To make our body stay healthy, we should avoid being overweight and fat. We can resort to a proper diet to control the intake of calories. If only our diet can be in the right amount, the right time, the right diet and the right cooking, we can control the excessive intake of calories.
The right amount
The right time
- There must be moderation in eating and we must avoid unrestrained eating and drinking.
- It would be sufficient if we are 70% to 80% full. It is because the body needs about 20 minutes of eating before the central nervous system of our brain can be fully stimulated to release hormones which can put a stop to our appetite and create a feeling of fullness. If we eat 100% full, we will feel excessively full after 20 minutes. On the other hand, it would be just right if we eat 70% to 80% full.
- We should stop eating when we are full. We should not force ourselves to finish all the food before us.
- When we dine out, we should order a suitable amount of food. This will avoid wasting food and also eating too much and taking in too many calories.
- When we eat in a buffet, we should use small plates in order to control the amount of food we get. If we take each kind of food in small amounts, we can savour different kinds of food, take in different kinds of nutrition while avoiding eating too much.
The right diet
- Eat at regular time intervals. Don’t think that eating one meal less can serve to reduce calorie intake. It will on the other hand, reduce the efficiency in metabolism. And often times after we skip a meal, it would be very likely for us to eat much more in the next meal.
- Eat breakfast every day. The metabolic rate will slow down at night time. If we eat a breakfast with balanced nutrition, it can help wake up our body functions and calories will be more effectively consumed the next day.
- Avoid eating supper too late at night. Avoid night time snacks. It is because the metabolic rate will slow down when our body is at rest or in a state of sleep. So we should avoid eating before we go to sleep. Remember it is always good to have breakfast, a full lunch and a scanty supper.
- If we feel hungry between regular meals, we may take some healthy snacks such as a small fresh fruit, a small portion of unsalted or unsweetened nuts, a few wheat crackers and so on, instead of snacks which are high in fat, have too much salt and sugar.
The right cooking
- Eat slowly and in small portions and avoid devouring food in large amounts and great haste. Use at least 20 minutes for eating so that the brain can have ample time to feel full. This is also avoid eating excessively.
- Follow the advice given by the Healthy Eating Food Pyramid and try to achieve a balanced diet (Page 2C-1).
- Replace foods with a higher amount of calories with foods of a lower amount of calories. For example, we may use rice vermicelli and rice noodles in soup to replace instant noodles and stir-fried vermicelli and noodles. We can also use vegetables to replace meat.
- Eat more vegetables to take in more fibres. It can also keep our stomach stay full for a longer time, hence help reduce calorie intake.
- Drink water and tea. Do not add sugar when you have coffee, milk tea or other drinks.
- Drink less beverages with alcohol, aerated water, sweetened fruit juices or other kinds of sweetened beverages. Cold drinks usually have a lot of sugar, drink as little as possible.
- Go for a simple diet. Avoid foods which have a heavy flavour, oily, pickled or processed.
- Don’t sit down, lie down or sleep immediately after taking a meal. Try doing something light, such as standing for 20 minutes, take a leisure stroll, wash dishes and so on. These can reduce the accumulation of fat.
- Avoid adding extra seasonings and sauces. Things like ketchup, chili oil, chili sauce, sesame sauce, sweet sauce, oyster sauce and salad dressing all have a high fat content and high calories.
- Eat less smacks such as potato chips, sweet preserved fruits, nuts with salt or sugar added, fried food, pickled fruits and so on.
- Eat less cakes, pastries, French fries and such foods with trans fat.
- Don’t abstain from eating rice. If you abstain rice, your body will be in lack of carbohydrates, hence your metabolic rate will slow down. A suitable amount of rice can contribute to a sense of fullness and it will reduce the desire to consume snacks.
- Eat less outside. Cook more at home. When you do the cooking yourself, you can control the portion of food, how different kinds of food are combined, seasoning and cooking methods used. These can help prevent an excessive intake of calories.
- Use methods of cooking that require less oil. These can be: steaming, boiling, poaching, stewing and baking, instead of pan-frying, stir-frying, frying and so on which use more oil.
- Choose ingredients with low fat, such as lean meat and ingredients which have not been fried. Remove fat in the meat before cooking. Remove the skin of poultry meat.
- Use less processed or pickled foods, such as ham, sausages, salted fish, preserved eggs or pickled vegetables.
- Use less salt, oil, sugar and seasonings. Use natural seasonings such as ginger, spring onion, garlic, lemon juice and so on.
- Buy fresh food, processed food and canned food have a large amount of salt, oil and sugar added. These have high energy and not much nutrition value.
- When buying prepackaged food, pay attention to the nutrition label. Choose foods which have lower calories and less fat, sodium and sugar. However, you should note that energy and contents of other nutrients are expressed in each portion (can be 100 g, 100 ml, or each serving) or each pack. When calculating the amount of energy intake, you should note the actual portion consumed.
- Prepackaged foods may also list all the ingredients used and they are ranked in terms of the amount of content. The first item is the ingredient found in the largest amount in the food product and the last one is the ingredient with the least amount in the product. When buying prepackaged food, you may pay more attention to the ingredients and additives before choosing products which are healthier.