We all want to eat well so that we can stay healthy, look our best and feel confident. However, sometimes, eating well and following a specific ‘diet’ can be harder than it sounds. With all the delicious food offerings in Singapore, from fantastic restaurants serving up fine cuisine to delicious Char Kway Teo and Dim Sum at local hawker street stalls - temptation is everywhere.
Fortunately, there are definitely still ways that you can eat healthily and maintain or lose weight while still enjoying the foods (and portion sizes) that you love. Healthy eating is about taking part in a balanced diet that incorporates each of the food groups, so that you get to enjoy a wide variety of foods and develop a healthy, positive relationship with the way you eat. The foods we eat play such a big part in how we feel overall - from our energy and stress levels, to our gut health and the quality of our sleep and rest. It’s important to make the right decisions (while making sure to still treat ourselves every once in a while - that one is good for our mental health!)
How to eat healthily
Water, water, water
The first step is very, very simple… drink more water! Any healthy diet will include plenty of water, as it reduces our risk for dehydration, keeps us fuller for longer, helps with our body’s detoxification processes and boosts energy levels. Try to drink between two to three litres of water a day for optimal health, and remember to drink more in the hot Singaporean weather.
Choose to eat healthy fats
Gone are the days when fat was the enemy and we were told to load up on carbohydrates for energy. Although wholegrains are still vital in maintaining good health, fats are no longer considered to be a bad thing - as long as you’re eating the right ones! Healthy fats are found in almonds, avocados, olives and fatty fish like salmon. Always check what kind of fats are in the foods you’re eating, with ‘good fats’ being monosaturated and polyunsaturated from natural sources.
Pack your meals with powerful protein
Protein is considered to be the building block for the human body. It can be broken down into many different kinds of amino acids that provide us with the right nutrients for all human growth, energy, cell maintenance, tissue growth and organ health. Quite a big job! That’s why protein is so important in a healthy diet, as well as being an excellent way to keep us feeling fuller for longer. Protein comes from many different sources, including vegetarian products like Quorn, nuts, meat, beans and legumes, protein powder and eggs.
Avoid salt and sugar
Often (and especially often in Singapore’s takeaway joints), food is loaded with salt and sugar to make it taste really, really good. Did you know that for your average adult, their sodium intake should not exceed 2,300mg in order to stay healthy? This is the equivalent of just one teaspoon of salt per day. Watch your salt intake if you’re trying to eat healthily, and look out for products like takeaway food, canned vegetables, potato chops, canned soups and packaged frozen meals.
Sugar should also be avoided, as many foods have hidden sugar added to them that we don’t really know about. Some sugary foods to avoid include soft drinks, fruit juices, candy, cakes, maple syrup, cane sugar and honey. They may taste good and give you an energy boost but they’re super high in calories and are highly likely to make you have a sugar crash later in the day!
Learn how to eat a low calorie diet and without losing energy in our simple guide!
Why you don’t necessarily have to eat smaller amounts
Research has shown the existence of something called the ‘portion size effect’, which is essentially the tendency for people to eat more when larger portions are put in front of them. This makes is extremely difficult for us Singaporeans (who love to share food and go to delicious buffets) to control our portion sizes. This often results in us consuming more calories than we originally intended!
However, if you’re wanting to eat healthily, you don’t necessarily have to resort straight to having micro-meals. This is sure to just cause you to feel tired and want more food later down the track and might even lead to binge eating - restriction is not the key!
Instead, try to make better choices when it comes to your food. Choose a palm size portion of protein (beef, chicken, or a vegetarian substitute like a Quorn burger), a fist size amount of high-quality carbohydrates like wholegrain pasta, buckwheat or soba noodles, or brown rice, and then fill up your plate with as many vegetables as you like. Experiment with different vegetables you may not have tried before to keep your interest up, and use different sauces and spices to make them taste amazing.
If you’re craving something sweet or your favourite hawker food, it’s okay - have it! But just remember to get back on track for your next meal and focus on healthy food (and drinking lots of water) for the rest of the day.
Making your food extra tasty to keep you satisfied
Starting the journey to eating a healthier diet can sometimes be daunting, and with so many amazing food options in Singapore, it can sometimes be hard to say “no!” But with a little bit of willpower and determination, as well as lots of preparation, you can be well on your way to better overall health and a happier life.
Focus on high-quality protein, low-GI carbohydrates and lots of vegetables, using creative sauces and spice combinations to keep things interesting, and you’ll discover a whole new world of healthier cooking.
Quorn is a new product to Singapore, and is a fantastic way to get more protein into your diet without the use of animal products like meat and milk. Delicious in stir fries, casseroles and stews, find out where you can buy Quorn to try it in your next meal today!