Eating less sugar, salt, bad fats and carbs and piling up on fibre, vegetables and lean protein in our meals sounds pretty straight forward, right? But add a busy city lifestyle and minimal time to do meal prep and it’s off to our beloved hawker centre we go. Eating healthily doesn’t have to go out of the window though; all you need are some smart hawker meal choices and adaptations. We speak to Singapore nutritionist Charlotte Mei who reveals how we can build positive relationships with food across all spectrums.
Hawker food gets a bad rep for being unhealthy. Is this justified?
Charlotte: Look at each meal time as an opportunity to gain the nutrients we need in our diet. Strive to include carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables as much as you can. Hawker foods may not be the healthiest as many contain few vegetables and protein and high amounts of salt, sugar and fat.
However, you are the gatekeeper of your diet. No matter where you’re eating, you can always make small tweaks to improve the nutrition balance of a dish — even at the hawker centre. Don’t order blindly. Request more protein, leaner cuts of meat, more vegetables, less noodles or carbohydrates and less gravy. Simply by skipping the additional condiments such as soy sauce you will make a difference.