During the 2017 National Day Rally, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasised the importance of eating healthy meals to cope with the growing number of diabetics and at-risk patients in Singapore. The main reason for so many people becoming diabetic is poor diet.
Nowadays, people consume sugar-sweetened beverages in excess, which is bad for their health. According to the Public Consultation Paper put out by REACH Singapore, drinking an additional 250 ml of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) every day increases a person’s risk of Diabetes by 18 to 26 percent.
We have heard time and again, it is healthiest to cook our meals at home. But we overlook this fact as our lifestyle has changed. We live in a fast-paced world, where devoting time to cooking meals is not possible for most people. So, they prefer to eat out and rely on the convenience of packaged food. Evidence states that one in four Singaporeans eat out daily, and more than half do so weekly.
People who already have diabetes should be especially careful with their diet choices. However, most people have a misconception that food options for individuals having diabetes are limited, which is not true. Instead of narrowing your diet options and just relying on salads, you can consider many diabetic-friendly local food options available in Singapore.
Some Healthy Diet Tips For Diabetic People
Control Your Portion Size
The main idea behind the term “diet” is to eat smaller portion sizes. You can safely follow the recommended portion size by Health Hub. Also, it is important to cut down on simple carbohydrates (e.g., white rice, white bread, pasta, noodles) since they are stripped of almost all their fibre, minerals, and vitamins – hence being synonymous with the term “empty calories”. To ensure you get all the necessary fibre and minerals, increase the consumption of lean protein and fibre.
Avoid Fried Foods & Eat More Vegetables/Plant-Based Foods
It might seem hard and impossible to make healthy food choices that are diabetic-friendly in Singapore especially when you’re eating at food courts or hawker centres. However, this is possible and very attainable.When selecting meals or dishes, ensure that vegetables are abundant while avoiding deep-fried foods.Fried foods have high trans fatsthat are harmful to the body. In addition, you should limit the usage of spicy sauces, condiments, and gravies in the dishes, as these are often high in sodium.Too much salt can raise your blood pressure.Cut down on the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages as they negatively affect your blood glucose levels. Drink lots of good plain old water instead!
Opt For Healthier Choices Over Simple Carbs/Fast Foods
Another option is to opt for brown rice which is diabetic-friendly compared to white rice (simple carbs). As brown rice has the bran layer and cereal germ, it has more nutrients. Its consumption also does not result in a spike in blood glucose that commonly occurs when eating white rice, which is not favourable in people with Diabetes.
Asking for less rice than the standard rice bowl and avoiding flavoured rice such as biryani are also ways to ensure that portion sizes are controlled, and excess salt and fat are not consumed. Including servings of vegetables together with complex carbohydrates such as Quinoa or brown rice is a good way to lower the GI of a meal. This is due to the fibre content of the vegetables and the complex carbohydrates from whole grains like Quinoa, which also has an abundance of vitamins and minerals for your nutritional needs. Low-GI superfoods like quinoa, chia seeds, whole-grain breakfast cereals make excellent meals for diabetic people as they will not spike blood sugar levels and they are nutrient-dense too.
List of Local Diabetic-Friendly Foods
- Thunder tea rice.
- Chinese Economy Rice, Nasi Campur or Vegetarian Rice (request for less rice, choose 2 to 3 veggies as sides and opt for fish or tofu instead of other meats)
- Wanton Mee Soup and Sliced fish soup.
- Yong Tau Foo: without fried items, with 3 to 4 vegetable choices.
- Grilled Fish with mash potatoes and steamed vegetables.
- Mixed salad.
- Grilled chicken salad without sauces.
- Chappati with 2 to 3 vegetable sides.
- Steamed Chicken Rice with steamed vegetables (less rice)
- Kopi-O kosong.
- Popiah (request for less sweet sauce)
How To Prepare A Diabetic-Friendly Grocery Shopping List?
Being at a supermarket and knowing what to get can be confusing, especially when many advertisements and product companies are trying to sell you their product and tell you what is or isn’t good for you.
Contrary to popular belief, planning a diabetic-friendly grocery shopping list is simple. To do so, it is important to keep in mind the main components that make up your list. This is to ensure foods purchased include fruits and vegetables, lean meats and plant-based sources of protein, foods with less added sugar, and less processed foods.
Healthy Food Options For A Low-GI, Nutrient-Rich Diet
Goji berries, mulberries and golden berries are a few organic snacks that are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre. They are a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth while ensuring you get the added benefit of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, potassium, and fibre.
Sacha Inchi seeds and Chia Seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fibre which help reduce the risk of diabetes. Beyond that, sacha inchi seeds and chia seeds have loads of health benefits including improved cholesterol levels and gut health.
Whole grains such as organic quinoa seeds and whole-grain cereals are rich in vitamins and minerals like magnesium, B vitamins, chromium, iron, and folate. They are also a great source of fibre, which slows down the digestion process. In addition, the glycaemic index of quinoa seeds is about 53 – a GI that is under 55 is considered low and will not cause your blood sugar to spike drastically. This is a lot lower than white rice, which has a GI of over 70.
After deciding on the items for your grocery shopping list, the next step is to buy them from a trusted source. Do your grocery shopping from a reputable organic food store in Singapore like Nature’s Superfoods. From sacha inchi seeds to organic whole grain cereals to organic snacks, you can get clean quality superfoods without the need to check whether these are genuinely healthy for you. So, start making healthy food choices for you and your loved ones with Nature’s Superfoods, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle!