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Eat Smart
   
      1 Why should I pay attention to what I eat?
      2 What is a healthy diet?
      3 Should I change my diet?
      4 Do I need supplementary vitamins/minerals?
      5 How can I eat smartly when dining out?
      6 What is healthy cooking?
      7 How can I snack smartly?
       
 
 
           

1Why 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 diseases, diabetes mellitus and some cancers.

Health Tips

The 3 keys to healthy diet are: Variety, Moderation and Balance.

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2What 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 and Balance.

1. Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

  • No single food supplies all the nutrients that you need.
  • 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.

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Health Alert

Many conditions are related to what you eat. These conditions include coronary heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, diabetes mellitus and osteoporosis.

3Should I change my diet?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • 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.

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4Do 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.

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5How 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 home.

  • 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.
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6What 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 reheating.
  • 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.

7How 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.
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Source: Department of Health Central Health Education Unit
  Hospital Authority Dietetic Information Centre
 
Related Articles
  Weight Control
    Food Pyramid (Central Health Education Unit, Department of Health)
Who Else Can Help?
 

Central Health Education Unit
Hotline: 2833 0111

   

Hospital Authority Dietetic Information Centre
Hotline (Office hour) : 2291 2511

 
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Last revision date: 2017-11-13