Making small changes to your diet can have a big impact on your health and waistline. Plus, they don’t involve just eating a salad.
1. Eat Less Processed Foods
Processed foods are often high in unhealthy trans fats, and laden with sugar and salt.
Recently, the World Health Organization even classified processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen (meaning there’s enough evidence to show it causes cancer).
These cheap meats not only have no nutritional value, but also contain chemicals that act as an addictive, making you crave more of them.
Replace ham and hotdogs with lean cuts of protein like chicken or fish instead – they’ll keep you full for longer, and you’ll be doing your body a massive favour in the long run.
2. Choose Wisely
In reality, most of us Singaporeans have our meals at hawker centres, where healthy options can be scarce. Instead of boycotting local dishes, make simple tweaks to your meal to make them less fattening. Some ideas:
– Opt for sliced fish instead of fried fish when ordering fish soup.
– If you can’t give up laksa, have it occasionally but don’t drink up the gravy.
– Choose fresh, whole vegetables when eating yong tau foo. Skip the sausages, fishcakes and mock meat items.
– Ask for less rice or noodles
3. Read Your Labels
You don’t have to be a scientist to figure out what your food labels are trying to say.
Whole, natural produce like apples or cabbages don’t need any labels, whereas a bag of chips (and even cereals!) comes with a list of ingredients you can’t even pronounce.
Avoid anything where the first ingredients are artificial flavours, preservatives, corn syrup, shortening or palm oil, and steer clear if the product is high in salt and sugar.
4. Load Up On Veggies
Aim to have half your plate full of vegetables at lunch and dinner. The fibre-rich produce will fill you up, plus you’ll be getting a good mix of phytonutrients and vitamins with your meals.
This is surprisingly hard to achieve in Singapore, since most of our local dishes only come with token pieces of oily cucumbers or beansprouts.
5. Listen To Your Body
When you feel like reaching for a 3pm bite, ask yourself if you’re really hungry or just bored or thirsty.
Oftentimes food becomes an easy avenue to entertain ourselves, and mindless snacking only leads to piling on more calories than necessary.
And when you sit down to a meal, chew slowly and learn to identify the point where you start feeling full. Don’t be compelled to polish off your entire plate if you can’t – ask for less to begin with, or pack away the leftovers.
6. Don't Blindly Choose Low Fat
Low-fat and low-calorie options in the supermarket may not necessarily be healthier.
The packaging may claim to have zero fat, but that could also mean a ton of sugar or artificial flavours have been added as a substitute for taste. Again, it’s safest to look at the ingredient list.
Don’t be too quick to believe marketing hype.
7. Always Share Dessert
Halve that brownie to halve the calories. That way, you’ll get to enjoy the taste of dessert without being weighed down by the sugar and kcal.
If you’re dining solo and can’t resist a sweet treat, healthier options include having a fruit, a small serving of yogurt, or two squares of dark chocolate instead.
8. Choose Between Drinks And Dessert
If you want to take your lunch with a caramel frappe or end your dinner with a glass of bubbly, skip dessert.
Save yourself the calories by limiting yourself to one indulgence per meal, and work towards lowering that to once a day, then every other day and so forth.
9. Train Your Taste Buds
Don’t write off brown rice just because you can’t get used to its taste.
Your tastes and preferences have been moulded over years, and it’ll take a while to adapt. Introduce changes slowly. For instance, mix brown rice with white rice when cooking at home, or eat Greek yogurt with a dash of honey if the plain version is too sour for you.
Give yourself time to adjust to wholesome foods, and you’ll soon appreciate how they taste (and how good they are for you!).
10. Eat Regularly
Eating regularly helps to regulate your blood sugar level. This way, you’ll stop feeling bored, moody or in need for sweat treats throughout the day.