In the fast-paced society that we live in, it’s often easier to reach for convenient but unhealthy food options — think fast food, sugary drinks, and overly processed snacks. However, given the rise of health consciousness and a booming fitness culture, especially among martial arts and MMA enthusiasts here in Singapore, there’s a growing shift towards seeking out healthier food alternatives. Not only are these options better for your body, but they can also be delicious and satisfying. From plant-based meats to sugar-free beverages, Singapore’s supermarkets are increasingly stocked with an array of healthier choices that don’t compromise on taste.

Why Do People Go For Healthier Food Alternatives?

Benefits

  • Nutritional Value: Healthier food alternatives often come packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs to function at its best, particularly if you’re an athlete or fitness buff.
  • Weight Management: Opting for lower-calorie, nutrient-rich foods can help in weight management—a crucial factor in sports like MMA where weight classes matter.
  • Improved Energy Levels: Better food choices lead to a more sustained release of energy throughout the day, which is vital for intensive training sessions or daily activities.
  • Long-Term Health: Consuming better-quality foods can lower the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
  • Environmentally Sustainable: Many healthier alternatives are also kinder to the planet, with plant-based options usually requiring fewer resources to produce than their conventional counterparts.
  • Enhanced Performance: For athletes, nutrition plays an essential role in performance. Better fuel means better outcomes in the gym and the ring.

Cons

  • Cost: Healthier foods can be more expensive upfront, though this is often offset by the long-term health benefits they offer.
  • Availability: While Singapore is doing better in this aspect, some places might not have a broad range of healthier alternatives.
  • Taste Adaptation: It might take some time to get used to the different flavors and textures of some healthier foods.

Main Food Alternatives

1) Plant-Based Meats

As plant-based diets gain popularity for their health and environmental benefits, supermarkets in Singapore are stocking up on plant-based meat alternatives. Brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods offer plant-based burgers, sausages, and even ground meat, which are not only delicious but also high in protein and low in saturated fats.

2) Whole Grain Options

White rice and white bread are staples in many Singaporean homes, but their whole-grain counterparts are much healthier. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole-grain bread are high in fibre, helping you feel full longer and aiding in digestion.

3) Healthy Oils

Instead of using saturated fats like butter or lard for cooking, opt for oils rich in unsaturated fats. Olive oil and avocado oil are excellent choices that also add a depth of flavour to your meals.

4) Sugar-Free Beverages

Sugary drinks can be a significant source of unnecessary calories. Thankfully, there are many sugar-free or low-sugar options available, from flavoured water to stevia-sweetened sodas.

5) Fresh Fruits And Vegetables

You can’t go wrong with fresh produce. Many Singaporean supermarkets offer a wide range of locally sourced or imported fruits and vegetables. Opt for organic options if available and within your budget.

6) Snack Alternatives

Instead of reaching for chips or candy, look for healthier snacks like vegetable sticks, unsalted nuts, or fruit slices. Many supermarkets also offer pre-packaged healthy snacks like granola bars, yoghurt cups, and rice cakes.

7) Dairy Alternatives

For those who are lactose intolerant or just looking to cut back on dairy, options like almond milk, oat milk, and soy milk are widely available. These alternatives often come fortified with essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.

8) Nut Butters

Peanut butter and almond butter are great sources of protein and healthy fats. Just make sure to read the labels and opt for those without added sugar or hydrogenated oils.

Where To Find Healthier Food Alternatives In Singapore

Singapore’s robust supermarket scene offers a myriad of healthier food options to cater to the increasingly health-conscious public. Here is a list of supermarkets where you can find a broad range of healthier alternatives as mentioned above:

1) NTUC FairPrice And FairPrice Finest

FairPrice is a household name in Singapore and offers a variety of healthier options from fresh produce to plant-based meats. FairPrice Finest, its upscale counterpart, even has an extensive organic section where you can find pesticide-free fruits, vegetables, and health supplements.

2) Cold Storage

Known for its wide selection of imported goods, Cold Storage offers a multitude of healthy food options, including gluten-free pasta, sugar-free beverages, and a robust range of plant-based products. They often carry brands that are hard to find elsewhere in Singapore.

3) RedMart

This online supermarket is a convenient option for those who prefer to shop from home. RedMart offers a dedicated “Healthier Choices” section on its website, making it easier to find nutrient-dense foods and drinks.

4) Giant

Giant supermarkets offer budget-friendly options for health-conscious shoppers. You can find a good range of whole grains, dairy alternatives, and even an array of healthy snack alternatives like unsalted nuts and dried fruits.

5) Little Farms

Specializing in organic and natural products, Little Farms is an excellent choice for those who prioritize quality and sustainability. While their prices may be on the higher end, you’re paying for produce and products that are carefully curated for both health and environmental impact.

6) Marketplace By Jasons

A niche supermarket focusing on gourmet and speciality items, Marketplace by Jasons offers organic produce, premium meats, and a selection of healthy pantry staples like olive oils and whole-grain pasta.

7) Mustafa Centre

Known for its 24-hour operations and vast range of products, Mustafa Centre also offers a decent selection of healthier foods, from various kinds of rice like basmati and brown rice, to a range of plant-based foods and organic produce.

8) Online Options

In addition to these physical stores, there are specialized online platforms like iHerb and SuperNature, where you can find a curated range of healthier food options delivered straight to your doorstep.

Text: Evolve MMA

Evolve MMA is Asia’s top martial arts academy to house the most number of world champions across all major martial arts disciplines.