Eating right

Salted egg yolks are high in cholesterol and sodium, but dishes such as salted egg cheese fries (left) are popular.
Salted egg yolks are high in cholesterol and sodium, but dishes such as salted egg cheese fries (left) are popular.PHOTO: BLACK TONGUE BISTRO & BAR

The new year is hardly ever good on the stomach and there is some irony in a resolution to gain a better body just after the excesses of the festive season.

However, experts from National University Hospital (NUH) are on hand to give diet advice for 2017.

When asked what one can eat to offset the sinful festive meals, Ms Pamela Er, senior dietitian at the NUH Centre for Obesity Management and Surgery, said: "There's nothing you can eat to compensate for the fact that you have already overeaten and taken an excessive caloric intake."

Instead, the "offsetting" could come from things like physical activity.

She recommended a more restrained diet, such as taking brown rice with non-fried meat items and vegetable side dishes. She urged people to prepare their own meals using healthier cooking methods, such as steaming or grilling.

Creating a culture of good nutrition, whether in the workplace or at home, is important, she said. An example could be encouraging colleagues to "take along their own home-made bento lunch".

 

For those who celebrate Chinese New Year, which falls on Jan 28 and 29 this year, Ms Er suggested opting for sugar-free diet beverages or plain water, rather than sweetened or alcoholic drinks when visiting.

"Share your festive treats with friends and family, instead of eating everything yourself."

She said people could also use calorie-counting apps to help them keep track of what they had eaten.

Dr Asim Shabbir, director of the NUH Centre for Obesity Management and Surgery, recommended getting a pedometer to ensure that one walks "the recommended 10,000 steps a day".

There are two recent food trends that Ms Er is concerned about - salted egg yolks and milkshakes.

She said salted egg yolks are high in cholesterol and sodium, and the creamy sauce is usually prepared with plenty of full cream milk and butter, significantly increasing the risk of heart disease.

"Another highly photogenic food fad seen on many social media platformsis the over-the-top milkshake," she said.

It is usually prepared in mason jars and filled with ice cream, fudge and whipped cream. "A serving of this monstrous milkshake will easily hit at least 800 calories," she added.

One's average daily intake should be about 2,000 calories.

But these experts are positive about 2017. Dr Asim said: "I see us all making healthier choices while enjoying the festive celebrations and a great year ahead."

Jose Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2017, with the headline 'Eating right'. Print Edition | Subscribe