Malaysians and Singaporeans love to eat. No matter what time of day, we can always find a makan (food) place that stays open to feed us. The problem is our favourite food and drinks happen to be bad for our health. They are either too oily (mee goreng), too salty (bak kut teh) or too sweet (teh tarik). We don't care about calories because we have no clue how to figure that out.
But take heed, piling on those extra kilos of fat can lead to obesity. Obesity puts us at high risk of health-related complications, and top of the list is diabetes. In Malaysia. one in five adults has diabetes with 2.6 million cases recorded last year, according to figures from the Health Ministry.
|Screen-shots from The Star (top) and Straits Times.|
Older adults should take note. At our age we are physically less active. Once we have gained weight, it is a challenge to shed those extra kilos. The recommended daily intake for a sedentary person is between 2000 to 2500 calories. If we are eating way too much, it's time to seriously consider adopting healthy eating habits and a sensible diet that is right for our age.
Instead of issuing health warnings only to the general public, perhaps the Health Ministry should also consider educating our hawkers on healthy food preparation in addition to hygienic food handling. Mamak stall operators, for example, should be told to cut down on the oil for mee goreng and reduce the sugar and condensed milk for teh tarik. Not only will they be saving on costs, they will be saving lives too in the long run - our lives.
Here are some photos taken at the Healthy Cooking classes I have been attending for the past two months under the University of Third Age (U3A) programme for Malaysians aged 50 and above.
Healthy cooking involves using less oil, salt and sugar, substituting milk with yoghurt, white rice with brown rice and opting for healthy methods of cooking where possible like steaming or grilling instead of deep frying. Give it a try if you value your health, and your family's health too.