When it comes to healthy eating, a common misconception is that healthy food is tasteless and bland. This isn’t true. In fact, the key to healthy eating is having a well-balanced diet – one that contains essential nutrients that are important for our body and comprises an ideal proportion of carbohydrates, protein, fibre and fats.

Also, healthy food and eating well doesn’t have to look be boring. “One tip is to have fresh fruits and vegetables in rainbow colours. Other than enjoying a good mix of nutrients, your meal looks more colourful and appealing too,” shares Edward Chan, Senior Dietitian from Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH), managed by SingHealth Community Hospitals, a member of the SingHealth group.

Another balance to aim for is your intake of calories versus the energy that is expended. You should consume just enough calories needed for your daily activities to maintain a healthy weight. You should also avoid ‘empty calorie’ foods, which are typically high in undesirable contents like sugar and trans fat.

Excessive intake of sodium and sugar is often the cause of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. SKCH Dietitian Edward suggests that we avoid highly processed food and look out for added sugar – often listed as fructose corn syrup – in the ingredients list.

Does eating well means bidding farewell to ice-kacang and char kway teow? The good news is that these can still be enjoyed as occasional treats as long as you practise moderation.

Common myths about healthy eating

Myth 1: Healthy food is tasteless, bland and boring.

Fact: It’s possible to find joy in eating nutritious food! Try experimenting with textures, as well as using natural herbs and spices like onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, pepper, chilli and lemon to flavour your food.

Myth 2: It’s impossible to eat healthily when eating out.

Fact: You can still eat well even when eating out, by choosing right. Patronise stalls that use healthier oil and offer whole grain options. Avoid drinking the soup in soupy dishes and ask for less or no gravy. You can also ask for more vegetables to increase your fibre intake, get non-sweetened beverages and have fruits after your meal.

Myth 3: It’s healthy as long as it’s fruit and vegetables.

Fact: Not really because the method of food preparation also matters. Dehydrated veggie chips can be high in sodium and the baking process can strip them of the nutrients found in fresh vegetables. Fruit juice can also contain as much sugar as sweetened drinks so you are better off eating the fresh fruit on its own.

Ref: M19