should I pay attention to what I eat?
There is unequivocal
evidence that good nutrition can enhance your
quality of life and sense of well-being. Together
with physical activity, healthy diet is core
to the management of overweight and obesity,
an issue of increasing concern in the Hong Kong
male population and a common underlying risk
factor for major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular
mellitus and some cancers.
is a healthy diet?
Different foods have different
nutritional values. Eating too much or too little
will certainly affect your health. To build a healthy
body, and more importantly, to maintain it, a balanced
supply of nutrients is needed.
A healthy diet does not
mean giving up your favourite food or an end to indulgences.
It just means eating a wide variety of foods without
getting too many calories or too much of any one nutrient.
The 3 keys to healthy diet are: Variety, Moderation
1. Eat a variety of nutrient-rich
- No single food supplies all the nutrients that
- Your daily food selection should include lots
of grain and cereal products (such as rice, vermicelli,
oatmeal or noodles), plenty of fresh fruits and
vegetables, moderate amount of low fat dairy products,
fish, lean meat and poultry, but reduced amount
of fat, sugar and salt.
2. Eat moderate portion.
- Keep portion sizes reasonable.
- If your favourite foods are high in fat, salt
or sugar, the key is moderating how much and how
often you eat these foods.
3. Eat regular meals and
balance your food choices over time.
- Skipping meals can lead you to out-of-control
hunger, often resulting in overeating.
- When there are some high fat, salt or sugar food
items in the meal, also select some other food items
that are low in these ingredients to get a balance.
- If you miss out any food group one day, make it
up the next.
You may refer to the Food Pyramid (in the website of Central Health Education Unit, Department of Health) for choosing the type and quantity of food.
are related to what you eat. These conditions
include coronary heart disease, stroke,
certain types of cancer, diabetes mellitus
I change my diet?
Ask yourself the following
- Do I have 3-6 bowls of grains and cereals (rice,
noodle, vermicelli, or oatmeal) a day?
- Do I have 6-8 taels of vegetables (about 1- 11/3 bowls of cooked vegetables) and 2-3 portions of fruits a day (about 2-3 medium-sized oranges or apples)?
- Do I have no more than 6 taels of meat (about the size of 6 table tennis balls) a day?
- Do I avoid too much sweet, salty or fried foods?
If you answer "NO"
to any of the above questions, to have your diet changed
will reduce your risk to diet-related illnesses and
enhance your vitality.
I need supplementary vitamins/minerals?
You can get the vitamins and minerals
you need through a balanced diet. If you have to restrict
certain foods due to a health problem, supplements of specific
vitamins or minerals may be needed to ensure that you do
not develop a deficiency.
According to local and overseas
researches, men tend to lack minerals such as zinc, magnesium,
selenium, potassium and vitamin E in their diet. To ensure
adequate supply of these nutrients, they should eat grains
and cereals (such as rice, congee, bread and oatmeal), green
vegetables, beans, lean meat and fish.
can I eat smartly when dining out?
Our busy way of life means
we eat more meals in restaurants, or from fast food
outlets. With a lot of food options to choose from,
making healthy food choices is one of our biggest
challenges when dining out. With a few hints, you
can enjoy meals and make healthy choices away from
- Do not go hungry all day because you are dining
out or planning to have a big meal in the evening.
- Try to avoid menu items that contain high fat
contents, too much salt or sugar.
- For Chinese food, choose food that is steamed,
boiled, blanched, roasted or baked, instead of fried.
- For western food, choose baked or grilled fish
and poultry rather than red meat as your main course.
Avoid sauteed food. Ask your waiter to serve the
sauces on the side rather than over the food. Opt
for steamed vegetables, baked potato as your side
dish instead of fried or mashed potato.
- For Japanese or Korean food, sushi, hot pot or
noodles is good. Prefer roasted to fried food.
- Choose clear soup rather than creamed soup.
- For dessert, fresh fruit salad, sorbet or low-fat
yogurt is a wise choice.
- If a menu item is unfamiliar to you, ask your
waiter about its ingredients and method of cooking.
is healthy cooking?
How you, your family or
your maid cooks impacts on how healthy your food will
be. Through small changes, you can make a big difference
in making your cooking healthier.
- Use non-stick cookware.
- Use a small amount of vegetable oil or spray
oil instead of butter, margarine, or lard to fry.
- Choose grilling, steaming, poaching, baking rather
than frying your food.
- Trim fat off meat before cooking.
- Remove the layer of fat from cooked dishes before
- Prefer natural seasonings, e.g. ginger or garlic
instead of spices or monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Use lesser salt and soya sauce.
- Avoid soda powder in marinating meat.
can I snack smartly?
If you need to snack in order
to keep you going during the day, you can make it
as an important part of a healthy and varied diet
if you know what to eat.
- Keep fatty and sugary snacks (e.g. potato chips,
candy bars, buttered popcorn) to a minimum.
- Choose foods like a piece of fruit or vegetable
juices, low-fat diary products, enriched cereal
bars or rice crackers.
- Snack only when you are hungry. Do not snack
for the sake of it.
Health Central Health Education Unit
Dietetic Information Centre