If you’ve ever found yourself eating from cardboard and plastic containers using flimsy wooden chopsticks, the phrase ‘healthy Asian cooking’ may sound a little odd at first. However – as with most types of cooking – doing it yourself can make a big, big difference.
This series looks at several basic concepts which will help you put simple, healthy meals on the table whilst keeping the cost down, and the kitchen time to a minimum. It’s very much a win-win-win situation.
Part 1 : The Asian Diet Pyramid
You’ve probably already seen the healthy diet pyramid. The idea is just to take a few of the items near the top, and several servings daily of the ones further down. Very simple approach.
The Asian diet pyramid is quite similar, although a couple of the food groups have changed. Here it is :
You’ll also note that there’s a section – the all-important foundation – for regular physical activity. The areas of diet and exercise are very closely linked.
Working in much the same way as its Western cousin; the foods nearer the top are consumed less often. Meat (particularly red meat) is only suggested for consumption at most once per month.
NB : Two of the items in the ‘optional daily’ category are fish and dairy. Personally, I favour fish – and seafood in general – over any dairy products.
Whilst there’s value in aligning yourself with any of the diet pyramids, the Asian Diet Pyramid is the one which most suits my own kitchen habits. There are several benefits to this, including :
- The small amount of red meat consumed (approximately one meal per month) is not only cost-effective, it encourages a greater reliance on seafood and vegetarian options. Greater variety, better health.
- The Asian Diet Pyramid encourages a low-fat approach to eating. As this is only a side-benefit rather than a guiding principle; it never feels as though you’re missing out.
- Tea is a drink which goes well with almost any meal, and can be enjoyed both hot and cold. This gradually takes the place of carbonated beverages, which is definitely a positive change.
- Regular physical activity is very much a part of the Asian Diet Pyramid, and will show benefits to numerous aspects of your life. These include such things as getting a better night’s sleep, thinking more clearly and reducing stress. It’s all good.
The Asian Diet Pyramid is a guideline, not a hard-and-fast rule. However, it definitely contains some great ideas. If your diet has a similar structure, you’re off to an excellent start.