It can be difficult to eat healthily especially in HK. After all, Hong Kong is littered with fast food options. More often than not, after a long tiring day at work, a trip to the local McDonald’s is easier than cooking a whole nutritious meal. Takeaway and food delivery is fast and requires essentially no clean-up.
Nevertheless, eating well is arguably one of the best and easiest ways to feel happier and less stressed. It is no secret that a well-balanced diet can do wonders not only for your health but also for your general disposition in life. If your body gets all the nutrients that you need every day, it functions better. When your body is a well-oiled machine, you do not have to worry about getting sick or being slowed down by ailments.
If you are looking to improve your life, tackling your diet is a good start. Below are just a few ways you can incorporate nutrient-dense foods in your meals without breaking a sweat:
Have a List and Check it Twice
Trying to eat healthier can be very daunting especially if you have eaten junk all your life. You probably do not know what to include in your shopping list.
Going to the supermarket armed with a list is a good way not to be overwhelmed by the lifestyle change. For reference, here is a list of vitamin sources that you can find in any of your local Hong Kong grocery:
Almond, Squash, Shrimp, Olive Oil, Broccoli
Carrots, Spinach, Egg Yolks
Citrus Fruits, Cauliflower, Papaya
Dark Green Leafy vegetables
Most of the nutritious options above are relatively affordable. To ensure that you get the freshest and healthiest produce, it is best to buy vegetables and fruits that are in season. Not only would they be cheaper but they also would be better in quality.
Drink Your Greens
Truth be told, even the most diligent of home cooks have days wherein they don’t want to make a meal from scratch. Especially for breakfast, having to fire up a stove so early in the morning doesn’t seem like a good idea sometimes. However, just because you are feeling a little bit lazy doesn’t mean you forgo eating food with nutrition.
For days like this, incorporating greens in your smoothie is an easy means to get most of the vitamins and minerals you need from one meal without too much work. You get all the benefits without the hassle and clean-up of putting a whole meal together. All you need is a blender and some chopped up fruits and vegetables and you are good to go.
Including leafy greens is also a good trick especially if you are not very keen on the taste of vegetables. Citrus fruits often mask any other taste. Aside from the bright green tinge, you really wouldn’t be able to tell you are drinking something healthy.
Lay It Down on a Bed of Vegetables
People are often wary about eating healthy because they associate it with eating less. Mentions of a clean diet often invoke sad salads and lackluster meals for most people.
Contrary to popular belief, a nutrient-dense meal is actually more filling than calorie-dense plates. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you only get to consume steamed chicken and broccoli for every meal. In fact, chicken and broccoli for every meal don’t have all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Eating well means being strategic about what you can and can not ingest.
In order to get more volume in every meal, structuring your plate with vegetables at the helm is an important trick to learn. Instead of building your lunch around meat or carbohydrates, try to fill half of your plate with vegetables. This way you get more food and more nutrients but fewer calories. You get to eat more without gaining weight and being unhealthy. (Also read our related article on Diet Tips)
When in Doubt, Choose Color
It is very important to create a list before hitting your local HK supermarket. Doing so would help avoid unnecessary and unhealthy purchases. Knowing exactly what you are shopping for would save you time and money.
Nevertheless, if you are in a bit of crunch and you don’t have a list with you, always remember that fruits and vegetables that have more color are usually more nutritious. More often than not, the pigment in crops is a direct result of the abundance of certain vitamins and minerals.
While it is tempting to indulge in only simple carbs like potatoes, choosing a bright yellow butternut squash won’t only give you the carbohydrates you need but it is also brimming with beta-carotene, potassium, and vitamin C. Likewise, opting to lay your protein source on a bed of leafy greens provides more fiber, folate, and calcium than a cup of white rice.
Always Be Prepared
Ask people why they choose to eat fast food all the time and their number one answer would probably be convenience. Especially for those who don’t enjoy cooking, creating a meal after commuting home from an 8-hour shift at work seems almost unbearable.
Who wants to stand next to a stove for 15 minutes when you are already tired from the stresses of the day? There is always takeaway and delivery, what more can you ask for? While completely understandable, it isn’t an excuse to eat junk.
Preparing nutrient-dense meals when you have the time is a good means to ensure that you always have healthy meals at home. Set a few hours every week for meal prep. Only have healthy snacks at home. (Check our article on Mindful Munching too.)
Being prepared means that you always have a home-cooked meal waiting for you at home no matter how late you get off from work. Do not allow yourself to cheat.
Changing your lifestyle to a better, happier you is easy if you start with your diet. After all, eating well is an investment in your life. Since you are what you eat, wouldn’t you want to eat the best and healthiest?