Our local Department of Health is not one to be left behind. In its recently-launched Pilipinas Go4Health campaign, nutrition is emphasized in Go Sustansya, one of the four identified key health habits. Acknowledging that healthy meals are the best source of energy, vitamins and minerals that people need every day, it declares, “Eating healthy is easy and need not be expensive. The first step is understanding better and healthier meal options … and [establishing] a positive attitude about food.”
Platon shows us how.
A basic grasp of fractions can help you get the right proportions for health. The general rules are simple enough, as Platon explains: “Half of the plate will be your vegetables and fruits, a quarter portion of the plate will be rice or starch, and the remaining quarter will be your protein source.” Need details? Platon acts as our resident plate police to show you exactly how to “get your plate on.”
A. Vegetable and fruits: “Half a plate from fruits and vegetables [can be] rich sources of fiber, vitamin A, C, even calcium.”
Plate police: Fresh fruits and vegetables are best for their fiber content. If they must be cooked, “minimize [the] use of oil. If you must, stir fry or mabilis na gisa instead of sauté, and make sure that the oil you use is never recycled.” Grilling is okay, too, as long as you don’t burn it, as the char can be carcinogenic, Platon cautions.
B. Proteins: red meat (pork, beef); white meat (chicken, fish). “Protein sources also contain iron, zinc, iodine, folic acid.”
Plate police: White meat is healthier than dark meat due to cholesterol content. A three-ounce portion of skinless chicken breast contains 142 calories, 3 grams of fat and 0.9 grams of saturated fat, while the same portion size of skinless chicken thigh contains 170 calories, 9 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat, according to the U.S. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Another way to police protein is by the type of cut of meat. “Lomo or sirloin has lower cholesterol content compared to liempo or pata. Tenderloin [is leaner] than more marbled cuts,” details Platon.
For non-meat protein sources, tofu is a good alternative.
C. Rice or starch: “[These] contain B-vitamins and fiber.”
Plate police: Stumped by starches? Platon helps us out: “Rice is one of the staple foods for Filipinos. While white and brown rice have about the same carbohydrate content, the latter has higher fiber content, so it’s more filling. Wheat bread is better than plain white bread. A half cup of rice is equivalent to one thick slice of bread. Potatoes, kamote, cassava are good options, too. Corn is a healthy choice because it’s more satisfying, plus there’s the challenge of eating it [that makes you eat less].”
For more plate patrolling tips, grab a copy of the July issue of HealthToday.