Healthy-eating tips for busy executives
WHEN you consider products and services to improve your well-being, remember that having a healthy diet is also important to achieving wellness.
But busy executives, with their hectic work schedules, may think it is difficult to get a balanced meal.
However, sacrificing meal times for work may not be a good idea.
A 2006 study on working parents by Cornell University showed this could lead to them developing poor eating habits, such as having instant meals, skipping meals or, worse, overeating after a missed meal.
Still, it is possible to maintain a healthy diet even when you're busy and eating out, said National Healthcare Group Polyclinics senior dietitian Lynette Goh.
For a start, "breakfast is an important part of one's diet and it is important not to skip it", said Ms Goh.
Your breakfast plate should be only half full. A quarter of the plate should have starchy food, such as bread, oats or cereal. The other quarter should consist of low-fat food with proteins, such as an egg, a slice of cheese or low-fat peanut butter.
Throw in a fruit such as a medium-sized banana or a wedge of watermelon, Ms Goh added.
Breakfast eat-out options include egg or tuna sandwiches made with wholemeal bread, sliced-fish porridge and noodle soup with less oil.
For lunch and dinner, a healthy meal consists of half a plate of non-starchy vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce and carrots.
The other half should be equally divided between carbohydrates and proteins.
Carbohydrates could consist of a standard bowl of rice or noodles, or two to three slices of bread.
Proteins could be a palm-sized serving of meat like fish, lean meat or grilled chicken without skin.
The meal should be rounded off with a portion of fruit, such as a small apple or orange, a slice of papaya, or a handful of grapes.
Busy executives nipping into hawker centres for a quick meal can still opt for healthier meal choices.
Some examples are: sliced-fish beehoon soup with less oil but extra vegetables; a mixed rice dish with two servings of vegetables and one serving of meat or beancurd; and nasi padang with assam fish, two servings of vegetables and less gravy.
When dining at Western joints, try to go for grilled lean cuts of meat, with a medium-baked potato or rice, and salad or steamed vegetables. Go for healthier dressings for salads and sandwiches that are olive oil- or vinegar-based, rather than cream-based ones.
For Japanese and Korean cuisine, healthy seafood choices include grilled or hot pot fish such as salmon, mackerel and cod fish. Grilled chicken and stir-fried beef or pork with plain rice can be considered.
Executives who want to snack can do so in a healthy way. Ms Goh suggested stocking up on healthy snacks such as unsalted, dry roasted nuts and wholemeal crackers.
"Buy or prepare small portions of these to avoid overeating. Try to keep your snacks to about 100 to 200 calories," she said.
This includes a slice of wholegrain toast with a thin spread of peanut butter or one cup of soya milk with less sugar.
Three-in-one beverages should be avoided. Instead, choose a beverage with proteins to keep you satisfied for longer, such as a cup of low-fat milk.
Another tip for snacking is to share treats with colleagues to minimise overeating, said Ms Goh. Eating slowly may also help satisfy cravings without overeating.
However, eating healthily does not mean complete abstinence from your favourite "junk" food. It is about consuming them in moderation, said Ms Goh.