Healthier dining has become easier with the launch by NTUC Foodfare of a new line of affordable ready-to-eat meals that are suitable for people with diabetes and beneficial to other consumers as well. These lower-glycaemic index (GI) meals come in five flavours: Nonya rendang chicken, Vietnamese lemongrass baked chicken, Teochew braised duck, braised soya chicken and baked cheese seafood tomato rice. They are the first low-GI, ready-to-eat meals to be endorsed by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) as being suitable for those with diabetes. The cultural popularity of such dishes should help to dispel the myth that diabetics, once diagnosed, are consigned to a lifetime of gastronomic celibacy.
In the same spirit, it is encouraging that a greater variety of wholegrain food and dishes is surfacing on the market, thanks to the HPB's Healthier Dining Programme. Traditional attractions such as Teochew png kueh and prata are at the culinary forefront of the battle against diabetes that involves diet. Given that a diet high in refined carbohydrates is linked to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, especially among Asians, wholegrains are an important form of defence. They contain fibre, vitamins and minerals and can help to better control blood glucose levels. In a reassuring sign of the commercial viability of the move towards healthier eating-out, there are more than 1,200 food and beverage operators, hawker centres and coffee shops, with 8,900 touchpoints and stalls islandwide, on board the Healthier Dining Programme. Also, the number of meals sold under the programme increased substantially - from 50 million between April last year and March this year, to 83 million between April and September this year.