Nutrition Tips & Healthy products


Now that Singapore residents can travel (almost) freely again, we are all tempted to book trips around Asia or further.
If the primary objective remains to have fun and make the most of the trip, people currently on a weight loss or muscle gain journey can find it quite challenging to maintain their lifestyle while travelling.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to stay on track during your trip – and come back even stronger.

1. Stay on the lookout for a way to train – and be ready to embrace the unexpected

Depending on where you go, it is not always easy to find exactly the type of gym or facilities you are used to. The bad news is, it is very likely that you will have to go with the flow and go to a traditional gym if you are into Crossfit, or rent a less-than-adequate bike if you are a cyclist.
The good news is that it is an excellent way to discover new disciplines, try out new equipment, and maybe find a new hobby on the way.
If your sport isn’t available where you are spending your time off, you will probably find other ways to exercise – pick up Muay Thai or diving, go hiking in the mountains, or visit the open-air gyms that are available in most warm countries. It is not about sticking 100% to your usual program – it is about enjoying your time away and still burning some calories or working out these muscles.

muay thai gloves

2. Stay active on a daily basis

For many of us, being on holiday pretty much means doing nothing. There’s nothing bad about it, but you might want to consider implementing at least 1 hour of physical activity (walking, hiking, cycling) every day. You have plenty of time on your hands, and dedicating 4% of your day to your health is a great thing to take care of your own body.
Staying active is all about small choices – take the stairs instead of the elevators, walk instead of hailing a cab (even if it is very cheap), rent a bike rather than a motorbike… It all adds up.

hiking training

3. Keep your nutrition in mind – but don’t forget to enjoy local delicacies

Again, it’s not about making new changes to your diet or counting macros rigorously – that’s what daily life is for. But if you are trying to lose weight, try to avoid substantial excess calories when possible, by going for smaller portions and avoiding bread or sweets when you already feel full. Avoid as well to drink your calories – like in fancy coffee drinks, milkshakes, cocktails… Focus on what you really want to eat and drink, and avoid what’s unnecessary.
And of course, if you are trying to gain muscle or maintain your muscle mass, ensure you are getting enough protein, by having at least one source of protein (animal or plant-based) on your plate at each meal.

It is fairly easy to learn how to spot the healthier options in restaurants:

Make sure your choice contains one source of protein – Meat, fish, eggs, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, mix of cereal & legumes, etc
Go for steamed or boiled, instead of deep-fried. Stir-fried is better than deep-fried, but still more oily than the 2 first options.
– Avoid heavy sauces (tomato-based sauces are the lightest) when possible, or ask for the sauce on the side, so you can control the portions.

Finally, keep in mind that you can ask for less sugar, no MSG, or extra meat or tofu in most restaurants.


Enjoy your trip away and stay healthy! 

You would like to eat healthier but don’t have the time to shop, prep and cook every day? Here is a quick guide to some of the healthiest options available in your local hawker centre – and some tips on what you should try to avoid. 


First things first: the “healthiest” doesn’t mean the “lowest in calories”. This is a misconception many articles on the same topic are pushing – but you do need to pay the same attention to the nutrients your body will get from the meal.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a “healthy” dish:

  • It needs to include some protein (plant or animal-based). Think meat, fish, eggs, tofu. Your body needs protein at every meal, and skipping it to save on calories isn’t healthy at all. A good portion of protein is approx the size of a deck of cards (or a mobile phone).
  • If any ingredient is deep-fried or served with a dense, heavy sauce (often packed with oil & sugar), you know it won’t be healthy. Even if it’s soup.
  • Pay attention to the portion of carbs – ask for 1/2 rice or noodles, and go for the wholemeal option if available. White carbs don’t keep you full for long, and they are quite calorie-dense. Ask for more vegetables to get some good fibres & vitamins that will last longer in your stomach.
  • Even if it has the “healthier option” logo doesn’t mean it is “healthy”. Most of these dishes have been labelled that way because they contain fewer calories – but again, calories are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to adopting healthier food habits.


1. Sliced fish soup

Sliced fish soup is a great option, as it contains quite a lot of protein (from the fish), along with fibres. Make it healthier by asking for 1/2 rice or noodles – but don’t forget that the soup contains quite a lot of salt, so make sure you balance it with a lot of drinking water after your meal.

Side note: this doesn’t apply to fish ball soup, as fishballs are mostly flour and don’t contain enough protein to make your bowl a healthy meal.

Picture: Danielfooddiary


2. Thunder tea rice

It includes several types of vegetables & greens, and in most places, you can swap white rice for wild/brown rice. Make sure you get some protein as a topping – tofu or egg – to build a healthy yet filling bowl that will keep you full until dinner.

thunder tea rice healthy hawker
Picture: The meatmen Channel

3. Kaya Toast set with Soft Boiled Eggs

You’ve got your portion of protein with the eggs & some carbs to keep you full all morning. If possible, ask to skip the margarine/butter slice as that doesn’t bring anything interesting nutrition-wise, or maybe have only 1 of the toasts.

As it often comes with a kopi, make sure to go for a simple black coffee and avoid adding 200kcal+ of concentrated milk to a healthy meal.


4. Chicken porridge with extra egg

Most porridges are a decently healthy option, as they contain a lot of water. You can choose the flavour you want, but keep in mind that there’s rarely enough chicken in the porridge to give you enough protein, and you can always ask for a double portion of meat. 

chicken congee
Picture: NY Times

5. Oyster Omelette

All oyster omelettes are not equal, as some stalls use a lot more cooking oil than others. However, the initial recipe is quite healthy: protein & good fats brought by the eggs, and even more protein from the oysters. If you can, get a side of veggies to complete your plate.


6. Poke Bowls 

Some hawker centres, including Amoy Street, have stalls offering poke bowls – a clean, often palm oil-free option, packed with protein & good fat (with the tuna or salmon), veggies & a layer of rice.

If you can, ask for wild/brown rice to make it even healthier, and swap the rice for some salad if you’re not very hungry, to save up to 300kcal.

Ju Ju Pokebowl
Picture: Ju Ju Pokebowls

7. Salads from Salad Bars 

If you get the option to build your own salad, make sure you get enough protein (portions of protein, as ingredients, are more expensive, so tend to be a bit small) and get a small amount of carbs (brown rice or quinoa) to keep you full throughout the day.

8. Japanese Bento Boxes

Some stalls serve well-balanced Bentos – make sure you get one with fish, meat or tofu, and avoid going for the deep-fried options, like tempura. The portions of rice are usually small, making it a great choice if you are watching your calorie intake.



Bottom line:

Eating healthy when you’re not able to cook your own food can be a bit tricky. But if you keep the following simple rules in mind, you are sure to avoid calorie bombs:

  • Always get some protein on your plate (meat, fish, eggs or plant-based protein)
  • Avoid deep-fried food (chicken, noodles, fish)
  • Avoid heavy sauces & curries that can add up to 300kcal per plate
  • Whenever possible, fill half of your plate with veggies & greens – they’ll keep you full longer
  • Swap white rice & noodles for the wholemeal/wholegrain version, if available.


Everyone should know by now that nutrition is one of the pillars of health, along with physical activity and sleep. What you eat has a huge impact on how you feel, but also on your performance & progress – and it’s especially true for pre and post-workout meals.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand how your body works, and what it needs – Let’s take a look at what you should and shouldn’t eat before working out, so you get the most benefits from your session.

Quick recap: Nutrition 101

The human body needs 3 different macronutrients: proteins, carbs (carbohydrates) & lipids (fats). Each macronutrient plays a different role:

  • proteins are used for muscle mass maintenance and growth, but are also used to maintain and repair cells
  • carbohydrates are used as main energy source
  • lipids are used for hormone balance & cells maintenance (but they can be used as an energy source as well)

Before a workout, your body needs one thing: energy.
Sounds simple, right? One of the most important things to consider though, is how much time do you have before your workout:

If you have 1:30hrs to 2hrs before your session starts

You can get a balanced meal, based on slow-digesting carbs (wholemeal pasta, rice, bread..) & lean protein (eggs, turkey ham, tuna…).
Avoid eating too much fat or spices, as it could disturb your digestion cycle (which wouldn’t be great during your workout).

If your workout starts in 30 – 60min

You might need to consider a lighter option – go for something easy to digest, and that can provide energy quickly – a fruit or a cereal bar, for example. Nothing too fancy or made with too many different ingredients. The simpler, the better!

Keep in mind that if you keep training for an extended time, you’ll run out of energy eventually. Your energy storage usually lasts 75-90min – Would you be willing to keep going longer, you’ll need to refuel, with an energy gel or bar: aim to get at least 30 to 60g of carbs for each hour of training/running. If you’re a runner, it means that you’ll need to bring some snacks with you and if you’re a gym rat, make sure you take breaks to get your energy levels back up.

Should I also eat proteins before/during a workout?

Nope, you don’t have to. During a workout, your body won’t be able to process protein, and therefore, won’t use it to repair your muscles during the session. It isn’t able to store them for later either, so it will merely get rid of them.
However, you’ll NEED them after your workout, in order to recover. Save the protein bars & shakes for your post-workout snack!

Can I do fasted training/running?

You can, especially if you’re used to it. However, it means your body won’t use glucose and rely on fat consumption instead. If it sounds like a great thing when you’re trying to lose weight, you have to keep in mind that it means lower energy levels – To go on a light jog, it’s perfectly fine, but if the plan is to do weight lifting or HIIT, then you should definitely consider getting at least a high-carb snack before you go.

Hope this clarifies pre-workout nutrition – please let me know in the comments if there’s anything else you want to know about it!

Whether you just moved to Singapore, are a student/intern or are just willing so save up some bucks, finding healthy food that fits a tight budget can be a challenge. Of course, there are plenty of cheap food options around – one of the best things about the Lion City! – but we have to admit that, nutrition-wise, the cheaper might not always be the better.

However, if you know the tricks,  you can still get excellent & nutritious food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Here are a few ways to eat clean on a budget:

Use your best judgement (and some tips) at the Hawker Centre

Let’s be clear: hawker food is NOT the best place to find healthy food. However, if you have solid bases of nutrition – or if you’ve read this article about the healthiest options you can pick in hawker centres (coming soon!) – you can find relatively clean food at a very low price.

The rules are quite simple: go for as much protein & vegetables as you can, ask for half the portion of carbs (and make it “wholemeal” if possible), and always go for stir-fried or boiled instead of deep-fried. Ask the sauce on the side whenever it’s possible, or ask for “less sauce”. Of course, no sugary drink to go with it, it’d be a shame to save up on the food calories to get liquid calories in instead.
Be mindful with fruit smoothies too: they are delicious, but contain up to 300kcal each, most of which is pure sugar. Still better than a soda because of the vitamins, but if you are trying to cut off some calories, you might need to watch out!)

hawker center healthy options singapore

Visit healthy food chains for better macro tracking

If they are, in most cases, slightly more pricy than food courts, some food chains worked hard to provide healthy options.
Salad Stop! for example, made available all of the nutritional info of their website. Pro-tip: Always get the sauce on the side, you’ll end up putting way less of it in your bowl than what they’d pour.
Stuff’d also has quite healthy options and a calorie calculator available – make sure you don’t go crazy on the add-ons, though. Simply Wrapps has quite similar offers – the nutrition facts they indicate seems to be a bit underestimated, but you can’t really go wrong with a salad with the sauce on the side.

Photo credit: SaladStop!

What about cooking it yourself?

There are a lot of places in Singapore where you can buy cheap ingredients and cook delicious and healthy food. It takes, of course, more time than buying it, but it has TONS of advantages:

you can control what goes into your food – the amount of fat, added sugar, the quantity of protein. If you want to keep an eye on your weight, your shape or are willing to improve your performance, then that’s the best option for you.

It comes often cheaper in the long run – you can batch buy and cook, and drastically lower the budget you’re spending on food each week.

Having already ready food is the best way to avoid binging on junk food when cravings appear.

Where to buy cheap ingredients:

  • Wet markets: they are not always the cheapest option, but you can definitely get good deals and the freshest products there. You can go there late in the evening – most of the stalls discount items.
  • Fruit stores & street vendors: check out the MRT stations for cheap fruits, especially in the evening, as they often get discounted. (off the top of my head, Bugis MRT, Boon Keng MRT… please comment if the MRT station next to your office/home has one too!)
  • Giant: you can find an extensive selection of vegetables there (check the “reduce to clear” shelves for really good deals), along with cheap roasted chickens that can last you for a few days. I wouldn’t recommend buying uncooked red meat there – but tofu, chicken & eggs from Singapore are quite cheap and of good quality. 
    Another very good point: Giant doesn’t pack their vegetables individually in plastic – shopping there is definitely more eco-friendly than visiting other big supermarkets, which tend to abuse it.
  • Fair Price: for everything you can’t find at Giant, including wholemeal carbs (wholemeal pasta, rice, flour…) as well as a few organic products (that are much cheaper than in dedicated organic stores). You can trust their red meat selection, and they discount their sushi range after 6 or 7 pm (just like Cold Storage & DonDonDonki do)
  • I-tec: for dry ingredients (beans, rice..), sauces and spices, you might want to visit one of the numerous outlets of the 24/24 supermart chain. You might have to dig in a little to find what you are looking for, but you can find really interesting stuff and get creative when you’re back in the kitchen.
Photo Credit: Giant

Eating healthy and cheap in Singapore is possible, but it takes a bit of time and effort to figure it out. Just list down what you need and spend some time going around your place and finding the best places to get ingredients – then buy then in bulk whenever possible, so you don’t run out!

If you’re in for a treat, check out the list of the best Healthy Lunch Places in the CBD (a bit more pricy but worth every dollar!) – of course, all of them serve dinner too.

Snack options in Singapore are aplenty – but most of them aren’t especially nutritious; Usually packed with fats & sugar, most of the biscuits, cakes and crackers sold in supermarkets can have a pretty bad impact on your health. It’s not just about the number on the scale: of course, eating too many calories lead to weight gain (or keep you away from losing weight if that’s your goal), but processed foods, including refined sugar and poor-quality fats, can lead to numerous health issues (pre-diabetes and diabetes, cholesterol and all illnesses that they often imply).

However, there are healthy options available too! People usually think fruits & nuts are the healthiest options – and it’s not completely true, as both of them need to be consumed with moderation: fruits are packed with sugar (don’t get me wrong, the fibers they contain make them definitely better for your health than any biscuit) and nuts are very calorie-dense: a handful brings 100kcal of almost pure fat in – again, “good” fats, but fat nonetheless.

So, is there a better option out there? Yes, of course: high protein snacks.

Here is a list of the best Protein-Packed Snacks available in Singapore, and where you can buy them.

1. Quest Bars

Quest bars have been around for a while, and it’s easy to understand why: with 20 to 22g of protein per bar, a very low amount of sugar (1 to 3g, Vs. Up to 30g for a normal chocolate bar) & around 200kcal each, they are the perfect afternoon snack.
They are very easy to find in Singapore – Cold Storage sells some, along with most of the gyms in SG. But get ready to pay extra: they are sold up to 5$ each, making them an expensive snack to eat on a regular basis.

Make your way to one of the Nutrition Depot outlets to get the best price when buying a box of 12.

2. Quest Hero

The newest addition to the Quest range is clearly made for people who hate traditional protein bars and their texture. (If you have had a cheap protein bar before, you know exactly what I mean) So get ready for a candy bar with several layers, gooey caramel & a crunchy base.
On the downside, they are slightly less protein-rich than the normal Quest bars. But they are definitely a good place to start if you want to add more protein to your diet (with 15g to 17g per bar!)

Make your way to one of the Nutrition Depot outlets to get the best price when buying a box of 12.

3. MyProtein Carb Crusher

Another bar that tastes nothing like a protein bar: the Carb Crusher from MyProtein. 

My favourite flavour is without a doubt Dark Chocolate & Sea salt (but I’m a dark chocolate fanatic, maybe you’ll prefer the milk chocolate ones). 
They are really low in sugar & carbs (hence the name) and have a few different layers, with different textures and flavours: if you don’t know it’s a protein bar, you’ll believe it’s an excellent chocolate snack. 

Order a box from MyProteinSG here!

4. Barbells Protein Bars

quest bar singapore healthy snack

If you’re looking for a great, high protein snack that tastes like a chocolate bar, you have to try the Barbells Bars. They come in several different flavours and contain no added sugar. White Chocolate & Almond is my favourite, but Coconut & Choco and Salty Peanut are delicious too!

You can find them at Nutrition Depot outlets, in a few different gyms but also on Redmart.

5. Soft Boiled eggs

You’re hungry and not able to grab something from the list above? No worries. One of the simplest options to find in Singapore is simply soft boiled eggs, from any hawker centre. With 12g of protein and 140kcal per serving of 2 eggs, it’s a good way to get your daily protein. BUT it shouldn’t be an excuse to load up on carbs as well: order some with 1 piece of toast (70-100kcal) instead of kaya toasts (up to 300kcal alone and packed with sugar).


A lot of other protein bars are sold in Singapore – but you need to check the nutritional information first! Some of them contain up to 20g of sugar, and a ridiculously low amount of protein. 

If you want to try new bars, make sure:

  • they contain at least 15g of protein per serving (you need to be careful with vegan bars especially, as a lot of them are misleadingly labelled “high protein”)
  • They don’t contain more than 5g of sugar (6g of sugar being one cube of white sugar, you wouldn’t want to get more than that in a “healthy” snack, right?)
  • the total of calories doesn’t exceed 200-250kcal – it has to be a snack, unless you’re replacing a full meal with it.