For those who are new in getting into healthy diet or ‘clean-eating’ diet, I’ve come up with few tips and meal ideas that you guys may use in your daily lifestyle. In my opinion, clean-eating isn’t about perfection. Sometimes we have got to be realistic and do the best that we can to eat healthily. Because most people would just give up too easily if too many restrictions involved, especially when it comes to money & budget. Sadly, healthy good quality foods these days are quite expensive compared to junk foods or fast foods.
Id like to set 5 basic ground rules first:
1. You have to cook your own food on daily basis or dedicate few hours during on weekend to cook your own meals for the week. Deal? This is important because eating healthily isn’t a ‘diet’, it is a lifestyle.
2. Limited processed food allowed. Im gonna give you a tip- please read the label! Go for low sodium, less sugar, no trans fat and no added preservatives or artificial flavoring/coloring. Learn to read food labeling. Do a bit of research to understand them. Read! Read! Read!
3. No junk food- cream crackers, biscuits, chips, ice creams, hot dogs, burgers, donuts, sugary buns with creams!!! OMG! No! No! No! If you are spending a lot of time in these isles, then you are in big problem! Thats where all the ‘not so good’ things are. You should be spending most of the time in fresh produce and meat/poultry or fish section.
4. Reduce most refined foods. This includes white sugar, white flour, regular pasta, white bread, etc. Especially if you are trying to lower your body fat, controlling these products would really help. Start gradually. It’s ok. You can certainly mix it up in a week for a bit of variation so that you keep motivated. Eg: Lets say 3 days brown rice, 4 days white rice.
5. Avoid soda and sweet drinks and sweet juices. Try to teach your kids this too. Teach your kids to drink plain water, tea, yogurt drink or fresh juices.
Below is an example of a 3-day meal prep for those who are willing to commit into eating healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle.
Recipes are are under RECIPE tab.
Try to buy a food container with compartments like above picture for you to take to work. It would certainly help you to manage your portion size better.
1. Never skip meals. Ideally try to eat frequent small meals. 4-6x a day.
2. Ditch the bad habit. Reduce sugar and salt. Stop buying condensed milk. Try making tea/coffee with low fat milk and a teaspoon of sugar. If you have already put soy sauce, belacan, etc, DO NOT put more salt!! If you can taste it with your tongue, STOP adding! These are examples of bad habits when preparing our drinks and meals. Avoid sauces/gravy (not till banjir!). My tip is only 1-2Tbs if you have to. Gravy/sauces contain lots of salt & sugar. When you are dining out, they might also have added some MSG. So that’s why you need to reduce them as much as you can. If you are cooking your own meal, just make enough amount of sauce/gravy so that you don’t tempt to put more on your food when you eat.
3. Eat more veggies & fruits in moderation. Fruits and veggies are high in fibers and it will make you feel fuller longer. It’s good for your bowel movement and it’ll will definitely improve your skin complexion. You may want to control overly sweet fruits like mangoes, rambutan, durian, mangosteen etc because of the high sugar level. Everything in moderation ok but try your best to eat fruits on daily basis, especially in the morning. Follow the food serving size guide. Try to have fruits during your morning snack between breakfast & lunch.
4. Eat good healthy fats. These fats are good for you and won’t make you fat! You can get them in fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, eggs, oils (olive, coconut) & dairy products. If you are watching your cholesterol level, try to reduce the egg yolk intake. 3-4x a week is ok.
5. Drink a lot of water! You have to keep yourself hydrated to keep a healthy body function. It is recommended to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. A lot? Well kinda.. but it is possible. I even set a reminder on my phone to drink water. There’s even a phone App for it! If you are craving for sweet drinks, try to drink coffee, tea or fruit infused water. Stay away from sodas! You shouldn’t even be having them in your fridge. I only drink soda when I go for a movie. Other than that, I don’t even think about them. Everything in moderation. And when you do drink it, drink it slowly so you can enjoy it longer and you won’t think about it later.
6. Have a cheat day & treat yourself with nice food. It’s ok to just chill and enjoy once a while. I do it too! I’m a big fan of chocolate desserts but I don’t do it often. Just once a week to Max Brenner’s is ok. 😜. I drink Teh Tarik all the time too, but i use low fat milk and less sugar. You have got to know the right way to enjoy things. Hey, we’ve got to enjoy life too right?! If you do crave for chocolates, go for dark chocolates ok. But not toooo much! 1-2 small squares enough.
7. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! How often? REGULARLY! How often do I exercise? 3-4x a week for an hour. My advice is for you to make a schedule. Write down what sort of exercise you want to do and stick to the plan. Finish your workout. Never quit before you finish your sets. This require discipline and dedication. With a healthy diet and regular exercise, you will feel better, look better, you will lose fat and you will feel more energetic! Most people are unmotivated to do exercise because they think its tiring but the actual fact is exercising will make you more energetic & increase your body metabolism. You will naturally feel more thirsty & often feel hungry. So you will drink more water and eat frequent small meals. Make sense? Just by doing quick simple exercises regularly, you will feel more active and have more energy and motivation to do more stuff!
8. Stop deep frying your food. I’m begging you on this one! Invest in a good quality non-stick pan so that you don’t have to use a lot of oil. Try to use 1-2 Tbs of good oils such as olive oil, canola or sunflower oil for cooking. You don’t need to use a lot of oil when using a non stick pan. Try to pan-fry by searing the food until its perfectly cooked. Same goes with stir fry, you don’t need a lot of oil. 1 Tbs of oil will do. Keep it low fat, low sodium & less sugar in your cooking. Try to incorporate herbs, lemon, chili & pepper in your meals as it will enhance the flavor and reduce your cravings for salt and sugar. Also try to bake your foods, eg: baked chicken, fish, beef, potato chips, vegetables, etc. It is much more healthier and delicious. Healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Make it more interesting ok. Try to be creative & experiment with flavors in a healthy way.
9. Try to have an early dinner and have 8hrs of sleep. People who have their dinner early & have 8hrs sleep able to lose weight fast. This could avoid food binging and unnecessary snacking of food.
10. Always follow the right nutrition & portion balance- carbs, protein, fruits & veggies. Below is the correct food nutrition & portion guide. Fill up half your plate with veggies/fruits (more than 3 colors daily) , 1/4 carbs (preferably complex carbs) & 1/4 protein. Take your dairy servings 3x a day eg: milk, cheese & yogurt (preferably low in fat).
I hope my explanation and guidance help. My last advice is try to stay focused and motivated. Remember why you are doing this. So it’s time to SWITCH and CHANGE for the better you!