Okay, the thing is, Malaysian food is fairly different from Western food. Actually, most Asian food is fairly different from Western food, so measuring your calories will be far tougher with the sauces and the gravies and the stuff that goes into your Chinese, Indian, Malay, Thai, fusion etc. dishes.
If fat loss is your target though, here are a few rules of thumb I live by to help you see through the day:
1. The type of calories you eat
While calories in / calories out is a good rule of thumb in general, nowadays the type of calories sometimes is just as important. While a 300 calorie milkshake might = a 300 calorie salad on the face of it, the 300 calorie salad is filled with fibre to ‘confuse’ your system. You see, the thing is high glycemic carbs (like rice, bread, ice-cream, pasta etc) will be taken and stored away as fat immediately if you don’t burn it off after eating. On the other hand, calories together with fibre take a longer time to process / digest in your system. So think carefully before you reach for an extra helping of rice.
2. Calories also come in drinks
Yes, your teh tarik, neslo ice, Starbucks latte and air sirup bandung is chock full with calories of the evil kind – namely sugars which will be taken away and stored as fat as soon as you consume them. And of course this includes your Coke and 100 plus, and your whiskies, beers, vodkas etc.
3. Natural vs Process
If you need to eat meat, go for lean white meat, like chicken breast or fish. Red meat is higher in saturated fat (which isn’t altogether bad, but you can still do better!). And worst of all is processed meats, such as sausages, burgers and nuggets, all of which really is not good for you at all. To read more on red meat and processed meat (and cancer), click here.
4. Green green green (and red, yellow and orange)
Okay, firstly, not processed colourful food. What I am talking about is ensuring that you choose food, specifically vegetables with bright colours. Sweet potato, carrots, pumpkins, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, red / orange capsicums (peppers), stuff like that. As a rule of thumb, the brighter the colours, the more micro nutrients they have!
5. Drink lots of sky juice!
What’s that? LOL, not many people know that older Malaysians call water ‘sky juice’ but there you go, some trivia for you! Water helps to flush out your system, including the lipids (that’s fat for you) in your blood and muscles. Furthermore, it carries nutrients to your cells and working muscles. Every single system in your body depends on water. So don’t be afraid to drink your eight glasses a day!