Guide to healthier hawker food choices

What comes to mind when you think about your favourite hawker centre food?

Oily? Deep-fried? Unhealthy?

Every true Singaporean loves the occasional Char Kway Teow but let’s face it, increasing cholesterol levels and weight gain are huge turn-offs.

This food guide will equip you with the knowledge to make wiser choices when ordering your favourite local delights!

Now, who says you have to give up that plate of Chicken Rice?

Chicken Rice

 

Tips:

  • Ask for white or brown rice instead of flavoured rice, if available
  • Ask for vegetables without sauce/seasoning
  • Remember, cucumber is also vegetable and you can ask for more
  • Avoid or minimize the soy sauce gravy from meat or vegetables
  • Leave the visible fats (skins/fats) behind

Economy Rice


Tips:

  • Ask for brown instead of white rice, if available
  • Choose steamed or braised dishes
  • Have a well-balanced meal by ordering 2 portions of vegetable dishes and 1 portion of meat/fish/beancurd/egg
  • Avoid/minimise the curry, vegetables, meat or soya sauce gravy
  • Limit to 2 deep-fried dishes per week
  • Leave the visible fats (skins/fats) behind

Char Kway Teow


Tips:

  • Ask for less oil, sauces and seasoning
  • Ask for more vegetables
  • Minimise the shellfish intake as it contains high dietary cholesterol
  • Taste the food before dipping into sauces.

 

Noodles and Congee


Tips:

  • Order soup version for lower sodium and fat content
  • Avoid ordering additional organ meat to minimise the cholesterol content
  • Ask for less sauces, oil, and seasonings for dried noodle dishes
  • Leave the gravy behind
  • Leave the visible fats behind

Nasi Lemak


Tips:

  • Take this as a treat than a daily choice
  • Limit to 2 deep-fried dishes per week
  • Ask for brown rice, if available
  • Ask for more vegetables like cucumber

Wanton Noodle


Tips:

  • Order soup version for a lower sodium and fat content rather than the dried version
  • Choose boiled wanton over deep-fried to reduce fat content
  • Ask for less oil if ordering dry noodles
  • Ask for more vegetables
  • Limit to 2 deep-fried dishes per week
  • Taste the food before dipping into sauces
  • Leave the visible fat (skin/fats) behind

 

Kway Chap


Tips:

  • Ask for less internal organ choices as they are high in cholesterol
  • Order an additional vegetable dish if available
  • Taste the food before dipping into sauces
  • Leave the visible fats (skin/fats) behind
  • Leave the soup behind to minimise salt intake

 

Yong Tau Foo


Tips:

  • Choose less deep fried ingredients to reduce fat content
  • Choose more vegetables
  • Choose soup over dry or laksa version for lower fat content
  • Ask for less sweet sauce/seasonings
  • Leave the soup behind to reduce sodium content

Sliced Fish Soup


Tips:

  • Choose fresh over deep-fried fish to reduce fat content
  • Add evaporated milk to provide some calcium content and you need not finish all the soup
  • Taste before dipping into sauces/seasonings
  • Leave the soup behind to reduce sodium content

 

Indian Cuisine


Tips:

  • Choose dishes prepared without ghee
  • Choose white rice instead of briyani (flavoured) rice
  • Choose carbohydrate sources with less fat content such as thosai over roti prata
  • Have a well-balanced meal by ordering 2 portions of vegetable dishes and 1 portion of meat/fish/beancurd/egg
  • Ask for less salt, oil, and seasonings
  • Leave the gravy behind
  • Leave the visible fat (skin/fats) behind

Vegetarian Food


Tips:

  • Ask for brown rice instead of white rice, if available
  • Choose steamed or braised dishes
  • Limit to 2 deep-fried dishes per week
  • Have a well-balanced meal by ordering a variety of vegetable dishes as well as meat alternatives such as beancurd
  • Ask for less gravy, sauce and seasonings

Malay Cuisine


Tips:

  • Ask for brown rice instead of white rice, if available
  • Choose steamed or braised dishes
  • Avoid/minimise the curry, vegetables or soy sauce gravy
  • Limit to 2 deep-fried dishes per week
  • Avoid adding sambal or any form of sauces to the dish
  • Have a well-balanced meal by ordering 2 portions of vegetable dishes and 1 portion of meat/fish/beancurd/egg
  • Leave the visible fats (skin/fats) behind

 

Western Cuisine


Tips:

  • Limit 2 deep-fried dishes per week
  • Choose white rice instead of butter/flavoured rice
  • Choose baked potato (without sour cream or butter) over french fries
  • Choose garden salad with dressing on the side over coleslaw
  • Ask for gravy on the side
  • Leave the visible fats(skin/fats) behind

Snacks/Kueh/Fruits


Tips:

  • Always end your meals with a piece of fresh fruit
  • Limit deep-fried foods e.g. goreng pisang to twice a week
  • Limit the intake of coconut-based snacks/desserts like nyonya kueh or bubur cha-cha
  • Minimise the adding of coconut milk to your sweet dessert like bubur terigu or pulut hitam

Bread/Beverages


Tips:

  • Choose either margarine or kaya spread and not both together to minimise your fat and calorie intake
  • Ask for a thin spread on your bread
  • Minimise choosing sweetened canned drinks or opt for the ‘diet’ version of the drink
  • Ask for less or no sugar/sweetened creamer/condensed milk in your coffee/tea

 

 

Keep your kidneys healthy!

Do you know that every day in Singapore, 1 person is diagnosed with kidney failure every 5 hours?
So eat healthily, exercise regularly and go for health screening where appropriate!