Eating well: tips from our dietitians

Singaporeans love their food, and it’s possible to eat well without feeling guilty with these eight golden rules from the dietitians at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.

Variety is the spice of life

No single food can provide all the nutrients your body requires every day. Select a variety of foods from the different food groups. Eat more rice and foods that provide carbohydrates and dietary fibre, a moderate portion of fruits and vegetables, a small amount of meat and protein-rich foods, and minimal fat, oil, sugar and salt.

Forget extremes, eat sensibly and in moderation

Do not go to extremes if you want to achieve and maintain a body weight that falls within the normal range. Food provides us with the energy to perform a full range of daily activities. To help us stay trim and fit, our energy input (what we eat) should be balanced by our energy output (what we do).

Enjoy grains

Enjoy foods that are rich in carbohydr​ates or starch, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Grains and grain products make up some of Singapore’s favourite foods, including noodles, pasta, chapati, lontong and porridge.

Remember your fruits and vegetables

Most vegetables and fruits are low in calories and high in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Eat two portions of fruits and two portions of vegetables every day. Add colour, taste and health to your meals with bright green, leafy vegetables, red chillies and tomatoes, as well as fruits like papaya, banana, watermelon, starfruit and longan.

Cut down on fats

Choose and prepare dishes that are low in fat, especially saturated fats. Weight for weight, all types of fat have more than double the caloric value of carbohydrates and proteins. Cut down on your fat intake to significantly reduce your total caloric consumption.

Reduce salt, go natural

Use less salt and sauces. Salt or sodium occurs naturally in all foods as well as in table salt, seasonings, ready-made sauces, preserved and processed foods. Reduce your salt intake gradually and you will soon begin to appreciate new tastes and subtle flavours that would otherwise have been overwhelmed by salt.

Go easy on the sugar

A good way to reduce calories is to cut out sugar by taking fewer sweet drinks. A can of soft drink consumed twice a day adds to your sugar intake by about 15 teaspoons of sugar or 280kcal a day!

Alcohol in moderation

Alcohol contains calories and excessive drinking can lead to weight gain, heart problems and alcohol dependency. If you must, take no more than two standard drinks for women and no more than three for men.

Information adapted from Where is the Fat? Cookbook, which is available at SGH Pharmacy, Block 4.

Ref: T12