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Malaysians eat at any time of the day. We eat when we are happy, sad, stressed out, bored and of course when we are hungry. We should eat but we have to pay attention to what we eat and make wise food choices.
You need to eat a variety of food in the right amount daily to ensure that you meet all the nutrients required by your body. Eat right according to your age, body weight and activity.
Here are some simple steps towards a healthy diet:
1. Have portions that are suitable for you. If portions are too big, share with your friends. A smaller plate will help cut down on portions.
2. Avoid food like a plate of ‘char kway teow’ or chicken rice or fried rice as the whole plate consists mainly of carbohydrate and very little vegetables and meat. It is not considered a balanced meal.
3. Brown rice is more whole grain, has more fibre and is more nutritious than white rice.
4. Choose food that is steamed or grilled. Avoid very greasy fried foods. A bowl of soup noodles is better than fried noodles and a fresh banana is better than ‘pisang goreng’.
5. Avoid dishes that have a lot of thick sauces (sauces contains a lot of carbohydrate and fat).
6. Use lemon or lime juices or herbs to add flavour to your dishes. Avoid adding tomato/chilli sauce as these sauces has a lot of hidden sugars.
7. Avoid simple sugars – everything listed on the menus as desserts (cakes, biscuits, ice-cream etc). It’s better to have a small portion of fruits.
8. Avoid drinks with large amounts of sugar e.g. fruit juices, soft drinks or packet drinks. Have water instead.
9. Avoid processed food which has a lot of sodium e.g. tinned food and salt fish. Fresh food has more nutrients.
10. Know what you are eating – if you do not know the ingredients in a dish don’t be afraid to ask.
11. Drink plenty of water. At least 8 glasses per day.

Kee Poh Siew
(Diabetes Counsellor)

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