Be Healthy in the Land of Noodles
Singapore is known for a few things, and one of them is its food. There is no question about it; any foodie would love to visit Singapore. When I first moved out here I embraced the food culture eating out as often as I could, visiting the local hawker centers and food courts. After not too long however, my body was telling me to stop. I didn’t want to listen to it, as going out is so easy and requires little thought, but as a professional in the fitness industry, I knew better. I don’t know how local Singaporeans do it; eating fried meat and noodles for almost every meal of the day. Every mall I go in to, every subway station I go in to, I see endless food stalls with more noodles, rice and curry dishes than I could ever eat in a lifetime. Yes its delicious, and if you are visiting Singapore you cannot leave without eating local dishes, but you simply cannot eat it every day if you want to live a healthy lifestyle. Every expat I meet explains to me their recent “just moved to Singapore bloat” so I figured I just had to address this issue.
To avoid the belly bloat, muscles aches and dehydration stay as far away from MSG as you can. It’s very hard to know whether or not certain foods contain it. The best way to avoid it is to cook the food yourself! Once a week visit a wet market or your local grocery store to stock up for the week on fruits, veggies and meat. The easiest go to dinner for me is grilled chicken lightly seasoned with a leafy green salad and roasted veggies such as broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes. Limit yourself to going out to dinner to just once a week. The hardest part is breaking the habit of going out for dinner and starting the new habit of prepping your meal at home.
Another killer is lunch, especially if you work and typically go out for a quick bite. That “quick bite” can be the dead end for you in your fitness goals. While you are at the market stocking up on your veggies and meats for your at home dinners, be sure to pick up lunch makings as well! Deli meat for sandwiches or wraps, salads, and healthy snacks can be some of the healthiest choices you make. If you love sandwiches like me, opt for an open-faced sandwich and load it with greens and protein.
If your office is far from healthy, ask the office manager to be in charge of stocking the snack room. My husband’s company recently switched to a healthy kitchen, filling the snack room with fruits, veggies and nuts. I’ve seen it in its previous state, and it had always looked like Halloween had come early. It was stocked with Oreos, Kit Kat bars, Cokes, and chocolate. When there are only healthy food options, you take it, it’s right there! It doesn’t get easier than that.
You may be doubtful within the first few months of living in Singapore, but your choices don’t have to be unhealthy! Yes, you will always see people eating endless noodles and you will always have the option to eat them. But it is simply that; an option. It takes a bit of effort, but there are ways to stay healthy on this tiny island of noodles.