Healthy Food Choices and Children

Health Choices for Children

Healthy Choices for Children

Children and food choices are an important part of being a teacher especially at the younger grade levels. I was reminded of this when I was sent a reminder home from my twin daughter’s JK teacher reminding all parents to send healthy snacks for their break time.

Interestingly, the Qur’an and Sunnah are quite specific and thorough when it comes to regulating our diet. For example the Quran clearly states that one should following moderation in eating by stating: “eat and drink but commit no excess; surely Allah does not love those given to excess”. Further the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: “no person can fill a container worse than his own stomach; a few small morsels are sufficient to keep his backbone straight, but if one cannot keep to this than let him keep one third for food, one third for his beverage and one third for easy breathing”. What simple, yet comprehensive advice!

It seems too difficult in today’s society as we are constantly bombarded with fast food ads, billboards and flyers/coupons in the mail to buy junk food. Further children today are bombarded with specific marketing plans to lure them in and get them half-addicted to certain brands of junk foods.

How can we both as parents and children alike win the battle against this onslaught? Well here are a few tips which I came across.

1. Fast: When we fast we strengthen our will power and resolve. Also we give our digestive system a much needed break from constantly eating. We free our minds to concentrate on the higher things of life and suppress our carnal desires for the sake of Allah.

2. Try to eat less and reduce junk food items in our diet. Obesity is a major problem in North America and throughout the world and following the Quranic and Prophetic advice are great tools to help alleviate our food cravings.

3. Don’t think about food. Simply ignore thinking about food and keep yourself busy in work/ibadat and you won’t have time to be eating during your leisure time. Also promoting exercise/outdoor activities both in and out of school are great tools in improving ones overall health.

4. Do not bring any junk food home. If it’s not there; it’s not consumed. Try to have alternatives like fruits instead of cake, cookies etc. and baked food instead of fried food for example.

5. Go to a local convenience store if you need milk, bread or eggs. They are not that much more expensive in respect to these items. Sometimes if we go to the grocery store for these items we end up buying a lot of extras and junk food which we could otherwise do without.

6. Try to think about the hungry people all over the world. Many populations don’t even have enough basic food to eat (e.g. bread) while in North America we are often concerned with having multiple and luxurious food items. This will hopefully lessen the demands our stomachs often put on us.

7. Don’t eat out. Not eating out helps a lot in losing weight and having a healthier diet. Try to cook the same meals found in restaurants at home. You will find you are not missing much and perhaps the taste will be better. Also you will be saving a lot of money.

One point to remember is all of this should be done step by step. A person accustomed to eating a lot of junk food or eating excessively will find it hard to change all at once. Therefore the key is gradualness. Also, just try to do your best because Allah (SWT) does not charge anyone more than what He has given them.

“Those who strive for Our sake we will surely guide them to Our Path” (Quran)

Nisar Ahmed Malik

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