If you’ve been thinking of overhauling your eating habits, then you should know there’s more to a healthy and balanced diet than just cutting down on your daily designer coffee fix and making room for all the good stuff like fruit and veggies. But how to deal? All those pricey food delivery services promise calorie-counted meals, but sometimes the size (and flavor, TBH) leaves much to be desired.
It seems that the most cost-effective (read: cheapest) way is to DIY your baon to fit your budget and your dietary needs. Can’t cook? No problem. There are a lot of decent options in the grocery that require no more than a can opener, microwave, or oven toaster. (But by the way, learning how to cook for yourself is an essential life skill. Get on it).
Here, we’ve broken down what your plate (or cute baunan) should be packing per mealtime:
Also known as: beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, non-meat alternatives such as tofu and beans
FYI: You need protein for fats (the good kind) and your blood sugar stability. Eating the right amount of protein means less hangry mood swings throughout the day.
How much: one serving a meal is a palm-sized portion. It should cover a quarter of your plate.
IRL: A baked chicken fillet, pork chop, or fish fillet; a couple of strips of tapa a couple of meatballs, an egg or two, a handful of beans or tofu cubes. Easiest: a can of tuna.
Also known as: Technically what we consider carbs (like white rice and pasta—and feel free to still eat this!), but the healthier alternative: Whole grain bread, brown or red rice, quinoa, lentils, oatmeal. You can also file potatoes and sweet potatoes under this, as they belong in the starch category as well.
FYI: Whole and unprocessed grain keeps you full longer, which means you won’t be ducking out for a sugary snack in the middle of the day. Plus, it’s full of fiber and trace amounts of vitamins and minerals.
How much: No more than a quarter of your plate
IRL: A half-cup or cupful of cooked pasta and rice, cooked quinoa, two slices of bread, a small baked/roasted potato or kamote.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Also known as: The truly good stuff you can consume in unlimited quantities. Don’t just think of salad: consider heartier (and sometimes cheaper) vegetables like okra, squash, kangkong, malunggay—a trip to your local market should prove enlightening.
FYI: Fruit and veg supply the bulk of your daily vitamins and minerals; they also contain protein (green leafy vegetables especially) and and fiber (to keep things moving). Fresh and sweet fruit can be a real treat when chilled (which means you can stop chowing down on chocolate and snacks).
How much: Half your entire plate
IRL: Two heaping cups of steamed or roasted sturdy vegetables: squash, carrots, zucchinis, broccoli and cauliflower; steamed okra, malunggay, sayote tops, and pechay either boiled into soup (easy tinola and sinigang FTW) or stir-fried with a bit of seasoning; a banana, apple, or orange to round out every meal (and stashed into your bag for quick snacks). Avocados are awesome—you can eat them savory (topped on toast) or sweet (mixed with a bit of almond milk).
Share us a photo of your healthy plate today. Tag us on Facebook or Instagram @iamclaireph!