Just because I seldom blog about cooking, doesn’t mean I can’t cook okay? I like to think that I’m a pretty decent cook. It’s probably in my genes, considering my grandfather used to be a chef?
Thanks to NTUC Social Enterprises’ Wholesome Food Challenge, in a ‘showdown’ with Mabel (Amazingly Still), I was given to opportunity to work with NTUC FairPrice and The Smart Local to
show off put together a 5-days meal plan with a budget of $150. After which, we received feedback from nutritionist Ms Sherlyn Quek on how to improve the nutritional value of our meals.
The Wholesome Food Challenge
The challenge was held over 5 days, where Mabel and I shared how we planned our meals, what we prepared each day, why we chose to cook what we did and our full grocery list on NTUC Social Enterprises’ website. You can read all about it on the posts below!
It was a great 5 days of learning for me, and I picked up several valuable tips from the nutritionist along the way. Below, I am going to highlight my key takeaways from the challenge over the 5 days, and I hope you find these tips as useful as I did!
Day 1 (Breakfast)
Banana Pancake Rolls
Key learning point: To replace half of the flour used with wholemeal flour
Day 1 (Lunch)
Japanese Gyu Don (Beef Rice Bowl)
Key learning point: To use brown rice instead of white rice
Day 1 (Dinner)
Fried Rice with Honey Glazed Chicken and steamed vegetables
Key learning point: To remove skin from the chicken
Day 2 (Breakfast)
Key learning point: Use wholemeal flour instead of plain flour
Day 2 (Lunch)
One-Pot Pasta with Tomato and Beef
Key learning point:The antioxidant in cherry tomatoes is better absorbed into the body when eaten with oil, so it’s best to stir-fry the tomatoes lightly in healthier oils such as canola oil.
Day 2 (Dinner)
Steamed Rice with Chicken, Tofu and Spinach
Chicken with Garlic
Steamed Tofu with Egg
Stir Fried Spinach with Shimeji Mushroom
Key learning point: The amount of vegetables served should be increased by changing one of the meat dishes to a vegetable dish.
Day 3 (Breakfast)
Pumpkin Porridge with Minced Pork
Key learning point: Chicken stock cubes should not be used. Instead, use pork, chicken or fish bones to naturally increase the savoury factor of the soup base.
Day 3 (Lunch)
Key learning point: More vegetables like beansprouts and carrots should be served together with the oyako don to increase the fibre content.
Day 3 (Dinner)
Hong Kong Style Steamed Fish
Fu Yong Egg
Stir-fried Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots
Key learning point: Should replace one of the 2 meat-based dishes with vegetable soup and/or a tofu dish.
Day 4 (Breakfast)
Key learning point: Use wholemeal flour and low fat milk for the pancake batter. Drizzling the pancakes with low-fat yoghurt is better than honey.
Day 4 (Lunch)
Key learning point: Try to use less oil, sauces and select lean cuts of beef.
Day 4 (Dinner)
Plum Sauce Chicken
Steamed Tofu with Minced Pork
Pek Chye with Oyster Sauce
Key learning point: Overall sodium intake should be reduced by halving the chicken portion and omitting the use of oyster sauce when steaming the tofu.
Day 5 (Breakfast)
Crepe with Yoghurt, Kiwi and Strawberries
Key learning point: Use low fat milk instead of full fat milk and omit the honey.
Day 5 (Lunch)
One-Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta with Beef Ball and Snow Peas
Key learning point: Replace half the pasta with wholemeal pasta. Omit the use of chicken stock concentrate by just adding a pinch of salt when cooking the sauce.
Day 5 (Dinner)
Soy Sauce Chicken Noodles
Key learning point: Balance the sodium content in this dish by taking 2 servings of fruits.
In Summary… 5 Key Nutritional Tips I learned:
- Use wholemeal flour / rice / pasta whenever possible.
- Refrain from using chicken stock cubes and chicken stock concentrate.
- Increase vegetable portions. Each member of the family should get 100g of vegetables per meal.
- Take more fruits to balance sodium intake. Fruits are a good source of fibre and potassium. Sodium and potassium work in tandem to help maintain a healthy blood pressure in healthy adults.
- Reduced fat intake by using low fat milk and removing skin from chicken.
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