The Food Challenge: Can you eat healthy with only hawker food?

The Food Challenge: Can you eat healthy with only hawker food?

Methodology
For the data-driven part of the story, we restricted our selection of hawker food to a list of 18 dishes based on the Institute of Policy Studies’ Makan Index 2.0 from 2023. The study analyses 13 meals, but we included variants for some dishes, such as nasi lemak and beehoon.
We then gathered the nutritional facts for those meals using the Health Promotion Board’s Energy and Nutrient Composition of Food database.
For the data analysis, we considered that a person would eat a combination of three meals during the day – for 18 dishes, this results in 1,140 possibilities.
The healthy score is calculated by discarding those combinations that exceeded the daily intake. These are the values we used for the 2,000 kcal diet:

  • • PROTEIN: 15% of calories (4 calories per gram)
  • • TOTAL FAT: 30% of calories (9 calories per gram)
  • • SATURATED FAT: 10% of calories (9 calories per gram)
  • • CARBOHYDRATE: 52.5% of calories (4 calories per gram)
  • • DIETARY FIBRE: 23g
  • • SUGAR: 10% of calories (4 calories per gram)
  • • SODIUM: 2,000mg

When we took age and gender into consideration, we changed some of the parameters:

  • • PROTEIN: 0.8 of body weight if age is between 18 and 49 years, and 1.2 of body weight if 50 years or older. We also added a 15% tolerance to make the values compatible with the average limit.
  • • DIETARY FIBRE: 20g (women) and 26g (men)

To calculate the calories for our personas, we used the Mifflin St Jeor formula factored to the light activity level:
1. Determine the basal metabolic rate (BMR):
    BMR(women) = 10 X weight (kg) + 6.25 X height (cm) - 5 x age (years) - 161
    BMR(men)   = 10 X weight (kg) + 6.25 X height (cm) - 5 x age (years) + 5
2. Multiply the BMR by the activity factor:

  •     BMR × 1.2  : SEDENTARY – little to no exercise or desk job
  •     BMR × 1.375: LIGHT ACTIVITY – exercise 1 to 3 days per week
  •     BMR × 1.55 : MODERATE ACTIVITY – exercise 3 to 5 days per week
  •     BMR × 1.725: VERY ACTIVE – exercise 6 to 7 days per week
  •     BMR × 1.9  : EXTRA ACTIVE – exercise at least 2 times per day

Source: straitstimes.com

Kerri Waldron

My name is Kerri Waldron and I am an avid healthy lifestyle participant who lives by proper nutrition and keeping active. One of the things I love best is to get to where I am going by walking every chance I get. If you want to feel great with renewed energy, you have to practice good nutrition and stay active.

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