The way to improve the health of the nation starts at home and that old saying is as true today as it ever was, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Yet many of us find the task of making healthy home-cooked meal a very daunting one, even though we’re fully aware that eating quality home-cooked food is the cornerstone of keeping everyone in the family healthy and happy.
Being a full-time working mother, I can understand those feelings. When we’re already heavily-burdened with responsibilities, no one is going to jump for joy over the prospect of cooking for the family only to be rewarded with moans and groans about how they don’t like this or they don’t like that. That’s the reason why many of us aren’t doing much about it.
On a personal note, I also find it terrifying to see the amount of health problems associated with obesity that have statistically increased in the past ten years or so. 40% of Singaporeans are overweight and they are exceeding their daily salt intake. There is also an increased intake of total energy per day because more people are eating out.
To call this trend disturbing is indeed an understatement and I think everyone can agree on this point that we, as a society, can do something to reverse this trend. Families play a pivotal role in nurturing and sustaining healthy lifestyle practices. Home-cooked food is where we can have greatest control over what goes into our food and, subsequently, enters our stomach.
Healthy cooking can be easy, fun and creative!
Nowadays, I also realize that I don’t need to spend a lot of time to prepare a healthy home-cooked meal. Just add a little convenience to my kitchen, and I’m able to whip together a healthy meal before the pizza delivery guy arrives at my door step.
We can find chopped lettuce, spinach and other greens in prepared packages. Most supermarkets also carry packages of green beans, broccoli, carrots and other vegetables that are ready to eat with just a few minutes of steaming in the microwave. Some healthy foods like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, are also naturally ready to eat. By choosing these pre-prepared foods, we have much of the work done for us!
The next time you’re in the kitchen preparing the family meal, try to get your kids to participate too. Start out slowly by having them to wash the vegetables or peel the potatoes. You can also ask them to taste the food and what they think the “recipe” is lacking, and then let them pick the spices or sauces that they think would make the dish even better. It will bring the growing excitement about preparing the dinner together!
Guide to eating healthy!
1. Eat two servings of both fruits and vegetables daily
Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in energy, fat and salt. They are also wonderful sources of fibre and many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that offer healthy benefits beyond nutrition.
2. Have two-three servings of whole grains daily
By eating more whole-grains, we can lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. The different components in whole-grains work together to protect our health. They are rich in fibre, which promotes proper bowel movement and helps us feel full with fewer calories.
3. Consuming less salt
Studies show that 9 in 10 Singaporeans consume almost 2 times the recommended amount of 5 grams of salt. A diet high in salt can lead to high blood pressure and greater risk of heart diseases. More than 80% of salt intake comes from salt and sauces that added are added to our food.
4. Consuming less oil and choosing the right type of fat
Trans fat increases LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, thus increasing the risk of heart diseases. As part of healthy eating, we should aim to consume fat in moderate amounts. Having too much fat will provide excess calories.
5. Using healthier cooking options
Steaming is a healthy and low-fat cooking method that brings out the flavours of fresh ingredients. Grill or bake, instead of deep-frying, is also a great way to create tasty dishes that are healthier and lower in fat. Use unsaturated oil to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Lastly, products carrying the HCS are generally lower in total fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar.
More information: http://hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/programmes?article/2780
Let’s Cook Healthy Together Photo Contest by HPB
This is a contest organized by HPB to promote healthy cooking and eating among family members. To promote healthy eating to our children, families should include a child below the age of 18 in their photo to join the contest.
The exciting part is that there are prizes worth up to $6,000 for grabs! This contest is also aimed to help families strengthen bonds and realize that cooking together can be fun.
More contest information is stated hereunder:
This photo contest is open to Singapore residents. Participants must submit 1 coloured photo of their healthy dish along with the recipe. You can also submit an additional photo of you and 2 to 4 family members or friends cooking together to get 5 – 20 Bonus Points! Names and NRICs of participating family members must also be included during the submission process. Incomplete entries will be disqualified.
2. Important Dates
Submissions for the photo contest starts on 13 Aug 2012 (09:00) till 16 Sep 2012 (23:59), and public voting from 11 Sep 2012 (09:00) till 21 Sep 2012 (17:00). The judges will pick the winners from 24 Sep 2012 onwards. Winners will be announced on 28 Sep 2012 (09:01).
There will be three top prizes and nine consolation prizes. Finalists will be determined by public votes, and judges will pick the final winners.
$3,000 FairPrice vouchers
3 Cooking classes for a family of 4 at Cookery Magic
$2,000 FairPrice vouchers
2 Cooking classes for a family of 4 at Cookery Magic
$1,000 FairPrice vouchers
1 Cooking classes for a family of 4 at Cookery Magic
11 Consolation Prizes of $100 FairPrice vouchers each
The public may vote for the entries from 11 Sep 2012 (09:00) till 21 Sep 2012 (17:00). They can do this by clicking “Like” on the photo. Each person is limited to 1 vote per day. Votes from automated processes or scripts will be disqualified.
Judging criteria will be based on your recipe, dish creativity, and whether you and your family had fun in the photo. Judging will be done on Sep 24 2012 onwards.
For more contest details, please visit the following websites:
I will be participating in the contest for sure. I hope to see your photo submission too, let’s come and join the contest together!
This post is sponsored by Health Promotion Board.
This post was updated on 12 Sep 2012.