Filipino are the most resilient people on Earth and can adapt to anywhere they go. Pinoys also love their food. And despite not being wealthiest people on the planet, they can incorporate simple ingredients to create their own Filipino recipes to create dishes that are uniquely Pinoy. It’s no secret that Filipinos oftentimes make the most of what they have especially during hard times. They’ll always find reasons to smile despite the hardships and appreciate what little things that they have. Even with their food. Whatever ingredients are available, they’ll sure to make them into delicious meals.
Traditional Filipino food isn’t known to be the most nutritious foods in the world. Filipinos absolutely love their meat as the main ingredient of their dish and an abundance of sugary sweet dishes are prominent throughout every region in the Philippines. Filipinos also love their salty flavors and dishes with huge fat content. Although some Filipino dishes are vegetable-based and truly full of nutrition that’s beneficial for a healthy body (See: 15 Healthy Native Filipino Foods). It’s no secret that majority of Filipino’s favorite foods that are often staples of their diet are not the healthiest and sometimes can be detrimental to their health, especially if eaten every day for a long period.
Unfortunately, not every Pinoy prioritizes having a healthy diet and are more likely to search for the most affordable food or meal available for themselves and their families. More often than not, these cheap foods and meals may lack the nutritional value that they and their family needs and can even be just plain unhealthy if consumed regularly. Not many food-loving Filipinos are conscious of the foods they eat and often eat any food available even when it’s unhealthy or even downright detrimental to their health.
Check out this: Everything You Need to Know About Kale
Benefits of Eating Healthy
If it’s not any more obvious, it is highly recommended that Filipinos adhere to a nutritional diet that is good for their health. Many Filipinos feel that they can’t afford to follow this certain kind of healthy, especially when the majority of affordable food around them are those of the processed kind that are more often than not, unhealthy. But it is important to find ways around this dilemma, especially when it’s the health of the body that’s at stake.
It’s more beneficial and easier on the wallet in the long run if we prioritize healthy eating because the money we spend on nutritional foods today is investing in our long-term health instead of buying and eating non-nutritional meals for a long period and end up having to pay large sums for our hospital bills.
Here we present ways on how to eat a healthy and affordable diet for every Pinoy.
1. Cook at home
Cooking at home brings major benefits to people’s health and budget both. Cooking your meals allow you to have control over the ingredients. You have the control to moderate the salt, sugar, fat, and other ingredients that could negatively affect your health and your family’s health. Unlike when eating out, you don’t have to guess any secret ingredients with little to no nutritional value.
Cooking at home can also be very light to your wallet. It’s more expensive to eat out in restaurants than picking out the ingredients and cooking the food yourself as you’re not only paying for the food when you eat out but also the services of the restaurant’s employees. Cooking at home only requires money for handpicked and fresh ingredients and your own time and effort.
Check out all the Panlasang Pinoy Recipe’s Top 10 Recipes to try at home.
2. Choose alternative ingredients
Filipino staples like white rice go well with everything. That’s why we eat it every single day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, white rice is not the healthiest ingredient to eat in large amounts every day. White rice is the processed version of brown rice where all its nutrients are stripped away only leaving carbs behind. Brown rice on the other hand still has all its nutrients intact and provide a healthier and filling meal for Filipinos. Similarly, less nutritional foods have healthier alternatives that Filipinos can eat, like tofu as an alternative for fatty meat.
Check out these Must-Try Delicious Tofu Vegan Dishes.
3. Eat more veggies and fruits
For the most optimally healthy diet you can have, try eating meals with the majority of its ingredients are fresh vegetables and/or fruits. Not only are they rich in different types of nutrients and minerals that are healthy for your body but they’re also less expensive than meat, processed, and canned products. Buying fresh vegetables and fruits does require more prep work but it also saves more money in the long run. So try to incorporate more vegetables and fruits in your daily meals.
Check out these Top 10 Salad Recipes
4. Buy produce that is in season
It’s no contest that fruits and vegetables are healthier for the body but some people still think that they’re out of their price budget. The easier way to get around this is to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and plan your cooking ideas around the season’s schedule. In-season produce is a lot cheaper to buy than greenhouse made and temperature-controlled fruits and vegetables. Also, try to buy your ingredients in the local market where everything is much cheaper and have fewer items that are processed instead of the supermarket.
5. Skip fancy coffee products
Chances are, you don’t need that fancy overpriced designer coffee to wake you up. Of course, it’s nice to have it every once in a while but our bodies do not require a cocktail of caffeine to function. Again, it won’t be the end of the world to purchase these designer coffees but don’t make it a habit as too much caffeine can be unhealthy for the body. Cut down on coffee and if you really need it to start your morning or for an energy boost, there are cheaper alternatives that you can buy in sari-sari stores that are as effective at doing its job as cafe items.
For a fun homemade coffee dessert, check out this Coffee Jelly Recipe you can try making.
6. Buy Staples in Bulk
Buy your staple ingredients in bulk to save up on money. Ingredients such as your brown rice, onions, garlic, spices, salt, pepper, flour, etc. in bulk packages come at cheaper prices. If stored correctly, it won’t go spoiled for a long time. Having things in bulk also saves up time and money to buy single piece ingredients in the store and quickens the time to cook your meal.
7. Drink more water
If you’re itching for a snack even when you’ve just eaten, try drinking water. Not only does this keeps you hydrated it also tricks your stomach of being full and prevents you from overindulging and potentially gaining more weight from snacking. Drinking more water also helps detoxify our body by cleaning our kidneys and liver, which is sometimes we must not take for granted. Don’t spend your hard-earned money for teas online claiming that it can detoxify your body when simple drinking water can do just that with less the price.
Check out these: Which is best drinking water?
8. Choose a healthier protein
Proteins like pork and beef are delicious but too much of them may lead to heart disease because it contains large amounts of saturated fat. We need to eat protein for a balanced and healthy diet so it’s important that instead of pork and beef, why not choose the healthier proteins like chicken or fish and pair them with healthy vegetables? Chicken is a great source of low-fat protein while fish contain healthy fatty omega-3 acids.
9. Be mindful of your snacking habits
It’s easy to buy junk food and eat them throughout the day as snacks. However, junk food full of unhealthy ingredients that could make you gain weight and can cause health problems in the long term. As stated above, try drinking more water if you’re feeling the urge to snack. And if you really want something to eat, try snacking on fresh fruits and finger-sized vegetables like baby carrots and celery. These are much healthier to snack on and won’t weigh you down.
10. Create a meal plan
Probably the most important and most efficient thing to do to help you eat healthy while staying within a budget. Creating your meal plan helps you gain control of the meals and their ingredients for an extended time, be it within a week or an entire month. A meal plan will make efficient use of your budget and won’t let you purchase foods that you can’t afford. This will keep you stay on track of eating healthy, organizing the use of the ingredients you have and prevent you from ordering processed delivery foods or eating out in expensive restaurants.
Avellana, S. (2017, November 19).Eating healthy without busting your budget. Retrieved from https://www.sunlife.com.ph/PH/Life+Goals/Nurture+your+health/Eating+Healthy+Without+Busting+Your+Budget?vgnLocale=en_CA
Nisce, A. (2017, October 12). 12 ways to eat healthy on a budget. Retrieved from https://pursuitofpassion.ph/practical-living/12-ways-shed-pounds-not-pesos/
Levin, H. (n.d.) How to eat healthy on a budget. Retrieved from https://pursuitofpassion.ph/practical-living/12-ways-shed-pounds-not-pesos/