Senior Dietician at the University of Ghana Hospital, RD Maxwell Konlan has advised individuals on how to practise healthy eating.
He was speaking in an exclusive interview on Campus Exclusive this morning on the theme, “Advancing a healthy dietary era” which is in commemoration of the Dietetics Department Week from the University of Ghana’s School of Allied Health Sciences.
The departmental week was a week-long celebration from the 3rd to the 7th of July, 2023, where students in the Dietetics department were engaged in various activities with the aim of promoting healthy eating habits among ghanaians.
Maxwell Konlan spoke on the need to combine physical exercise with healthy dietary behaviors to encourage healthy living.
“Dieting alone and not exercising may not give you the desired results. There are some who do the exercise alright but they are eating unhealthily. Basically, we are just doing ‘garbage in, garbage out’. An effective combination of diet and exercise is what brings out the best outcomes. How do we even particularize this healthy eating that we are talking about? Just as I earlier said about eating all the different food groups talking about the carbohydrate, the protein, the fat and the vitamins. There is this particular way we can incoherently eat healthy into our diet. We use what we call the plate concept. We call it the healthy eating plate. We try to divide the plate into a certain percentage where certain food should come from, certain particular food groups.”
He noted that traditional Ghanaian dishes possess too many carbohydrates for the body and encouraged the addition of other food items to create a balance in diet.
“Look at a typical ghanaian diet. It is an opposite of a healthy diet. So you can have someone having a plate full of rice, but there is no vegetable on it. The protein you see is just a small portion of it. So we tend to eat a lot more carbohydrate than the other nutrients. That makes our food sometimes unbalanced. When you eat that way, you may end up gaining a lot of weight. If you have diabetes issues, you will struggle so much because your sugar levels would go up.”
Maxwell Konlan finally encouraged students to cook their own food in the stead of buying food to encourage healthy eating.
“Though the school environment can be sometimes very challenging when it comes to healthy eating, it’s not impossible. It’s all about planning. So for some students, they get so busy that they end up relying on convenience foods. Let’s look at it in terms of a certain perspective. There are other local fruits you can easily get. Things like banana, pineapple. On average, you should be able to afford some of these things. But when it comes to healthy eating, we think so much of the foreign vegetables and fruits. Yet, we have your local vegetables, where we can get your nkontomire, bokoboko, ayoyo and more. We encourage that students should plan and cook their own meals instead of buying fast foods.”