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Healthy Eating - Expert Advice

​Eating and living healthily does not have to make you feel deprived. Healthy food can taste great if you learn to prepare them in a way that enhances their natural flavours. The winner of MasterChef Asia, Woo Wai Leong, believes that maintaining a healthy diet is not that difficult a task — it just requires a different perspective. 

Here are his top tips on eating right without having to completely give up on the things you love. 

Spices and Herbs

The average intake of salt for an average Singaporean adult is nine grams per day, which is almost twice the recommended five grams​ . In a society where eating out often is the norm, it becomes difficult to gauge how much salt you consume daily. This can be detrimental to those with high blood pressure, who should stay away from foods with a high salt content. 

The best way to manage your salt intake is to cook at home more often. You will be more aware of what goes into your food and have more control over how much salt is added. If you are worried that cutting down on salt will result in bland food, adding herbs and spices to your cooking for flavour and variety. 

Wholegrains

In Asia, we include a lot of staples like white rice and white bread in our diets. These refined starches have been stripped of nutrients and enter the bloodstream quickly. Studies have also shown that refined grains may increase risk of Type 2 diabetes​.

With this in mind, skip the refined carbohydrates and opt instead for wholegrainssuch as brown rice, quinoa and farro. These grains contain lots of fibre, essential B vitamins, zinc and magnesium  and can be used to replace white rice. Bakers can use wholegrain flour instead of white flour, the wholegrains introduce texture — making meals more interesting. If you are not used to the texture of wholegrains, start by replacing just a quarter of refined grains with wholegrains, then slowly increase the wholegrain proportion.


Smoothies and Teas

The problem for many people whose jobs require them to entertain daily is that packing a home-cooked lunch is not an option. If your job requires eating out more often than not, it may be difficult to get your daily requirement of nutrients. 

So, starting the day right is crucial. Blend (not juice) your favouritefruit and vegetables​ to make a breakfast smoothie, to ensure you get enough fibre for the day. Couple this habit with regularly choosing healthier dishes and cuisines. Instead of taking your clients for a rich lunch, consider taking them for sushi or to a salad bar, which makes for a healthier, nutrition-packed meal. 

Moderation

Eating out​ usually means a lot of seasoning and sauces, fat, and sugar. Limit eating out to no more than three times a week. Instead, try cooking simple recipes at home, or if you can’t eat at home, choosehealthier hawker options  such as fish sliced bee hoon, or yong tau foo.