Assalaamu alaikum,

Proper nutrition and physical activity are two components needed to live a healthy life. The American diet has deteriorated over the past decades, resulting in an increase in chronic disease and obesity. This has led to higher medical costs, lower productivity, and a less than ideal lifestyle. The USDA and Department of Health and Human Services issue the Dietary Guidelines every 5 years. The 2015-2020 edition reports that over 50% of Americans are overweight or obese and 35% of adults are affected by coronary heart disease. While diet and exercise may not prevent this, they go a long way in leading to a healthier life. Though the Guidelines are intended for policy makers, consumers can benefit by reviewing the report.

Americans consume more saturated fats, sodium, and sugar and less vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils than recommended in the Dietary Guidelines. With the ample variety of foods available, it should be easy for consumers to select healthy halal options. Some key points to consider are: eat healthy all the time; limit calorie intake while meeting nutritional needs; and minimize sugar, fats, and sodium consumption.

If you haven’t adopted a healthier diet, start now. The sooner you start, the better off you will be, so get your children on the right path to give them the best opportunity for a healthy life. Find substitutes for sugary drinks and snacks, minimize salt use in cooking, avoid fatty foods, consider organic options like Saffron Road products, and read nutrition labels to be sure you are making the best choices.

Also recognize that the Guidelines are based on age and gender, so each individual should determine what is best for their situation. Practice these healthy eating habits as a family so you have a support group to bring you back if you stray.

A healthy eating pattern includes consuming vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, meat and poultry, seafood, eggs, legumes, and nuts. Select a variety of vegetables in different colors, some whole grains, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and lean meats and stay away from products with high sodium content, added sugar, and trans fats. And by all means, don’t forget to include some physical activity in your daily routine. Remember, the lifestyle of our youth impacts the lifestyle we will have in our later years, so if you aren’t doing it yet, adopt a healthier diet and don’t forget the exercise!


Muhammad Munir Chaudry, president