Tips for healthy living

From breaking fast by drinking water instead of sugary drinks to opting for wholegrain foods, here are some healthier options:

•When breaking fast, start by drinking water to rehydrate. This will also reduce the likelihood of over-indulging when eating.

•Opt for reduced-sugar homemade beverages such as kopi kosong (coffee with no sugar) or teh kurang manis (tea that is less sweet). Despite having reduced sugar, these too should be consumed in moderation.

•When eating before the start of the fast, opt for wholegrain foods, such as brown rice and wholemeal bread, as these can fill up the stomach for a longer period. Fruits and vegetables which are rich in fibre are also essential during fasting.

•Meals consumed when breaking fast should be well-balanced and nutritious, covering all major food groups - fruits and vegetables, brown rice and wholemeal bread, as well as meat and others (such as dairy).

•Despite being an excellent source of energy, dates which are traditionally eaten when breaking fast should be consumed in moderation as they are high in sugar.

•When cooking at home, swop regular products with those that carry the Healthier Choice symbol. These are typically lower in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.

•Use herbs and spices for flavour instead of salt, sauces and seasoning.

•When preparing rice dishes, mix 20 per cent of brown rice with white rice. Consuming a diet rich in wholegrains, such as brown rice, may lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

•Use healthier cooking methods such as steaming, grilling, stewing, roasting or stir-frying instead of deep frying.

•Swop high-calorie foods such as deep-fried dishes and items containing curry and gravy with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups and wholegrains. These foods are higher in fibre and water content, which may keep the stomach full for longer.

Malavika Menon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2021, with the headline 'Tips for healthy living'. Subscribe