Uptick in number of Singaporeans eating healthy when dining out
More Singaporeans are choosing healthier food options when they dine out, according to the Health Promotion Board (HPB).
About 83 million healthier meals were sold by food and beverage operators, hawker centres and coffee shops under the HPB's Healthier Dining Programme between April and September this year.
In contrast, the figure between April last year and March was about 50 million.
To qualify as a healthier meal based on HPB's nutrition guidelines, a food option has to contain 500 calories or less.
In addition, the food option is assessed based on the ingredients used, the way the food is prepared, the recipe and the portions offered.
Under the programme, which was launched in June 2014 to provide healthier alternatives for Singaporeans who dine out, HPB partners with the food and beverage industry to offer lower-calorie meals, healthier ingredients, such as wholegrain staples, and reduced-sugar beverages.
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Mr Zee Yoong Kang, HPB's chief executive, said: "The taste buds of Singaporeans are shifting. The war on diabetes has made Singaporeans very much aware of the need to adopt wholegrain, less-sugar options."
As of mid-October, there are more than 1,200 F&B operators, hawker centres and coffee shops that are in the programme.
The HPB has been working with these partners to incorporate wholegrains in conventional staples such as bread, rice and noodles.
In its latest partnership with Prata Wala, the first prata restaurant chain to come on board the programme, wholegrain variants of Singapore favourites such as prata and naan, which contain 25 per cent wholegrain flour, have been made available to consumers.
Mr Joseph Lee, the director of First Gourmet, the parent company of Prata Wala, said: "We tried to develop wholegrain prata about nine years ago but failed. We couldn't flip the prata because the wholegrain flour was very coarse at that time. The grains cut through the dough, and whenever we tried to flip the prata, it would tear."
Mr Zee said the availability of fine-cut wholegrain flour made wholegrain prata possible.
Swee Heng Bakery has also joined the programme and introduced six new wholegrain products, including Cranberry Mango Bun and Sweet Potato Chiffon Cake.