Expert Insight with Aishah, Medical Student

I’m excited to have Aishah share her expert advice on The Muslimah Mommy!

Aishah is a medical student who also blogs, over at Grains & Gains, on issues concerning Muslim Women. She focuses on areas of personal development such as productivity, health and fitness, and spiritual growth.

Some of the key issues Aishah will be addressing in this post are the mistakes parents and caregivers make when it comes to the eating habits of children, and dealing with picky eaters.

Aishah has also been generous enough to give The Muslimah Mommy followers and readers a discount code for her weight loss program, please refer to the end of this post for more details!

What is your educational background, and what career are you currently pursuing or looking to pursue?

Alhumdullilah, I am currently in my final year of medical school. I will be finishing early next year and insha’Allah starting my house jobs in the summer. It has been a long haul getting where I am today but Alhumdullilah, hard work certainly pays off. I am particularly interested in heading down the route of paediatrics as I hold strongly to the idea that our children are the torchbearers of the future (and as a kiddy doctor I get to keep in touch with my inner child!). It is coming from a medical background and my interest into the human body that has inspired me to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle. This then progressed into my blog http://www.grainsandgains.com as I wanted to share my knowledge, tips and general ideas on life with other sisters.

As women, we hold many responsibilities in society but in order to be successful in all these roles we must look after ourselves in order to make us strong and productive. I have recently completed two courses in Nutrition and Weight Loss, in order to further develop the knowledge I have gained through my personal experiences.

When did you know you wanted to pursue this profession and what inspired you to do so?

As cliche as it sounds, I always wanted to use my interest and abilities in science to positively influence the lives of others. I see my career as a blessing from Allah as, insha’Allah, my job will allow me to work whilst also carrying our sadaqah. My inspiration has always been the fact so many Muslim Women of the past continued to study and serve their community whilst upholding their faith.

Are there any challenges with this career and with being a Muslimah? If so, how do you plan on dealing with these challenges?

Fortunately, I have never come across anything that has been too difficult. Wearing hijab or abaya has never become an issue, nor has needing the time to go pray salah. In the UK, hospitals have a policy of “bare below the elbows” which means you are required to roll your sleeves up to the elbow when next to a patient. This can be tricky however we are able to wear removable sleeves that, like gloves, can be put on for each new patient you see. I think the most important thing, in any job, is to be open about your faith and requirements rather than being scared of how people will react.

What is the biggest mistake parents make when it comes to their family’s diet or eating habits? How can families overcome these issues?

I think this varies from family to family. One thing that affects many people, however, is lack of time and thus poorly planned meals. We may start to opt for take-aways and fried foods more because they are quicker to make than cooking or baking something fresh. This paves way for difficulties later one because children will develop the habit of eating these types of food quickly and will want nothing but their favourite burger and chips. Parents who eat well themselves will pass on these habits to their children and likewise, those who eat junk food will embed these food choices in their children.

Snacking is also a problematic area; when you are hungry between meals you grab the thing that is easy to eat. When your cupboards are stocked with junk food, this always becomes the go-to snack. Whilst at a tender age of 2 or 3, the odd packet of crisps may seem harmless, I strongly believe habits begin at these young ages that will be a shadow in a person’s life for a long time. Plan your meals, especially when you know certain days will be busy. Stock your cupboards and fridge with good snacks and limit junk food. Find healthy alternative snacks that you can make at home and store; make these with your children so they are excited to try them as well.

What advice can you give to parents who have picky eaters?

Compromise. If your child dislikes certain vegetables but loves others, try to incorporate those mostly into their meals. Equally, don’t try to force anything upon your child as our favourite food may not be something that tickles the tastebuds of your child. Have a variety of fruits on the table for them to try, allowing them to find what they like as well as giving them the chance to try new textures. Offer them a treat if they eat a certain amount of food by the end of the week, maybe even creating a star chart for them to track whether they ate all their food each dinner time.

A tremendous thank you to Aishah for sharing her insight with us, make sure to follow her blog, Facebook , and Twitter page.

***Aishah is kindly offering a discount on her weight loss coaching programme for The Muslim Mommy readers. Use the discount code MM10, valid until Ocotber 8, 2015 to November 8, 2015.

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