Making healthy food choices is one of many healthy eating habits.

Trying to eat better or develop healthy eating habits? It’s not always easy to have a meal that has wholegrains, protein, and fruit and veggies in balanced amounts, especially if we eat out a lot.

Learn how to use My Healthy Plate to build balanced, healthy meals when dining out.

Making Healthy Food Choices When Dining Out

At hawker centres or food courts, many familiar dishes have carbs the main component with some protein and veggies.

For example, char kway teow is mostly carbs. It is kway teow fried with a handful of protein like hum and lup cheong, and a few leaves of chye sim.

Another local favourite, chicken rice, comprises of chicken (protein), oily rice (carbs) and a few slices of cucumber (greens). This dish is skewed towards proteins and carbs.

What can we do to turn these dishes into healthy meals?

Related: Eating Light At A Hawker Centre Is Possible

Use My Healthy Plate for Balanced, Healthy Meals

Here’s where My Healthy Plate comes in; it’s a simple visual guide to remind us to eat healthy meals.

My Healthy Plate is a visual guide on what to put on our plates to help us maintain a healthy balanced diet. 

Make your plate healthy and balanced in three steps:

  1. Fill half your plate with fruit and veggies
  2. Fill a quarter with wholegrains
  3. Fill a quarter with meat and other lean proteins

 

Related: My Healthy Plate

Now let’s put this tool to the test with real-world examples.

Ask for a Side Order of Greens

Mixed Vegetable Rice

  • It’s easy to build a healthy meal if you’re ordering mixed vegetable rice (2 veg + 1 meat + brown rice). Quarter plate of wholegrains: Brown rice, if available
  • Half a plate of fruit and vegetables: Stir-fried long beans, stir-fried kang kong
  • Quarter plate of meat and other proteins: Steamed egg with minced meat

Chicken Rice

But let’s say you order chicken rice. With My Healthy Plate in mind, you notice a lack of greens. One solution is to add a side order of kai lan.

Wanton Mee or Sliced Fish Bee Hoon

Similarly, when ordering wanton mee or sliced fish bee hoon, ask for extra veggies (e.g. chye sim). Grab a fruit to complete your meal.

Eat More Wholegrains

Ask the stall owner if he serves brown rice or brown rice bee hoon. Another way is to look for the "We offer wholegrain options" decal.

And expand your choices! Pick soba (made from buckwheat) over ramen or chapatti (made from whole-wheat flour) over prata.

Indian Food

  • Quarter plate of wholegrains: 2 chapattisor 1 thosai
  • Half a plate of fruit and vegetables: Tandoori gobi(cauliflower), 1 slice of pineapple
  • Quarter plate of meat and other lean proteins: Chicken tikka

Go for Quality Over Quantity

We also want to focus on food quality and preparation methods: choose fresh and light over-processed and heavy — lean protein over luncheon meat; grilled, stir-fried, steamed, or roasted dishes over deep-fried food or gravies.

Remember, My Healthy Plate is flexible. Missed something during lunch? Make up for it at dinner!

For more meal ideas, check out Plan Your Meals with My Healthy Plate.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.


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