Maintaining a balanced diet during MCO

  • Metro News
  • Monday, 30 Mar 2020

Indra advises Malaysians to avoid panic buying and overstocking packaged food.

PEOPLE should try to cook their own food during the movement control order (MCO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is important to consume a balanced meal and this can be done by making simple yet varied dishes.

Less reliance on food deliveries also lessens exposure from people who are working to keep these services running, said consultant dietician Indra Balaratnam.

“Prior to the MCO, we would not have thought twice about eating out as eateries were so accessible to us Malaysians at any time of the day.

“But now it makes sense to go back to the basics of cooking our own food, ” she said.

She advises Malaysians to make meals that are simple to prepare to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

“Online recipes or videos offer inspiration for simple meal ideas, ” she said.

Indra recommends having portions of grains, protein, vegetables, fruits and dairy in our daily meals.

“Don’t panic buy and overstock packaged food. Instead, keep a manageable supply to reduce the number of times you visit the supermarkets.

“There is no need to panic buy and overstock on all kinds of packaged food as we now know that we have a proper supply of food available.

“This is so we do not need to go out too often in order to minimise our exposure to others.” she said.

She suggests shopping for protein such as eggs, fresh or frozen meat and fish that can be kept in the freezer, canned food including beans, tuna, sardine or meat, dry food like ikan bilis, nuts (including nut butter) and seeds; grains such as rice, bread, dry noodles, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereal and wholegrain crackers, as well as vegetables.

“Leafy green vegetables cannot be kept for too long and need to be cooked. Choose sturdier vegetables that keep longer such as carrots, cabbage, celery, French beans, long beans, ladies’ fingers, bitter gourd, capsicum and tomatoes.

“Frozen vegetables such as peas, corn and mixed vegetables are just as nutritious. Root vegetables like potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes and yams last longer too, ” she added.

As for fruits, she recommends local ones as they are highly nutritious with vitamins, antioxidants and fibre.

“There is no need to burst your budget by buying expensive imported fruit. Choose bananas, papaya, pineapple, guava, mangoes or jackfruit, to name a few.”

For dairy, people should buy liquid or powdered milk, cheese or yoghurt.

Miscellaneous items that one needs for cooking include oil, salt, pepper, herbs and spices, sugar, sauces/marinades, aromatic ingredients such as onions, garlic, ginger and lemongrass.

Indra also advises people to do indoor exercises to diffuse pent-up energy and decrease stress.

“Since you cannot go to the gym, walk around your compound or watch a YouTube video on exercises to do indoors.

“If you live in a condo, you can walk up and down the stairs for several minutes to get a good cardio workout, ” she said.

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