1. Eat regularly
Eating regularly helps to regulate your blood sugar level. In this way, you’ll stop feeling bored, moody or crave sweet treats throughout the day.
2. Eat less processed foods
Processed foods are often high in trans fats and laden with salt and sugar. Recently, the Health Organisation even classified processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen, which means there’s enough evidence to show it can cause cancer.
These cheap meats not only have no nutritional value, but also contain chemicals that act as an addictive, making you crave more of them.
Replace ham and hotdogs with lean cuts of protein like chicken or fish instead – they’ll keep you full for longer, and you’ll be doing your body a massive favour in the long run.
3. Train your taste buds
Don’t write brown rice off your diet just because you can’t get used to its taste. You tastes and preferences have been moulded over the years, and it’ll take a while for you to adapt, so introduce changes slowly.
Try mixing brown rice with white rice when cooking at home, or eat Greek yogurt with a dash of honey if the plain version is too sour for you. Get yourself time to adjust to wholesome foods.
4. Choose between drinks and dessert
If you want to accompany your lunch with a caramel frappe or end your dinner with a glass of bubbly, skip dessert.
Save yourself the calories by limiting yourself to one indulgence per meal, and work towards lowering that to once a day, then every other day and so forth.
5. Always share dessert
Halve that brownie to halve the calories. In that way, you’ll get to enjoy the taste of dessert without being weighed down by the sugar and kcal.
If you’re dining solo and can’t resist a sweet treat, healthier options includes having a fruit, a small serving of yogurt or two square of dark chocolate.
6. Don’t blindly choose low fat
Low-fast and low-calorie options in the supermarket may not always be healthier.
The label may state that it contains zero fat but that could also mean it’s packed with sugar or artificial flavours to act as a substitute for taste. Hence, it’s best to look at the ingredient list.
7. Listen to your body
When you feel like reaching out for a 3pm bite, ask yourself if you’re really hungry and just bored or thirsty.
Often, food becomes an easy avenue to entertain ourselves and mindless snacking only leads to piling on more calories than necessary. And when you sit down to a meal, chew slowly and learn to identify the point where you start feeling full.
8. Load up on veggies
Aim to have half your plate full of vegetables at lunch and dinner.
The fibre-rich produce will fill you up, plus you’ll be getting a good mix of phytonutrients and vitamins with your meals. Unfortunately, this is surprisingly hard to achieve in Singapore, since most of our local dishes only come with token pieces of cucumbers or beansprouts.
9. Read your labels
Whole, natural produce like apples or cabbage don’t need any labels, whereas a bag of chips comes with a list of ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Avoid anything that lists artificial flavours, preservations, corn syrup, shortening or palm oil as the first ingredients, and steer clear if the product is high in salt and sugar.
10. Choose wisely
Healthy options can be scarce at hawker centres. Instead of boycotting local dishes, make simple tweaks to make your meal less fattening.
Some ideas: Opt for sliced fish instead of fried frish when ordering fish soup. Choose fresh, whole vegetables when eating yong tau foo. Skip the sausages, fishcake and mock meat items. Ask for less rice or noodles.
This story was first published in SHAPE Singapore.