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Indulge the healthy way: Eat well… and enjoy it!

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Malaysians love their food. But with obesity and diet-related diseases on the rise, there is a growing concern about healthy eating – the thought of which doesn’t always sound very appetizing. Does healthy eating have to be the enemy of indulgent eating? Not necessarily! Here are some tips on how to enjoy your food while watching those calories.

  • Drink more tea: Instead of your regular kopi or Milo, opt for teh limau, Chinese tea, Chrysanthemum tea (not the packet ones, though), or any other herbal tea. Not only are these drinks lower in calories (don’t forget to ask for no / reduced sugar!), they are also packed with natural cleansing goodness for the body.
  • Snack away: Malaysians love to snack and the abundance of food vendors on every street makes snacking all the easier. This doesn’t have to be a threat for the waistline, as long as you make the right choices and limit your portion sizes.  In fact, eating every few hours will keep your metabolism revved up, which means you’ll feel more alert and burn more calories throughout the day. (Healthier snack options: Chapati, thosai, putumayam, popiah, homemade soya milk with less/no sugar)
  • Slurp up: Whether your favorite is kuay teow soup or assam laksa, soups fill you up with hearty, full goodness at a fraction of the calories. (Go for clear soups instead of milky curries / laksas.)
  • Don’t fight cravings: Binging is almost always the result of fighting back cravings for too long. Don’t be afraid to eat everything, but in moderation. A satisfying plate of char kuey teow once in a while is better than a week-long binge of greasy, oily foods. Additionally, cravings may actually signal what our body is running low on. If you’re craving some fried chicken, perhaps you could use more protein. Opt for a leaner meat option like breast meat, and your cravings will probably diminish.
  • Don’t eat if you’re not hungry: Go against conventional meal times. Our bodies are more intuitive than we give it credit for, and know what we need. Pay attention to what your body is telling you – eat if you’re hungry, and don’t if you’re not.
  • Eat sitting down: Taking the time to fully chew and digest your food means you’ll not only avoid digestive problems / feeling bloated after, but you’ll also feel fuller on less. Our brain takes time to register that we’re full, so eating too fast makes it easy to overeat!
  • It’s all in the mind: Food disorders – over eating, binge eating, or not eating enough (anorexia) – are all classified as psychological disorders. That’s because most of the time, our eating / weight issues start in the mind. Disciplining your body to cut calories and avoid certain foods won’t do any good if you don’t discipline your mind to take a healthy, balanced perspective to food.

To sum it up, eat thoughtfully. Think carefully about how you’re nourishing your body, and you’ll not only avoid eating too fast, too much, or the wrong foods for your body – but you’ll probably enjoy it a lot more too!


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