Monday, November 2, 2009

You can eat healthily anywhere - Crappy Cafeteria Food

OK, as I keep hearing people complain that if your only access to food is a cafeteria, then it is impossible to stay healthy. Hence, I took it upon myself to check it out and see how crappy, can crappy be. I admit, options are not much, but you still can eat relatively healthy if you want. Which “crappy cafeteria” did I visit or choose? Well I think all of you will agree that nothing gets worse than Government Hospitals Cafeteria, so I visited one recently and had a look at all the stalls that were available. Yes, lots of unhealthy stuff out there, but you still have options to stay decently healthy even if you eat there everyday.

Here are the stalls I saw:-

1) Nasi Campur
2) Goreng Goreng outlet
3) Kuih Muih
4) Western
5) Drink & fruits

OK let me give a brief overview of each stall.

Nasi Campur is going to be one of your best bets here. If you remember from the previous post, keep your rice portion small(roughly the size of your clenched fist). You want to take as much vegetables as you can. The leafy ones which are just stir fried are the best ones to choose. You can also take “telur rebus”, but avoid the small “telur puyuh” as that is high in Cholestrol. Fish is a good option, but most of the time, the fish is fried. Finding the fish in a curry or sambal is much healthier, but if there are no options, then you have no choice but to go for the fried fish. Chicken in curry or sambal is great, but please avoid ayam masak merah if you can. Most of them deep fry the chicken, and then roll it around in Tomatoo puree and other spices till it becomes ayam masak merah. The more watery the curry is, the healthier it is. So use that as a guide when choosing. Sometimes you can even find tempeh mixed with taufu. If you do see this, fill your plate with this as this is as healthy as it gets. High protein with little fat – sure is a bargain. Some shops even like to serve sardine curry, another great choice. So as you can see, there are many possible choices out there as long as you make the right choices.

Goreng Goreng Outlet – Please stay away from this shop as far as possible. All they serve is variations of nasi Goreng, Mee Goreng, Kuay Teow Goreng and such. It may be cheap, but it sure as hell ain’t healthy. Won’t bother finding a healthy option here, coz there really isn’t any way this can be healthy.

Kuih Muih – Of course these shops do well in the morning and evening, but just because your best buddy goes there in the mornings and evenings, it doesn’t mean you have to follow. The food items here range from Curry Puffs to Kuih Lapis to Kuih Seri Muka to Kuih Sri Ayu. Now I am not saying don’t ever eat any of these kuih’s, but if you are serious about weight loss, then you need to stay away from these as much as you can.

Western – this is not a stall that is available in all “crappy cafeterias” but if you do find it, whether or not it is healthy depends on what they serve. The one I saw only served deep fried chicken, deep fried fish, deep fried sausages, deep fried fries. So it wasn’t anywhere near healthy coz everything was just deep fried. Even the bun they serve on the side was deep fried. They also serve burgers, but unfortunately it was your Ramly burger which was loaded with Mayo. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ramly burgers and indulge in one every once in awhile, but again, if you are serious about losing weight, then you have to sacrifice this as well. When do you know if a western food outlet is healthy? When they have grilled meat and grilled fish. If they do, then this is what you need to get.

Drinks and fruits – OK, here is where you can really make a big difference. Take less of the rice and curry as mentioned above, fill up on some fruits and drink water. If you can do this, I guarantee you will see weight loss. The fruits here range from papaya’s, jambu, pineapples etc. All good for you and best of all, it fills you up. You can eat half your normal portion of normal food (like rice & curry), and fill up on fruits for the rest of the way. It’s a great tip to eat healthily without starving yourself.

So there you have it. Even the crappy cafeteria food isn’t as bad as it is made to seem by many. I admit, the options are very limited, and isn’t the best of choices out there, but like I always say, try to cut back wherever you can. It’s better to be vigilant this way than to just go all out without caring about anything.

Is there a cafeteria worse than the one I described above? If there is, please share what morbid dishes are being churned out by their kitchen. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

15 comments:

Jazlyn said...

in the food court, i have the option of mixed rice for lunch but not dinner. there's no option for mixed rice. only western and goreng stall. i guess i might have to turn to clearer diet like mihun soup or something and in half an hour, top it up with fruit or yogurt.

i don't drink any other fluid anymore cept water and barley or any tea mom made.

Rajan said...

Jazlyn: That is great. Clear Mihun soup is great, but if you really want to make it healthy, ask them to reduce the mihun and add more taugeh...that is, if you don't mind taugeh. this way you drastically reduce your carb intake.

Fruit yogurt is cool too.... to add some crunch, you can buy loose muesli in packets and add it into the yogurt. great source of fiber.

premo said...

Thx for the tips Rajan!

You could also try eating fruits an hour before consuming lunch. I read somewhere that it's much more healthier that way as your body absorbs more of the fruits goodness before lunch, as opposed to after. Also it does help curbing your lunch appetite for high carb stuff.

Hope this helps :) Cheers

anfield devotee said...

The flies, macha, the flies . . .

The Corporate Athlete said...

you're right ... there's no reason not to eat healthily. Need some creativity and basic knowledge on nutrition, and you'll be fine.

Great tips dude!

Rajan said...

Premo: That's an excellent tip bro. Thanks. You are right... eating fruits fill you up so you are less likely to binge eat unhealthy food when you do go out.

AD: Flies are high in protein and low in fat. hehehehehe... you shuld try it.

CA: you are absolutely right... all you need is a little creativity and what foods to avoid. Too often i hear people telling me its impossible to stay healthy when you have to eat out. its all a matter of you want to or not.

Bernard said...

Rajan - You eat flies before meh??

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

the last time i had cafeteria food was at a private hospital, and it was equally crappy, if not crappier. i'd rather push me wchair a few miles out of the hospital compound and find the nearest mamak restaurant since the cafeteria isnt any healthier anyway. and besides, we can enjoy a ciggy or 2 after meal at mamak...hehehehe...

Rajan said...

Bernard: Hehehehe... no-lah... just simply pulling AD's leg.

Kerp: Wah... private hospital has crappier food.... which hospital is this bro?

Anyway, mamak is better but for some people who live on campus or work in a campus environment (like our good friend AD), then got not much choice-lah. So hopefully now AD can slim down and look like model. hehehehehehee

Aizan Suhaira said...

Great stuff. Not everybody has the commitment and time to cook their own meals. Your guide is really practical. Keep up the good work!

Rajan said...

Aizan: Thanks. That's what its all about. I hate reading fitness info that tells you not to eat this, don't do this, don't do that.... at the end of the day, you are left with very little choice.... hence why lots of people give up their fitness lifestyle.

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Alexis said...

i tried to make a better choice like mihun soup (which is boring and sometimes very oily) or fish/frog porridge which i love..still, the dangers lies at home where i'm really vulnerable to food temptation especially when i'm having emotional problem..

novice.faris said...

hmm..what about soup?is it better than fried stuff.i'm in university.most of the stall serving nasi campur n western food.

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