Face Off: Is eating healthily easier said than done?

Face Off: Is eating healthily easier said than done?

How do we stay healthy when there is so much cheap, unhealthy food options around us? Two students discuss ...


Trade in that burger for some healthy fruits and veggies
Trade in that burger for some healthy fruits and veggies
Credit: TCA

Sweetie Lui, 19, Hong kong Polytechnic University

There's more to a healthy lifestyle than people trying and failing to stick to a low-fat diet. The true difficulty is not craving high-calorie food, but bigger issues such as food prices and education.

It is generally believed that unhealthy diets cost less. Research published in British Medical Journal shows that meals rich in fruits and vegetables cost more than processed foods in many countries. This proves that people buy foods depending on their price. Obesity rates are high in the US because people eat a lot of cheap fast food. In Hong Hong, cha chaan teng provide similarly low-cost, high-fat food.

Healthy eating is not easy - not when only the wealthy can afford it.

Another problem is that we don't know what eating healthily means. In Hong Kong, the Department of Health advises citizens to "eat smart" from a young age. But is the food pyramid and a simple "Two Plus Three Every Day" rule good enough for us? On the internet, we are bombarded with so many tips that they simply confuse us. At school, we are not taught about nutrition or how to cook healthy food.

Without simple, easily accessible knowledge, how are we supposed to recognise healthy meals, or explore the possibility of cooking our own dishes that are both healthy and cheap?

Millions of people around the world have yet to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This means extra measures have to be taken by individuals if they want to stay healthy. So, healthy eating is still easier said than done.

Tacye Hong, 17, University of Toronto, Canada

We eat so much each day that it is impossible not to eat something healthy! All we need to do is change some of our food choices.

It is not like we have to change every single thing we eat; just make some smart choices every now and then, and we will be a whole lot healthier than before.

Start with drinks. It is recommended that we drink at least eight glasses of water every day. For people who like to drink coffee and fizzy drinks, making the switch to just plain water might be very hard. Start by changing your coffee-drinking habits instead. Add less sugar to your coffee and limit yourself to one cup per day. Not only will you be healthier, your purse will probably be better off, too.

If you want to cut coffee completely out of your life but just cannot stand the taste of water, switch to things such as fruit juices and tea.

Green tea, one of my favourite drinks, is extremely healthy. It has been proved that green tea can improve brain functions, such as our mood and memory.

We can make smarter choices in other aspects of our diet, too. Eating more fruit and vegetables, and adding less salt to our food, is always good and easy to do.

When you go to a fast food restaurant, always read the nutritional information on the menu before making your order. Have a hamburger instead of a cheeseburger. It has a lot less fat and sodium. Drop those set meals that come with French fries and fizzy drinks. Buy items separately so you can choose healthier side dishes, such as salad.

You can see it's not difficult to have a healthier diet. If you want to lead a healthier lifestyle, stop making excuses and make those changes that will benefit you immensely in the long run.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Is eating healthily easier said than done?


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