Monday, 21 May 2018

Singapore Health Promotion Board encourages healthier Rayas

Cookies on sale at the Geylang Serai Ramadhan bazaar, 2015.
Cookies on sale at the Geylang Serai Ramadhan bazaar, 2015.

The Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB)'s Korang ok? Kurangkan ok? (Are you ok? Reduce it ok?) campaign, targeted at the Malay community, extends all the way to Eid (Hari Raya) and beyond.

Ending July 2018, the campaign aims to get the Malay community to embrace healthy eating habits, such as cutting sugar intake and eating less during Ramadhan, and continue past the month.

Hari Raya food.
Hari Raya food.
Tips for healthy eating during Hari Raya include:

- Opt to serve lower sugar beverages with the Healthier Choice Symbol. Alternatively, you add frozen fruit chunks to a jug of water for a fruity flavour.

- Consider serving fresh fruit for dessert, alongside traditional Hari Raya snacks which are high in sugar and fat.

- When baking at home, use less sugar in the recipes or choose to use fruits or fruit juice as a natural sweetener instead.

- Continue to eat all food items in moderation and maintain a balanced diet. Use My Healthy Plate as a guide for a healthier, well-balanced diet:  half the plate should be filled with fruit and vegetables, a quarter of the plate with brown rice or wholemeal bread and the other quarter with meat and other types of proteins such as fish or tofu. The HPB advises that if individuals cannot follow My Healthy Plate at each meal, then plan to eat food from all food groups.

- Prepare food using healthier ingredients, guided by products carrying the Healthier Choice Symbol including cooking oils and sauces. Healthy substitutions that do not compromise on taste include making rendang with lean chicken and low-fat yoghurt.

- Include wholegrains. Eating more wholegrains has been shown to lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes. Furthermore, wholegrains add bulk to your diet and can promote the feeling of fullness for a longer period of time, preventing unnecessary snacking. Dishes, such as lontong, can also be prepared using wholegrains by replacing white rice with brown rice.

- Include more vegetable dishes in the Hari Raya spread. Use a variety of colourful vegetables, such as carrots, leeks, green leafy vegetables, cabbage and capsicums.

- Choose healthier cooking methods such as baking, grilling, air-frying or steaming, instead of deep-frying.