Do you see food as a reward and exercise as a punishment for what you ate?

If you do, remind yourself of the 80/20 rule, NO quick fixes.

Let’s focus on the bigger percentage, Food & Nutrition first. The effective management of food intake and nutrition are both key to health gain. Smart nutrition and food choices can help prevent disease. Isn’t prevention better than cure? Eating the right foods including fats, proteins, and carbohydrates is required. Maintaining key vitamins and minerals is also important to maintaining good health. It can help your body cope more successfully with an ongoing illness. It is important to focus on health gain because weight loss or weight gain will happen accordingly. Hence, let’s focus on making ourselves fit and not thin or slim. Food and nutrition are the way that we get fuel, providing energy for our bodies. Water is an important component of nutrition, not carbonated drinks or juices. Let’s discuss the healthiest way to eat by picking foods that are balanced for health gain.

Alarming numbers!

If you’re a parent, read this

11.5% of children below 18 years old were obese in Malaysia’s National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, and 1.65 million school children are expected to be overweight or obese by 2025.

A balanced healthy diet

A healthy diet includes a lot of real food. A sizeable portion of a healthy diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, especially ones that are red, orange, or dark green (rainbow colors). If you feel lost, think of this plate here. Whole grains, such as whole wheat and rice, should also play a part in your diet. For students, dairy products should be full-fat. Protein can consist of lean meat and poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, legumes, and soy products such as tofu, as well as unsalted seeds and nuts. 

A balanced healthy diet also involves avoiding salt which is used heavily in processed foods. Time to switch to an unprocessed diet. Fried food, solid fats, and trans fats found in margarine and processed foods can be harmful to heart health. Refined grains (white flour) and refined sugar (table sugar, high fructose corn syrup) are also bad for long-term health, especially in people with diabetes or a high risk of diabetes. 

However, in Malaysia, the overconsumption of sugar, which is the simplest form of carbohydrates is causing a high prevalence of overweight and obesity problems. According to World Health Organization, no more than 6 teaspoons (40g) of added sugar consumption daily. When you think you are eating healthy by having fruits, check how much ‘Assam’ and sugar is sprinkled on your guava. So all you have to do is follow these simple recommendations to work on healthy habits, small changes can make a huge impact.

Meal preparation 

It should offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. Your meals should be packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Real foods could be as simple as Moong Dal, Banana, mango, cucumber, jackfruit, moringa drumsticks, and coconut. (which are mostly available under RM10). They are packed with nutrients and are fresher and have traveled way less to reach us. It’s easily available and humans tend to not value something easily available. Blue Berries picked up in Europe reaching you after 2 months is less than 50% in nutrition. So, next, when you are preparing a meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can plan and refrigerate fruits, vegetables, and even nuts as a healthy snack option. Remember to eat local, not low cal (calories) 

Use herbs and spices

Pack your food with a good number of herbs and spices. Learn to cook with your family with onions, garlic, ginger, black pepper, curry, turmeric, and all the nice spices you can think of. The special ability of spices is to fight infections which will ultimately help you keep those diseases at bay. 

Take care of your gut health

Did you know that 80% of our health gain is located in our digestive system? Imagine, in that case, how important it is to keep a healthy gut. When your gut is healthy, you have a large number of probiotics thriving in there. And these probiotics are the good bacteria that you get from whole and fermented foods (Dosa, Idli, Tempeh), yogurt, kefir, or in the form of prebiotic and probiotic supplements. Gut health helps you with your brain health. 


80% food AND 20% Exercise not or! Exercising is not only a great way to get in shape, but it also improves our immunity, enhances the quality of sleep, and makes our body fit. If you are too busy or have no time at hand, take out just 15 minutes of your day and have a quick exercise session. But please do not give yourself excuses for not exercising. Exercise should not be a punishment for whatever you have eaten. Go for a walk, Do that yoga, dance! Do anything you like but please exercise, and challenge your body. It helps remove toxins and keeps you energetic and will contribute to disseminating proteins from your food intake.

In summary, we must practice the recommendations of healthy eating by controlling our portions and even remind our family and friends too. Parents play a key role in making healthier food choices for their family members. Choose foods and meals that are low in sugar, salt, fats, and oil. Instead opt for more local fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Remember healthy eating for health gain isn’t just reducing or cutting out any single food or nutrient. Healthy eating is a package. There are many high-quality, free guidelines available on www. for healthy eating plans that give more details on portion size, total calorie consumption, what to eat more of, and what to eat less of to get healthy and stay that way.

Remember 80%: Food & Nutrition 


20%: Exercise … No quick fixes

Did you know? 

A Health Ministry survey shows that 40% of Malaysian women who had anemia were of Indian ethnicity, with Dr. Lee saying this could be because there were more vegetarians in that community. Hence, those who are at risk of anemia are advised to avoid coffee and caffeine at mealtimes and wait at least one hour after a meal before consumption. Still not sure where to start? Set an appointment with a dietitian. 


Written by :

Drona Dewi 

CEO & Founder of Drona Wellness

 Certified Mental Health Response Instructor


Disclaimer: The information is provided by Drona Dewi, a mental fitness coach who is from a biotechnology background, and a lifestyle researcher. Certified mental health first aider by Malaysian Mental Health Association and Certified Mental health response Instructor by Mental health Management, Australia. The information is NOT intended to be and should be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional medical advice.