The New Year is a time for renewal, setting new goals and making resolutions. So start the New Year with good eating habits.
Use the Health Diet Pyramid as a guide for eating the right proportion of foods. Rice and alternatives should form the main bulk of your diet, followed by fruits and vegetables, meat and alternatives, with fat forming the smallest component. In general, Singaporeans consume too much fat and not enough fruits and vegetables. There are many health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables and less fat.
Have generous servings of fruits, vegetables and grains daily, as they are excellent sources of dietary fibre. Insoluble fibre found in wholemeal bread and cereals, and most vegetables, is essential in regulating bowel movements. Soluble fibre from fruits, oats, barley, dried or canned beans and some vegetables, helps to reduce blood cholesterol. Fibre is also known to protect against heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.
A diet high in fat, especially saturated fat, contributes to obesity and high blood cholesterol, thereby increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers.
Try these “fat-cutting” tips:
- Choose fresh fruits instead of cakes and pastries for snacks and dessert
- Boil, steam and grill instead of deep-frying your food
- Limit deep-fried food to twice a week
- Skim away the fat in soups and stews
- Trim fat and skin from meat and poultry before cooking or eating
Good nutrition in the early years of a child’s life lays the foundation to future good health. Food habits established during childhood last a lifetime. Start your child right with a good breakfast. Explore the unlimited breakfast ideas. Bread, noodle soup, porridge and breakfast cereals are easy to prepare and save time. Adding fresh and dried fruits to breakfast cereals make it more appetizing, besides improving its nutritional value. Fruit juice, milk and milk-based beverages are also appropriate. Respect your child’s decision on days when he does not want to finish his food. Children enjoy food that look appetizing and appealing. Colour, texture, shape and overall presentation may “turn on” or “switch off” a child’s appetite. Be adventurous and let your creativity run wild. To encourage your child to eat fruits and vegetables, try cutting them into different shapes and sizes. Involving your child in meal preparation and food shopping would help arouse his interest in food.
Make meal times pleasant. Respect your child’s likes and dislikes. Providing a wide range of food and varying food choices is a great way to help your child develop good eating habits. Children are great imitators, so set a good example and make healthy living a part of your family life.