If you think that healthy eating is difficult to achieve, think again! There are ways you can go about eating right and staying healthy. One of the ways starts right at your plate!
The Malaysian Healthy Plate (MHP) which emphasises on Suku Suku Separuh or Quarter Quarter Half (QQH) concept is a quick visual technique that helps you to immediately identify whether a meal is healthy and balanced or not.
QQH is a single-meal intake guide. All you have to do is “divide” your plate in the following manner:
- ¼ plate grains or grain products, preferably whole grains such as brown rice or wholemeal bread
- ¼ plate fish or, poultry, meat, or egg
- ½ plate of fruits and vegetables
Drink water – it is a better thirst-quencher than sugar-sweetened beverages and contains zero calories.
Here are some examples of local dishes that follow QQH guidelines
Plate size does matter too!
Simply adhering to QQH alone is not enough. Avoid using adult-sized plates for children, as it is easy to misjudge how much food you are serving them. Not sure of the right plate size to use? Here’s a quick reference:
- Adults – 23cm (9 inches)
- Children – 18 cm (7 inches)
The same amount of food in different sizes of plate
BMV in a plate
Do you know that MHP is consistent with the principles of a healthy diet and that it follows the key concepts of Balance, Moderation and Variety (BMV) and the Malaysian Food Pyramid?
- Balance. A complete meal comprises of major food groups in the Food Pyramid so that one can obtain the required nutrients daily – Rice, cereals and grains which are carbohydrates ; fish, poultry, meats, eggs, and legumes as a source of protein; and fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals.
- Moderation. Stick to the recommended portions for every meal in order to achieve the required servings of each food group in the Food Pyramid.
- Variety. Vary the major food groups in your child’s plate so that your child gets different “surprises” daily or even in each meal, but more importantly is using a variety of foods ensures that you child obtains different nutrients that are needed for the body.
Healthier cooking methods
Cooking methods can play a large role in determining how healthy a dish is. For example, deep-fried food contains more oil which is not desirable. Opt for foods prepared using healthier methods such as steaming, baking, grilling or blanching.
Keeping junior healthy
Teach your child about the QQH concept of MHP from young. Also, do make sure he has his three regular healthy meals daily with 1-2 healthy snacks between meals. Most importantly, as parents, be his role model and practise these rules in every meal, whether at home or when eating out.