THE PERFECT DIET
Long to look fabulous on your wedding day? Exercise alone will not cut it. Consultant dietician Indra Balaratnam shares with us her insights on the right way to get in shape before the big day
Dietician Indra Balaratnam shares her insights on the right way to get in shape before the big day
Q: Why did you decide to become a dietician?
A: Food is a fundamental need to a healthy or even a sick person. As a dietician, I’m passionate about helping people understand how they can each meet their nutritional goals by making sensible food choices to last a lifetime.
Q: What would be the best diet plan for a bride who wants to shed a few pounds before her big day?
A: The worst diet plan is one that is so little in calories that our bride-to-be is often deprived of wholesome foods. If she wants to lose weight, I would usually help create a meal plan that is balanced with varieties from the five major food groups in appropriate portions. The meal plan will also account for little portions of foods that the bride simply cannot do without. Q: Are there any good juice diets that you can recommend? A: I really do not recommend juice diets as they are not nutritionally complete for anyone—let alone a stressed out bride-to-be. We want her to be healthy and radiant on her big day and not haggard and lethargic.
Q: What are a few on-the-go snacks that you can recommend for a bride who is in the midst of planning her wedding?
A: Perfect snacks would be a small packet (40g serving) of nuts, tau foo fah, low fat yogurt with cut fresh fruit, a sandwich, a cup of milk and two to three small wholegrain crackers.
Q: What advice would you give so that the bride-to-be does not give in to any sweet temptations and dessert cravings?
A: Don’t ever deprive yourself of that little touch of sweetness. But the idea is to look for new sweet alternatives. I would suggest having a freshly squeezed fruit juice or better still eat some sweet freshly cut fruit, or have lower calorie desserts such as lin chee kang, tau foo fah or a low fat sugar free sorbet.
Q: It is said that we should have small-sized dinners. Can you give us a few examples of healthy yet filling dinner dishes?
A: Look for dishes that are cooked with less oil such as noodle soup, Chinese steamed fish served with rice and vegetables, soups cooked with vegetables and lean pieces of meat, light stir-fried lean meat with lots of vegetables, steamed soft beancurd with tasty sauce or a piece of grilled fish, beef or chicken served with roasted potatoes and sauteed vegetables. Do stay away from deep fried dishes as they would be high in fat content. The rule of thumb is to portion out your dinner plate in this manner—1/4 plate with your carbohydrate, 1/4 plate with some lean protein and finally the last 1/2 of the plate with a variety of vegetable dishes.
Q: What are the key tips to a consistent healthy eating habit?
A: To consistently eat healthily, it really does take a little planning and forethought. This helps you to look for places to eat that have suitable choices for your new light eating style or even buy certain simple foods and snacks to be stored in the house and workplace. It would also be great to learn to cook some of your own meals. This will help you to cut down on the use of excessive ingredients that often make your meals high in calories.
Q: Why is eating early good and what would be the right time to eat?
A: Try not to go too many hours in between your meals. Spacing out three to four hours between main meals and small snacks is a good way to stay comfortably nourished throughout the day. Eating an early dinner is advisable so you can let your food digest and wind down for sleep earlier. For some people, sleeping on a full stomach disrupts a restful night. Studies have shown that not getting good sleep and enough rest is a catalyst for overeating and being overweight.
Q: What are some of the foods that can cause bloating and what can be eaten to prevent this?
A: Certain vegetables can cause gas buildup, such as hard vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Beans can also form gas and so are foods that are high in fibre. There’s no need to totally avoid these healthy foods. Just gradually increase them in your daily diet, and do remember to drink plenty of water to help eliminate the fibre.
Q: What should be the average amount of calories to be consumed in a day, if planning to lose weight for a wedding and how long before the wedding should one get started on this?
A: The amount of calories will depend on several factors such as the person’s height, age, current weight and how active he or she is. The average calorie intake for weight loss can be anywhere between 1,200 calories to 1,500 calories a day. A: What fruits and vegetables are especially good for the skin? Q: A diet high in all kinds of fruits and vegetables is great for the skin as fruit is nature’s best food for vitamins A, C and antioxidants to fight free radical damage.
The average calorie intake for weight loss can be anywhere between 1‚200 calories to 1‚500 calories a day