Resorting to food for comfort?

Healthy eating is especially important for keeping your immune system in top condition, here’s how you can do it!

Vilma Tyler
a table full with traditional food
UNICEF/Jordan/2019/Herwig
06 April 2020

The Mediterranean diet has been ranked one of the best and healthiest diets in the world

 

If you live in the Middle East or anywhere on the Mediterranean, think Nutrition. 

Here are the healthiest ingredients you can have for your meals:

Whole grains: bulgur, couscous, freekeh, rice and lentils

Vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, eggplants, onions potatoes, beets, tomatoes, carrots, olives, cucumbers, spinach, parsley and mloukheyeh.

Fruit: apples, oranges and other types of citrus, bananas, all types of berries.

Fresh dairy products including milk, eggs, cheese, yoghurt and labneh.

Beans/legumes: foul, hommos, green beans

Nuts including almonds, pistachios and cashew and seeds like pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds and sunflower seeds.

Chicken, both frozen and fresh.

Fish: fresh and canned including tuna and sardines

When it comes to meat, portions should be smaller—this will save money and help keep dietary saturated fat in check. Add flavour to your foods with the abundance of herbs this region is home to including mint, parsley, zaatar and basil. If the herbs start going off, you can always dry them in the sun. You can also use spices, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, lemon or lime juice, honey and yoghurt.

Another idea for meals is to make a salad every day based on the rich ingredients you can easily get on the market, this includes Tabbouleh, Fattouch with lots of green leafy vegetables and lemon juice; Arab salad with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onion. When it gets a bit cold in the evening, nothing beats a good plate of lentils or chicken soup.  

 

Don’t get tempted!

Limit buying tempting foods like chips, soda sugary drinks, cookies, and ice cream. They are high in empty calories and run up your grocery bill.  Replace them with healthy snacks like carrot and cucumber sticks, you can dip those in hommos or Tahini (sesame paste). Serve fresh, cut up fruit and frozen juice mixed with yoghurt instead of ice cream. Spinach and cheese fatayer pastry are also healthy mid-afternoon or late evening snacks.

 

Make it fun: ask your children: what would like to have for dinner this evening?

Eating more meals at home is a new routine for many families in the region and the world. Keep the stress down by making mealtime fun. Ask your children in the morning, what would they like to have for dinner?

Use meal-time to reconnect with the family—eat together at the table or spread a blanket on the floor and have an indoor picnic, if you have an outdoor area and if the weather allows, use it for meals.

Separate mealtime from TV time or internet time—watching TV or being on social media while eating distracts you from your food, which makes it more likely to overeat.

Wonder what to talk about at mealtime? Chat about things you will do this summer, tell jokes, ask your children to tell you one funny thing that happened to them this year, ask them to share their dreams, ask them to share something new they learned: it could be a new word, it could be a trick to solve a problem, and don’t forget to share yours! Keep the conversation upbeat and fun.

We are all in this together; stay positive and resist hanging around the Fridge!!! Be healthy, be safe, be well and enjoy the richness this region offers