The topic of eating healthy is on everyone’s lips. Juice cleanses, gluten-free everything, rutabagas paleo diet – food trends and fads are sprouting out fast, and people are taking to the healthy lifestyle like fish to water. Since Singaporeans love food so much, it’s only natural that we are always on the lookout for alternative ways to enjoy food in Singapore. But now that Singaporeans are becoming increasingly informed about healthy food choices, it does beg the question – how healthy is the Singaporean cuisine? Let’s discover food in Singapore again.
Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing
Food in Singapore is so dense, making it extremely easy to find good food all the time. Because of that, it is often more economical to buy something from a hawker centre, instead of whipping out the pots. We all know which dishes are notoriously unhealthy – those we consume with full knowledge that it violates every precept of a healthy lifestyle. And so, perhaps what is scarier is that those we deem “healthier options” in the hawker centre aren’t always so.
Case one: sliced fish soup. While sliced fish soup is commonly a healthy choice of food in Singapore, danger lurks in the soup itself. According to Health Xchange, a bowl of sliced fish bee hoon soup is estimated to contain about 1.5 mg of sodium, almost a third of the recommended daily sodium intake. Perhaps leave the soup behind next time.
Case two: century egg porridge. Porridge is a go-to dish for many when feeling under the weather or looking for a less greasy dinner in Singapore. Century egg is one of the most common and popular complements for porridge. However, those seemingly harmless gelatinous slices pack a punch of cholesterol. Health Xchange estimates a bowl of century egg porridge to contain 340 mg of cholesterol, which is way over the recommended daily intake.
Healthy Eating Isn’t Only Food
When your hectic week culminates in a portmanteau of two necessary meals, we tend to eat a lot. Brunch, as we so endearingly call it, may have started as a fad but is a phenomenon that is quick turning into a subculture of food in Singapore. Brunch can be considered a new breed of fine dining and is often the idyllic time to invest in some of your comfort food in Singapore.
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What Studies Say
Although recent studies debate the necessity to adhere to the rule of having 3 main meals a day, the issue at hand is more of the implications of skipping breakfast all in the name of saving tummy room for brunch. If anything, this sounds like the recipe to over-eating. A huge decadent meal accompanied with the occasional day-drunkenness can make you feel more sluggish, lowering your productivity for the rest of day. It is not always what you eat, but how and when you eat that makes can make a whole lot of difference. When it comes to healthy food, then chef Shalu Asnani is one of the leading examples in Singapore.
Cue the excuses. “It’s the only time I splurge on some of the best food around town, it’s fine to over-eat once in awhile!” “I’m still young so my body can process the fats and cholesterols.” It is true that one brunch cannot radically alter your health, just like how one salad will not make you slimmer. The danger only kicks in when brunch becomes a ritual. It is easier for that to happen than you think and before you know it, you are spiralling into an abyss of partially cooked eggs, truffle fries and craft beer.
Healthy Dinner Ideas:
Supper Isn’t The Best Either
In terms of meeting over food in Singapore, the supper culture has been around much longer than brunch, and its concept differs a little. While brunch is often a shrewd plan made in advance to indulge and splurge on good food, supper is somewhat more spontaneous and about giving in to late night whims and fancies. Everyone has his or her favourite supper haunts, but regardless of what you deem the best food for supper, we know it’s not going to be all quinoa and avocados.
Singaporeans are always in a hurry – stop walking in the middle of the Central Business District’s lunchtime crowd and you’ll know what it means to incur the wrath of Singaporeans. We often find ourselves gobbling food in Singapore in efforts to save time. However, eating quickly means that you your body doesn’t have time to tell you what it needs and you don’t have time to listen.
Having an acute awareness of your body, also known as mindfulness, is an interesting way to get in touch with your being. Mindfulness is a concept with Buddhist roots but has over the years permeated secular contemporary culture and is believed to be applicable in many areas of life. Mindfulness does not directly alter your diet but the way you consume and enjoy food, regardless whether it’s fast food or fine dining.
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“The rhythm of life is becoming faster and faster, so we really don’t have the same awareness and the same ability to check into ourselves,” said Dr Lilian Cheung, co-author of Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. “That’s why mindful eating is becoming more important. We need to be coming back to ourselves and saying: ‘Does my body need this? Why am I eating this? Is it just because I’m so sad and stressed out?’”
So how does one begin with mindful eating? So you’ve invited your friends over for some private dining and your private chef is cooking up a storm in the kitchen. After the first bite of delicious food, muster the strength to place your cutlery down and savour the flavour. Even if it’s not private dining but just a handful of raisins you’ve got, mindfulness can still be cultivated. This hypersensitivity and hyper-consciousness can help you recognise things that usually go unnoticed, like the tangy undertones of raisins or the chewiness of the skin. Mindfulness is a fascinating concept, particularly for Singaporeans who experience such a fast pace of life.