Healthy lifestyle starts with healthy food choices

I agree with Mr Li Ze Zong that it is better to give incentives to people to maintain a healthy lifestyle and go for regular health screening than to face the escalating medical costs of treating chronic illnesses that could have been prevented ("Incentivise people to stay healthy, take early action"; Oct 25).

Besides exercising regularly, the kind of food we eat is also essential if we are to have a healthy lifestyle.

More hawker centres or foodcourts being built in every town and neighbourhood will mean that more people will opt to eat out rather than cook at home.

Home-cooked meals are always healthier than hawker fare; we can control the amount of salt and oil used, as well as the method of cooking.

We must choose healthier foods when we go grocery shopping.

Fresh produce like some fish does not come cheap; and lower-income households usually resort to buying canned food instead, as such food is cheaper and convenient to prepare. Eating the cheaper processed food would then lead to health problems.

It is good that most supermarkets place brightly coloured fruits and vegetables at the main entrance to attract customers, as this encourages people to buy more fresh produce that is crucial for a healthy diet.

We should pick products with the Healthier Choice logo and read ingredients lists to look out for things such as trans fats and artificial food additives.

We must also be careful of food additives and colouring that are just indicated as E numbers. For example, E551 refers to silicon dioxide, a common anti-caking agent.

If people bypass unhealthy foods such as potato chips, soft drinks or canned food when grocery shopping, manufacturers would be given the nudge to push out a new range of healthier foods.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)