> Watch what’s on your plate
Prevention is better than cure, and adopting a well-balanced diet not only keeps the weight off but holds various health risks at bay.
Singaporeans are eating too much refined carbohydrates and bad fats and oils and too little fruits and vegetables. According to the National Health Survey 2010, the rate of obesity among Singaporeans aged 18 to 69 had significantly increased. This is a pressing concern as obesity raises the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.
How can you start eating right? Here are some quick, important and useful tips:
50% – Fruit and Vegetables
Colour your plate with leafy greens and fresh fruits. Low in saturated fats, and high in vitamins, fruits and vegetables provide the dietary fibre and minerals needed in our daily diet. Eating fibre-rich food also helps to decrease the risk of obesity (source).
Healthy Snack Options: Fruits, Cherry Tomatoes and Celery Sticks.
25% – Wholegrains
Go for wholemeal bread, brown rice and rolled oats, all of which contain minerals and valuable nutrients. They make you feel full for a longer period of time, which helps to prevent additional calories from snacks.
Healthy snack options: brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat crackers, whole what bread and wholegrain corn tortilla chips.
25% – Protein
Protein covers poultry, meat, seafood, eggs and low-fat dairy products. Vegetarians can opt for bean and soy products like chickpeas to fulfil this component. The optimal diet should have two servings of fish in a week.
Healthy snack options: skimmed milk/ yogurt, unsalted peanuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds.
Get these proportions right on a daily basis:
Go light on salt by cutting down on gravy added to meals and by substituting salt with natural herbs and spices such as ginger, onion and lemon.
High salt intake is associated with high blood pressure, which leads to risk of developing kidney disease, stroke and heart disease (source).
For more advice, use My Healthy Plate, a visual guide designed by the Health Promotion Board to help Singaporeans plan healthier meals.
This short animation illustrates the simplicity of incorporating a daily balanced diet.
Remember, small tweaks to your eating habits will make big differences in your long-term health!