The great lunch showdown

The great lunch showdown

Experts discuss the meal choices working adults face each day during their quick lunch breaks, and tell us how to pick the healthier options.

The great lunch showdownAs working adults, many of us have our lunch out or on the go. We often opt for meals from fast-food joints, coffee shops and food courts during lunch.

While it is true that it is harder to eat healthily when you eat out, it is not impossible.

The ability to make the right food choices is important, as lunching out is almost inevitable. To help you make the right choices getting a balanced and healthy lunch, we are giving you the right choices to the lowdown on six popular food choices.

The Good

Chicken Porridge

Coming in first place in our nutritious lunch showdown is the humble chicken porridge. “With the lowest amount of calories, fat and saturated fats, it is a healthier option for the office-goer.” said Ms Nehal Kamdar, a dietician from Raffles Hospital.

While chicken porridge is low in calories and fats, it is also low in fibre. Therefore, include a vegetable dish to complement your meal and improve its fibre content. This will also serve to fill you up and make you less prone to hunger pangs later in the day.

Fish Bee Hoon Soup


Ms Kamdar also recommends office-goers who are desk bound to make fish bee hoon soup their lunch option, as it is low in calories and fat, and moderate in fibre.

Fish is a great source of protein and is lower in fat content in comparison to red meat and chicken. However, remember to choose sliced fish over fried fish bee hoon soup. You can also up your fibre intake by requesting for more vegetables.

Yong Tau Foo

Yong tau foo with noodles is another healthy option. What makes this dish a suitable option for everyone is the fact that it is customised for every individual.

However, make a conscious effort to lessen the fat content by not including deep fried items. Note that yong tau foo soup is much healthier than curry, laksa and dry yong tau foo (served with chilli and black sauce). You should also increase the amount of vegetables items when you are making your selection.

The Bad

Fast Food

Simply put, there are very little nutritional values in fast food. A normal meal comprises of a burger, medium fries and medium coke “This is high in calories, total fats and saturated fats. It is also high in refined carbohydrates that store itself as fats if it is not utilized by the body.” Said Ms Kamdar

If you want to grab a quick bite, try having some sushi instead. Many of the main ingredients found in sushi are very healthy and beneficial to your health. Instead of simply filling yourself up, get the most out of your meal by making nutritious choices.

Chicken Rice

Chicken rice is another popular favourite amongst Singaporeans. This dish is readily available in different eateries, from top-notch hotels to our neighbourhood coffee shops.  However, its fat content is very high despite the lack of fried side items.

“Take the chicken without the skin and white rice instead of the flavoured rice that is usually served. This will greatly reduce the calories and fat content of this dish,” said Ms Kamdar.

Economical Rice

Many people think that economical rice is a pretty healthy and balanced meal option. However, if this meal comprises of white rice, a meat dish, vegetable and an egg dish, its calorie and fat intake is actually quite high.

By making wiser and more informed choices, you can make economical rice a healthy meal option. “Opt for brown rice instead of white rice and select a steamed, grilled or baked fish dish more often,” Ms Kamdar advised.  “Occasionally, choose some vegetable protein like tofu.”

You can also increase your dietary intake by requesting for two serves of vegetables and one serve of meat/fish/chicken. Basically, how healthy this option is depends on you.

Food Portion Calorie Protein Carb Fat S Fat Fibre
Fast Food Meal 1 meal 925 24 117 38 8 5.5
Chicken rice 1 serve 618 25.7 76.2 23.3 8.9 2.7
Yong Tau Foo 1 serve 536 28 66 15 7.0 9.0
Fish Beehoon Soup 1 serve 349 22.3 47.9 7.6 3.5 3.4
Chicken Porridge 1 serve 181 12.0 21 6 2 0
Economical rice 1 serve 637 40.3 49.7 23.7 9.6 7.3

This article is provided by Raffles Medical Group. For more information visit


(also check out our compilation of "Healthy Places for a Munch Around Raffles Place!")

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Written by

Sandra Ong

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