A typical day for a parent starts early; firstly sending your child to school/daycare before going to work and then picking them up again at the end of the day. Most parents may end the day at 6pm (if not later), and by the time they pick their kids and reach home, it would probably be around 7-8pm. With such hectic day-to-day schedules, preparing home-cooked meals can be challenging.

The most convenient option? Eat out or tapao (packed-to-go). However, this should not be the norm. Home-cooked meals should still be the mainstay of better nutrition. Of course, there will be times when we will eat outside food, so it is important to give serious thoughts into your everyday choices. Beware of the abundance of unhealthy meals that could affect the health of your family!

Your choice matters

A big concern for parents is how healthy is eating out? Although eating out is not the healthiest option, your choice of what you eat can make the difference.

Choose meals prepared using healthier cooking methods:

Choose to eat less oil, salt and sugar in your meals:

Quick guide

Here’s a simple guide to give you an idea of how to start:

Other useful tips

  • If you had rice for lunch, try having noodles for dinner (or vice versa)
  • Remember your greens and have vegetables or fruits with each meal
  • Share if portions are large to prevent over-eating, which can lead to overweight or obesity
  • Make the effort to cook at least one meal a day (i.e. dinner), and especially during weekends or on non-working days

Be a role model

Children are like sponges, they will soak up everything they see and hear. Make the most of this by being a role model for healthy eating, as it will encourage and motivate your child to emulate you. Practising what you preach will go a long way toward helping him mould healthy habits, that will last him a lifetime and stand him in good stead when he is an adult.

You should also consider having an adequate supply of fruits available at home or in your office, in case there was insufficient fruits served when you tapao or eat out. These can be eaten as a dessert, either whole, sliced, or served as a fruit salad. Best of all, fruits are also a much healthier ‘snack’ if you happen to feel the need for something to munch on between meals.

An educational collaboration with Nutrition Society of Malaysia.

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