Prepare healthy meals with vegetables, fruits and wholegrains

My Healthy Plate (MHP) is an easy-to-understand, visual guide created by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) for Singaporeans to follow and enjoy balanced, healthier meals.

All you have to do is to “Quarter, Quarter, Half” (QQH) your plate – Quarter (¼) plate of wholegrains or wholemeal foods, Quarter (¼) plate of protein such as lean cuts of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy products such as low-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, as well as plant-based protein such as tofu, tempeh, nuts, beans and legumes. The remaining Half (½) plate should be for different types of fruits and vegetables.

When you Quarter, Quarter, Half (QQH), you are well on the road to cultivating balanced, healthier eating habits which aid in your weight management while helping to keep chronic diseases at bay.

Use the healthy plate to cultivate healthy eating habits

While My Healthy Plate (MHP) may be a single-plate visual, “Quarter, Quarter, Half” (QQH) can still be applied in any meal, setting or occasion to create a healthy and well-balanced meal according to your dietary preferences. You do not always have to have your food in perfect Quarter, Quarter, Half (QQH) proportions on a plate like you would for economic rice or Nasi Padang.

#1 Think outside the circle!

Soup, for example, is probably not something that comes to mind when talking about Quarter, Quarter, Half (QQH). While you wouldn’t consume soup on a plate— you can consider the relative sizes of each section when choosing what to add to the pot before serving it in a bowl. Ensure that about a quarter of the ingredients in your soup bowl consists of wholegrains such as wholegrain noodles or bee hoon. Next add in a quarter of protein such as tofu, sliced fish or lean meat, and complete the remaining half of the ingredients with a variety of colorful vegetables such as carrots, celery, spinach, and tomatoes, for a balanced bowl of soupy goodness!

Likewise, for other types of foods that don’t fit exactly onto a plate such as wraps, burgers and sandwiches. Remember to choose healthier options, this includes wholegrains such as multigrain bread, wholegrain wraps or wholemeal buns. Two slices of multigrain bread, one wrap, or one bun would amount to approximately quarter plate of wholegrains.

For a healthier meal switch to wholegrain wraps and wholegrain bread
Wholegrain tortilla with grilled chicken and fresh vegetables

When it comes to selecting your protein, choose grilled, lean meat or non-meat based options such as tofu, egg, and low-fat cheese or beans. All you need is around one palm size of lean meat, or two eggs with one sliced cheese to fulfil the next quarter in the Quarter Quarter Half (QQH) concept. Do avoid or limit intake of preserved or processed meats like luncheon meat and sausages, as they are lower in protein, yet high in saturated fats and sodium.

Lastly, make sure that you have half a plate of fruit and vegetables. You can do so by having a salad as a side dish, as well as fruit for dessert. Other ways would be to incorporate vegetables as an ingredient into your stir-fry or stew and you can even turn fresh vegetables into a warm and comforting bowl of soup. Don’t be mistaken— fries and wedges are not considered as vegetables!

#2 Pair it up!

It doesn’t always have to be all housed within one dish or plate. To Quarter, Quarter, Half (QQH), simply include all the food groups in the right proportions. This includes your local favourites too where you can always pair your dishes for more benefits! The key is to remember to add on a side of the Quarter Quarter Half (QQH) component that is missing from your meal.

For example, if you have chapati with vegetable curry, you could pair this with a glass of low-fat milk for your protein needs.

Meet your protein needs by pairing your meal with a glass of low-fat milk

Low-fat milk provides you with the required protein without the added fat

For breakfast, choose wholemeal bread for your toast, and pair it with soft-boiled eggs for protein. Adding peanut butter spread to your toast instead of a sugary, sweet spread helps to add a dose of protein too! Lastly, grab a handy fruit like an apple or banana to finish your meal.

Peanut butter is another good source of protein

Eggs are highly nutritious and protein-dense food

What about our hawker favourites like Wanton Mee? Most of our Wanton Mee already come with noodles, wantons and char siew. Ask for wholegrain noodles where available to make up the quarter plate of wholegrains. All that’s left is to pair this with a side of vegetables and some fruit to complete the meal!

Ask for more vegetables when ordering hawker meals

In the event you are unable to find meal options that fit fully with My Healthy Plate (MHP) - Quarter Quarter Half (QQH), don’t fret! You can always make up for it in the next meal! For example, you can choose to have unsalted nuts or low-fat yoghurt afterwards for a healthy afternoon snack if your lunch lacked protein.

#3 Cooking at home? Even better!

Whether you’re making fried noodles, fried rice, cooking tze char style, or even preparing multi-course meals, it’s also possible to Quarter, Quarter, Half (QQH) your meals. All you have to do is to balance out the different dishes and opt for healthier ingredients so that you get a well-balanced and healthier meal!

Cooking at home, Tze Char style? Dish up wholegrains such as wholegrain noodles or brown rice if you are cooking fried rice or noodles. Include protein such as lean meat, egg, or a tofu dish, and last but not least, ensure that half of your ingredients include fresh or frozen vegetables. Why not end the meal with a fruit platter?

Strive to consume more balanced meals

Try indulging in a fruit platter the next time you’re craving for something sweet

On special occasions where you may decide to whip up multi-course meals such as a romantic meal by candlelight for two, start off with an appetiser of colourful salad filled with crunchy, delicious vegetables. For mains, how about some grilled chicken paired with brown rice or wholegrain pasta? End of the evening with luscious, juicy sweet fruit instead of a sugary dessert.

Healthy meals with vegetables and wholegrain will keep you sated for longer.

Lastly, here are some useful tips!  Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables or perhaps canned Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS)-certified tuna and sardines. These ingredients will help you whip up a balanced meal any time, especially near the tail-end of the week when you run out of fresh ingredients. If you are concerned about not getting enough nutrients, not to worry as frozen fruit and vegetable options are equally as nutritious as its fresh options. Canned tuna and sardines are also budget friendly and tasty protein sources, just always remember to choose Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) products to lower your sodium intake where possible.

#4 Choose the healthier option whenever possible

As much as it’s important to Quarter Quarter Half (QQH) our meals, don’t forget to choose healthier options whenever possible. Remember, for each food group, choose food products that are lower in saturated fats, sodium and higher in wholegrains. For drinks, choose lower-sugar or no sugar options. Better yet, go for water for a refreshing, thirst quenching, zero-calorie beverage.

Keep a lookout for products with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS). Reading and understanding the Nutrition Information Panels when grocery shopping will also help you cook healthier, balanced meals at home. If you’re eating out or ordering in, make sure to keep an eye out for the Healthier Dining Partners (HDP) identifiers and order from these participating healthier food outlets.

Use the healthier choice pyramid to foster a healthier diet Take note of the healthier options available
Healthier Choice SymbolHealthier Dining Partners

Not only can your meals be healthier, you also get rewarded with Healthpoints that can be converted into sure-win rewards under the Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy Challenge, when you scan the QR code on your receipts with the Healthy 365 app for eligible purchases!

Remember — it’s always flexible

To have a balanced and nutritious meal, just keep in mind the My Healthy Plate (MHP) guide. With quarter plate wholegrains, quarter plate protein and half plate of fruits and vegetables, you are free to customise and pick food items you would eat from these food groups, as long as you include all of them in the right proportions.

If you are unable to find meal options that fit fully with My Healthy Plate-Quarter Quarter Half, don’t fret! You can always make up for it in the next meal.

It’s easy to enjoy healthier, balanced meals when you Quarter, Quarter, Half with the My Healthy Plate (MHP) guide.

Information on My Healthy Plate is available via the HealthHub mobile app, which can be downloaded for free at the Apple Store and Google Play.