According to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), 57% of total deaths in the Philippines were due to the “fatal four” non-communicable diseases (NCD): cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer. Filipino adults are put at risk of developing NCDs when they are: overweight/obese, have hypertension, or have unstable blood sugar/cholesterol levels.
As of 2017, there are currently over 18 million Filipinos who are considered obese/overweight and the numbers are steadily increasing. In a report from the Business Mirror, lack of exercise, urbanization, and consumption of energy-dense food are among the leading drivers of obesity in the Philippines and all over the world. Simple changes in your diet and eating habits can make a big difference in your life. Read more to learn about the basics of meal planning and how it can improve your overall health.
Lay out your menu for the week
Planning your meals ahead can be intimidating for most people most especially if you are used to eating out or ordering delivery food. It helps to know what ingredients are in season and what the current prices are for your everyday goods so you can maximize your menu while still maintaining a budget.
It is a common misconception that eating healthy means consuming bland, boring meals. People who are always rushing to their next appointment often end up eating fast food or sweets (also called noncore foods) instead of their nutritious packed lunch. Step up your meal prep game by learning healthier cooking methods like steaming, grilling, and baking.
Snacking from time to time can either boost your metabolism or inevitably just make you gain more weight. Here are some handy and cheap tips to get you started:
- One healthy snack idea is to prepare batches of homemade granola or overnight oats which has the right amount of fiber and probiotics.
- Cut up some fruits or vegetables and store them in recyclable food containers so you can enjoy them on the go or blend them into smoothies.
- Buy some whole grain snacks like crackers and wheat bread.
Always choose fresh
Opt for fresh produce instead of artificial ingredients. Choose lean cuts of fresh meat instead of canned goods. Quality fish like salmon can also be a good and healthy source of protein. Always make a list of the things you need before you go to the market so you can buy only what you need and avoid wasting resources. Try to avoid buying frozen vegetables when you can.
Consuming the right amount of liquids should also be part of your menu planning. Drinking water helps you get rid of toxins in your body and prevent dehydration which may affect the way your body functions. Consider drinking more fluids if you will be doing some strenuous activities throughout your day. Bring your handy tumbler with you everywhere you go so you can also avoid purchasing sugary beverages.
Remember, there is no single formula to eating healthy and what may work for others may not work for you. So it’s important to do your research first and consult a health expert before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle.