Tips to eating healthy while dining out

Tips to eating healthy while dining out

How do you define a “healthy” meal?

Some would say, a meal with no refined/processed ingredients, others would say a meal with no carbs, and then there are some who define a healthy meal as one with loads of greens.

What’s your definition?

I used to be obsessively concerned about every little bit of ingredient that goes into my food, as if eating something unrefined in one meal was going to be detrimental to my health. Through all my crazy obsession at different points of my life, I have finally come to a place where I have found my own definition of “healthy eating” that’s balanced and not restrictive. I believe it’s different for everyone because we each have our own likes/dislikes and routines/schedules.

The key is finding the definition that allows you to nourish your body and enjoy food without excessive unsustainable restrictions in your life; socially, mentally, or psychologically.

Here, I’m sharing how I maintain my healthy lifestyle while dining out in ways that are suited to my lifestyle and likings.

Order side salad or a veggie dish

So, to me, a big part of nourishing myself is having my greens. When I cook at home, I will always include them in most of my meals. With dining out, it gets a bit trickier. Most meals you get in a restaurant include only a few strands of greens. Then there’s the option of ordering a salad dish as a main, but that wouldn’t usually be enough for me especially if they include just greens without protein and carbs. So the win-win to me is ordering a salad or a veggie dish on the side, and have it to share with others. 

A cup of hot tea does the work!

I’m never really one with the habit to order a drink with a meal. But I do have days where just water would not suffice and that’s when ordering a cup of hot tea does it for me. If you’re one with the habit of ordering a beverage with your meal, try tea instead! Plus, there’s something about slowly sipping a hot cup of tea that centers you and eases cravings for sweets/snacks. It’s not that it’s “bad” to have dessert after a meal, but I find that sometimes enjoying a cup of tea after a meal will leave you not wanting that dessert anymore. 

Stay mindful while ordering and eating

Being mindful is a big part of eating healthy because it allows us to feed our body what it truly needs or desires for.

How many times do we order something only to find we didn’t quite enjoy it or feel satisfied or feel good after..?

So upon ordering, I find myself asking these questions; “How will i feel after having this meal?”, “Is this what I really want right now?”

If I’m hungry at the point of ordering food, being mindful about the amount of food that I’m about to order help. It’s easy to go crazy because our hungry state makes us believe that we can eat a whole lot! Asking myself questions like “Do I need that amount to fill my stomach?” or “Will i feel my best/satisfied after these amount of food?” helps me make better choices most of the time. 

While eating out, most people are likely to be distracted by the environment or conversations that are ongoing around them. So it’s easy to have a meal and end up overeating or feeling like wanting more even after having a full meal. I eat mindlessly all the time when I’m not paying attention to what I’m feeding myself. By just being mindful about every mouthful of food that’s being consumed, allowing myself to enjoy the different flavours and textures that the food presents, I always find myself enjoying my meal better and feeling completely satisfied after.

These are just a few tips that have helped me with eating well and feeling my best, whilst dining out. Just thought these might help some of you out there who struggle with it. However, do keep in mind that these are ways that are suited for me and my lifestyle. It’s different for everyone. Hope this inspires you to keep finding methods and ways that will help you eat well and enjoy food and life!

Have a great week ahead and let us all remember to always speak words that build and not destroy, share with/give to someone who is in need (be it love, care, kind actions, words of encouragement or material goods). Enjoy your week! 

Lots of love,

Erina

My 5 detox breakfast recipes

My 5 detox breakfast recipes

According to Oxford Dictionary, “Detox” (short for detoxification) is defined as;

“A process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification”

Our body is created to detox naturally. Organs such as liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph, colon, and skin do the job. If we are feeding our body right and eating well, our organs would be able to detoxify our body as it should be. Problem only occurs when we are overloading our body with toxic substances. Our body can’t keep up and in turn become “faulty” and that’s when we fall ill and diseases creep in. A big part of it is contributed by food that are heavily refined, processed and manufactured with chemicals and artificial products. And it’s okay to be eating them especially if we enjoy them (I mean who can really say no forever to a bag of chips right?), but the key is moderation. You can learn more about how I stay healthy whilst enjoying my sweets and fries here.

“Detoxifying food just means wholefood; real food that are abounding with vitamins, minerals and nutrients which are healing to the body and aids body with its detoxification processes”

I’m a big believer of moderation and balance when it comes to life and food, and I personally find elimination diets not sustainable and neither is it healthy for our psychological and mental state. I’ve written on 80:20 rule that I adopt in helping me achieve moderation and to live healthily, sustainably here.

The only time I would practice “elimination” would be during my “detox week/s”, which I try to do semi-annually, just to give my body a rest once in a while from all things refined. I thought as I prepare meals for myself, I’d document them and have those recipes written out for you. They are nothing fancy, just basic nourishing breakfast meals that you can put up in a jiffy.

Detox Recipe #1: My Big Breakfast

⏰ 20 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 200C. Wash, scrub, clean and dry sweet potato. Cut it into small cubes. Mix in chopped garlic and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil with the cubed potatoes. Add them into a baking tray, and bake for 15-20 minutes (till it’s golden and lightly charred)
  2. As potatoes are roasting in the oven, add chopped garlic into an oiled pan. Fry till it’s slightly golden, and add baby spinach. Let it sit and stir occasionally.
  3. While that’s cooking, crack 2 eggs into other side of the pan, cook it for a minute and flip it over and cook for another minute.
  4. Turn off heat, sprinkle pink himalayan salt over spinach and eggs. Serve them on a plate.
  5. Sprinkle smoked paprika and turmeric powder over eggs.
  6. Cut up some fresh cucumbers to serve alongside the other dishes.
  7. Once sweet potatoes are ready, sprinkle pink himalayan salt over it and serve with the rest.

Detox Recipe #2: Green Smoothie Bowl

⏰ 5 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Add frozen banana, spinach, almond cinnamon, honey and chia seeds into food processor.
  2. Process till you reach a smooth consistency (about 2-3mins)
  3. Serve with desired toppings.

Detox Recipe #3: Granola Bowl and Green Juice

⏰ 10 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Granola Bowl

  1. Add banana and homemade granola into a bowl. Drizzle almond cinnamon over it.
  2. Serve with frozen mixed berries and dried figs.

Green Juice (without a juicer)

  1. Add all ingredients into the blender. Process till it’s smooth.
  2. Strain and enjoy!

 

Detox Recipe #4: Hummus Pepper Cups

⏰ 10 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Add chickpea, garlic, cumin powder, turmeric powder, and salt into food processor.
  2. As the processor runs, add in olive oil. (You can use less or more depending on the consistency you desire)
  3. Fill up peppers with hummus.
  4. Sprinkle chia seeds, sesame seeds, smoked paprika and black pepper over it.

Detox Recipe #5: Breakfast on a Pan

⏰ 15 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Stir fry chopped kai lan in olive oil and garlic for a minute.
  2. Add 3 eggs into pan and give it a swirl to cover the entire pan. Cook for another minute in medium heat.
  3. Sprinkle smoked paprika and salt over it.
  4. Serve with roasted garlic dressing.

 

I hope these recipes will inspire you to make nourishing, delicious meals at home. It takes less than 15 to 20 minutes to put up any of these meals. Once you get cooking and enjoying meals like these, you will never want to have them any other way. So, cook, have fun and enjoy food! Remember to show somebody some love this week by giving, sharing, listening and encouraging.

Lots of love,
Erina

Where do you sit in a restaurant?

Where do you sit in a restaurant?

It was the heat of the day. Hungry and pressed for time, I went to a restaurant for a quick lunch. I found a spot in the restaurant, settled down comfortably, ordered my lunch. While waiting for my order to arrive, the lunch crowd started to trickle into the restaurant. Each individual and group of individuals that walked in were searching for the ideal spot to sit in.

Some say how a person eats, speaks volume about him/her. Jenny likes spicy food but Sofia doesn’t; Ben saves the best bite till last, whilst Kenny mixes everything and gobble up.

In the same manner, where and how a person sits in a restaurant says a lot about the person.

Outside / Ground


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People who sit outside may be trying to avoid another cold environment such as the office (temperature wise). It is already freezing in the office; they need someplace warm. Furthermore, having stuck between four walls at work; one may like to sit in the open. There are also the sunlight, the breeze, and the crowd – a naturally refreshing environment.

At the same time, people who sit outside also want to feel a part of society. They like to watch life pass them by. The group of (high) school students talk and laugh loudly. The businessman in his black suit walks and talks hastily on his mobile. The old couple walks hand-in-hand down the city sidewalk. The jogger walks her pet dog. Some common stereotypes of city people. Life goes on.

Balcony


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Moving up is the balcony, another open-air environment. People who sit on the balcony are deemed to be seeking solace. It’s probably very hazy below. They have had a rough day. They need to be above the clouds. They need an alternative and refreshing view to the troubles of life.

Thereafter, the breeze blows away the negativity. It is gone with the wind.

Facing the entrance


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Now, let’s move into the restaurant. People who sit facing the entrance have great expectations of what’s to come.

They are expecting something of the unknown; something magical; something dramatic to happen. Somehow, somewhat, someone will walk through the entrance.

Back facing the entrance


of facing the entrance is to sit with their backs facing the entrance. People who sit in such a way want to look away from all the distraction that is happening. They can’t stand the drama that is happening.

They had an eyesore. They’ve seen too much, heard too much, and said too much. They want to un-see what they have seen. So they turn away.

At the corner


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The table in the corner is usually where the quiet, lonely, and focused people sit. They have important tasks to complete. They prefer to be left alone and undisturbed.

They don’t want to draw too much attention to themselves. This is so that they can quietly sneak in and out of the restaurant without being noticed.

In the middle


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People who sit in the middle are presumably attention seekers. When a person sits in the middle of the restaurant, all eyes would immediately turn to him. People seated on his right would turn to their left. People seated on his left would turn to their right. People seated in front of him would look up. People walking into the restaurant would notice him sitting in the middle of the restaurant.

Alas, my client called me when I had just finished my lunch. My client (who also happens to be a restaurant owner) had just arrived and I am going to show him a ground floor shop-lot for rent.

That person is me. Sitting in the middle, I had a 360-degree view of all that was going around me. I saw how and where people sat in the restaurant.


 

Restoran Yong Hoe famous for its Signature Claypot fish served with Rice Wine

Restoran Yong Hoe famous for its Signature Claypot fish served with Rice Wine

Restoran Yong Hoe famous for its Signature Claypot fish served with Rice Wine

Comment:  His grandfather used to work as a chef for the British during World War II, his father was a chef with a number of Chinese restaurants in Segamat, Johor, and now a third-generation Wong Choon Cheh operates his own dream restaurant at Taman KIP.

The 31-year-old chef has been involved in the restaurant business since 2004, when he was still helping out at his mother’s porridge business in Desa Aman Puri.

In 2010, Wong started his own restaurant in the same neighbourhood, but after a few years, he decided to move to KIP where he has been operating since 2015.

“We have regular clients who come all the way from different parts of the Klang Valley.”

During lunch hours, they come here for the fried claypot porridge served with yam, pork and sliced squid, which is a best seller especially on a hot day. During the weekends, they come back with their families to check out Wong’s other specialities.

“This is something that I have inherited from my own grandfather”

Although it may be slightly hard to locate for people who are living in other parts of the Klang Valley, it is value for money. Besides, with Waze these days, it is not difficult to find the place.  

His signature dish worth trying out is Wong’s special Claypot Rice Wine Tilapia fish served with clams. “This is something that I have inherited from my own grandfather,” he said. “Most of my clients come here for the dish before they like the way the fish is prepared.”

The fish is about RM4 for 100 grams but if served with clams, the whole dish is estimated at RM40 ++.

Wong’s Paku Thai Style vegetable salad is another dish that is popular which is served cold with a homemade Thai sauce. “We use ginger flower (bunga Kantan) and lemon grass to prepare the sauce,” he said.

There is also the famous chilli prawn taufu from Kuala Selangor which can be served either as steamed or deep fried taufu ala Teochew style. It is slightly spicy, but children, even as young as six years old, love it.

Then there is the sesame chicken which is usually marianated overnight with ginger and salt before it is deepfried and peppered with sesame seeds before it is served to the guests either as half or a full chicken.

Check out their Facebook Xin Xin Yong Hoe for more information. Restaurant Yong Hoe is located at Persiaran KIP Utama, KIP (waze location: https://waze.to/lr/hw2860pkfj) and is open six days a week from 11am – 2.30pm (lunch) and 5.30pm for dinner with a last dish at 9.30pm. They are closed on Mondays.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.