food provisions are expensive we need to focus on saving our money to afford the three main meals and cut back on eating out, chips, soft drinks, biscuits, baked goods etc. Cutting back on these salty and high sugar food and drinks will help you manage your budget for the month and will also help you eat a healthy diet.
4. Try to cut back on the extra sugar you add to your tea or coffee per day.
5. Be organised and plan out your food for the week. When we have a plan in place it helps us manage our budget, if not you may end up spending on multiple items like rice, bread, flour and end up wasting the food for the week and going over the budget you set out for basic food.
6. When cooking curries, choose water instead of oil. This will help to reduce the overall fat content of the dish to support your health and even save up on additional expenses.
7. Your diet for the day can look like, kadala/cowpea for breakfast, rice, mellum and chicken for lunch, rice/bread, dhal and chicken for dinner along with water as your main beverage for the day.
8. Do not waste any food. If you don’t feel like eating your food, don’t discard it, pack it up and donate it to the needy. There are plenty of people who suffer from starvation and they will be very grateful and happy to eat any food you provide them.
9. If you have a garden or even a small balcony with good sunlight, try to grow 1-2 foods e.g. spinach, tomato, dhambala. If this can be done, it will be easier for you to include a vegetable long term in your diet.
10. If you’re worried that your new diet is going to cause you to gain weight quickly, stop worrying and add in some exercise. Going for a walk or exercising at home can be done free of charge and will support your overall health.
During these trying times it is important to learn to adapt to the situation and adjust your goals to suit the current living circumstances. Don’t forget to be grateful for your food, health and everything else you have in your life today.