Make A Habit of Healthy Eating
In recent years, healthy living has been a key concern for Singaporeans. Living in such a fast-paced world, we struggle to juggle many activities, but often neglect one very important matter – our health. At the end of the day, what we need is a healthy and happy lifestyle as this is essential for us to engage in the many activities and with the many people in our life. So it becomes essential for us to eat good, feel good, and look good!
In this first of a 3-part series, we’ll share simple tips that you can take to pave your way to a healthier and happier lifestyle, and to bring out the inner sparkle in you. We’ll kick-start this series with how to create a habit of healthy eating. Are you ready?
Besides lowering the risks of chronic illnesses like heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes, healthy eating can strengthen your emotional health and make you feel happy and alive. This increases productivity in all aspects of your life and you are less likely to feel lethargic in your daily activities.
In this day and age with our busy schedules and never-ending to-do lists, we would think that we don’t have additional energy to start on a new diet. Or maybe you’ll say ‘we deserve a reward, and a diet is not one of them!’
However, transitioning into a healthy eating lifestyle is not as difficult as you think, and can be surprisingly effortless. It is all about easing your body and palate into it, and not suddenly cutting out everything overnight.
To set yourself up for success, here are 6 baby steps, which you can easily slip into your busy schedule to slowly ease your body into healthy eating.
1. Eat a protein-packed breakfast
It’s been repeated often enough that breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it is the fuel to kick-start the body and the brain into action. However, that is not to say that eating anything for breakfast is a good breakfast! We recommend having a protein-packed (approx. 30gram) breakfast to keep you full; it provides fuel for the muscles and reduces hunger pangs in between meals.
An example of a good and hassle-free protein-packed breakfast is a bowl of cereal with fruits, chia seeds, mixed nuts, or sunflower seeds. You can have it with milk or if you prefer to munch the crunch, try it without milk! It is really convenient to prepare too!
Simply stop by Cold Storage at Causeway Point after work or during the weekends to stock up your milk, cereals and toppings from the wide range available there. Just mix everything together in the morning, and breakfast is ready in a jiffy!
2. Fill up on vegetables
Throw in a lot of veggies in your meals throughout the day as they are low calorie and nutrient dense, meaning they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. This means you can get full on veggies easily without increasing your calorie intake! Isn’t it wonderful?
Focus on eating the recommended daily minimum of five servings of vegetables (and fruit) as it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. And when you eat out, keep in mind to always ask for more vegetables.
Not a fan of vegetables? Start with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, which are easier on the palate.
3. Drink more water
Water is a great detox drink as it flushes out all the waste products and toxins from our body. Staying hydrated improves vitality and keeps us energetic – plus it makes our skin smooth and supple!
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and bring a water bottle with you whenever you are outside to keep hydrated under the hot sun. Metro at Causeway Point has several cool water bottle designs for you to choose from if you are looking for durable and chic water bottles.
If your excuse of not drinking water is because it tastes bland and boring, try adding fruits or vegetable slices, such as lemon, grapefruit, cucumber or pomegranate to add flavours to your water. Get your natural water infuser from Cold Storage at Causeway Point and start experimenting with your own fruit infusion recipes today! You can also check out some tried-and-proven tasty agua recipes here.
4. Eat in moderation
Healthy eating is never about completely cutting off a particular food group, or abstaining from the food you love. Everything stems from moderation. Practice counting the calories of your food so that you become more mindful of what you are eating. But if calorie counting is too tedious for you, you can go for something more tangible and try keeping your portion sizes reasonable. That way, you can still eat your fried chickens every now and then!
An example of reasonable serving sizes for one meal are: 100g of meat, one medium piece of fruit, half a cup of raw pasta and 50ml of ice-cream. Simple, right? Right!
If you are a fan of eating out, don’t worry! These days, most restaurants provide healthier option meals in their menus. Try Swensen’s best-selling BBQ Chicken: it’s tender juicy grilled chicken is brushed with in-house guava BBQ sauce that will give you that sweet yet tangy taste. Served with buttery mashed potatoes and vegetable-of-the-day – it provides the perfect balance to a perfect meal.
For fish lovers, indulge in Swensen’s Teriyaki Salmon with mashed potatoes and vegetables-of-the-day. The salmon is perfectly grilled and topped with julienne ginger and leek, covered with umani rich teriyaki sauce. You will also get that great boost of that extra brainpower as salmon is rich in omega-3.
If you are craving for Italian meals, head down to Pastamania and try their Spicy Chicken or Prawn Aglio. Pastas are high in fibre and low in calories. So go on and dig in – guilt free!
Eat slowly, and do not rush through your food. Remember when you were a child and your parents asked you to count to 10 while chewing before swallowing? Your parents didn’t ask you to do it just for fun! Ok – maybe a little bit. But there is a valid reason for it then, and it still holds now.
Chewing your food slowly ensures your food is broken down sufficiently into smaller bits before it enters the digestive track, making it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients as the food particles pass through. This whole process in turn fills you up faster, lessening the chances of overeating.
Still another way to practice mindful eating is to have meals together with your friends and family whenever possible instead of in front of TV or a laptop. This not only prevents overeating but also improves your relationship with people close to you.
6. Cook at home
Cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you are eating and better monitor exactly what goes into your food. It’s a great way to make sure the ingredients are healthy, and portions are correct.
It may be tiring to cook after a busy work day, so you can try cooking for the week during the weekends, and then apportioning the food for the weekdays.
Label your food according to days then store them in the freezer in air-tight containers so they stay fresh. Simply heat them up in the microwave when you are back from work and voilà! you have yourself an easy and fuss-free warm meal!
Also, to save you the time and effort from cleaning up after cooking, invest in some non-stick pans which you can get from Metro at Causeway Point. This is great for cooking and is arguably the healthier way to cook as it makes you use less oil and butter.
Plus, provided they are not overheated (temperature not exceeding 260ºC), the non-stick pan’s coating will not break down and leave toxic particles and gases on your food.