Why Proper Nutrition Is Important for Refugees

Moving to a world that is completely different from your own comes with many challenges that some are not prepared to face. Among those challenges, you also face the battle of leaving your old life back in your country and trying to get accustomed to your new life in a new count. You hold onto traditions, foods, languages and the way of life because that is what was common to you. 

The question is not to withhold yourself from common traditions, but it is now how to hold on to those traditions while also implementing some new traditions. Proper nutrition is very important for refugees , and not just to enjoy but also to be knowledgeable about what you are putting in your body and why.

Eating a proper diet consists of having protein, fat, carbohydrates (which is known as macronutrients ); and also vegetables , fruits and vitamins and minerals ( which is known as micronutrients).

Macronutrients are needed in your body at a larger amount than micronutrients, which is easy to remember based on the different words, "macro" being big, and "micro" small. Micronutrients are needed in your body at a smaller amount; this is also why eating a proper balanced diet means that you don't need excess vitamin supplements, because you are getting them from food, and its easier to absorb in your body as food than a supplement. 

Based on calories, for proteins and carbohydrates, you are getting 4 calories/gram, and for fats, it is 9 calories/gram. This is mainly important to know if you are trying to cut, gain or even maintain calories. This is not a post to tell you that you should count calories, but a post to educate you if this interests you or if you are already implementing tracking calories in your diet. 

St. Lukes provides an amazing resource weekly at the church, which is the food bank. The food bank helps families who are struggling with providing nutritious meals to their family. The food bank not only provides food for families, but they also provide nutrient dense foods, which means you will be getting  good amount of protein, carbs, fats, fruits, and veggies from each box that is received from the food bank. This is free to everyone and it is held weekly on Thursdays :)

An example of a nutrient dense meal that I would like to give is from  Mama Africa Sunday Dinner on February 5, 2023.

Entree: Sudanese Kabob (Meat) OR
Spinach and Collard Greens Peanut Curry (Vegetarian)
Side: Rice, Spicy Peanut Sauce, Salad with Homemade Dressing
Dessert: Baklava
I just want to preface this with saying eating sweets or foods that are not considered "healthy" is okay when eaten moderately.
Nutrition Breakdown:
Entree: Sudanese Kabob ( Meat) - PROTEIN AND FAT
Spinach and Collard Greens Peanut Curry - Spinach is full of Vitamin A and K , and collard greens is known as a cruciferous vegetable, not only filled with healthy vegetables, but also healthy fats from the peanut butter.
Side: Rice ( Carbohydrates) And Salads with homemade dressing ( delicious and healthy ! )
Sudanese food already contains vegetables in most dishes with different meats and carbohydrates like bread, rice, or Assida ( popular flour dish to eat with stews and soups). Certain dishes do contain more fat than others, especially when oil is used in the stews. For someone who wants to enjoy their cultural dishes and also wants to be more health conscious, using less oil, salt, and opting for whole wheat sides for the stews are better options in this case. 
Proper nutrition is important to make sure that you are receiving all the necessary nutrients your body needs to operate effectively.