Personalised healthy meals, with help from a 'digital dietitian'

Px Plate's head dietitian, Ms Claudia Correia, and chef, Mr Thomas Chew, with one of the healthy meals prepared. The company's app will launch in the middle of next month.
Px Plate's head dietitian, Ms Claudia Correia, and chef, Mr Thomas Chew, with one of the healthy meals prepared. The company's app will launch in the middle of next month.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Eating well is not always easy, but reporter Cheow Sue-Ann gets some help from a new app.

As a young working professional who mostly eats out, I can't always pick and choose what I eat.

I eat some vegetables but I'm never sure if I've had enough, how much sodium is in my food, or even how much I actually need to be eating. And, honestly, I rarely have the time to even think about it.

Which is why I leapt at the chance to try out Px Plate, a personalised meal plan based on the customer's health and lifestyle profile.

First, fill out a form - height, weight, how much exercise, how much physical exertion required in the job. Easy enough. My only gripe was the lack of options for dietary requirements. You cannot specify you're vegetarian, for instance.

The app then calculated my dietary needs and informed the chef who would prepare a packed meal for me to collect.

I headed to a hawker stall near the company's office in Ayer Rajah the next day to collect my meal. I was given three dishes - Asian tofu with quinoa and broccoli, Mediterranean chicken with okra and brown rice and a chickpea stew with sea bass.

Each dish came with a short summary and nutritional information. The information was customised for me, so next to carbohydrates, for example, I would see what percentage of my daily intake of it the dish contained.

The head dietitian of Px Plate, Ms Claudia Correia, 30, who used to work as a dietitian at Raffles Hospital, said: "Dietitians and nutritionists are an expensive service that not everyone can afford, but by digitalising the process, we hope to make eating well something that is available to all."

While people know that they should eat healthy meals, knowing how to eat healthily is a different matter. It also depends on the person's body and lifestyle, she said, but it is a mystery that needs to be unlocked.

"Eating healthy is something important for everyone and is something that should be present from the start. It is crucial in preventing illnesses and ensuring a healthy body and mind."

The Portuguese native has lived in Singapore for six years, and lists laksa and thunder tea rice among her favourite dishes.

She said of the service: "We wanted to ensure we catered to the Singaporean taste, and avoided cold or raw foods - opting instead to design warm and comforting dishes that might be more in line with what people want to eat every day."

Px Plate, which is developed and owned by Scientific Innovations Company, and bills itself as a digital dietitian, will launch in the middle of next month, with a relatively small menu of three dishes, but each customised to the client's energy and healthcare needs.

The company hopes to expand its options as it gains more customers. The price per plate as of now is $15, including the initial questionnaire and analysis.

It could be on to a winner because for meals that are healthy, the ones I had tasted pretty good.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2017, with the headline 'Personalised healthy meals, with help from a 'digital dietitian''. Print Edition | Subscribe