Building a Healthy Habit: Healthy Eating in the Philippines

Healthy Eating

A healthy lifestyle includes being physically active and developing a healthy eating habit. Developing an active lifestyle is easy as there are numerous activities to choose from when deciding to be active yet not being costly at all like jogging or doing home workouts. However, having a healthy meal might pose a problem especially to those financially challenged individuals. Nonetheless, healthy foods are loaded with vitamins and minerals which are important for maintaining our body. Even so, it is unappealing to most people compared to savory meals made of meat recipes.

Still, to eat healthier should be a goal of everyone aside from being active in gyms and other physical exercises. Hence, engaging in physical activities would be a waste if not partnered with a nutritious eating habit.

Therefore, worrying about achieving a healthy weight should not only focus on building an active lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight involves choosing the right foods with proper levels of vitamins and minerals instead of focusing so much on the calories and low-fat content. Being healthy is beyond one’s body appearance. Good nutrition is much more important to avoid health conditions which may be detrimental on daily living and productivity.

With this, it is proper to let ourselves ingest all the essential nutrients. Not through over-the-counter drugs, but through food intakes. To do this, it is best to make every meal healthy— breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thus, here is a guide on healthy eating in the Philippines.

hunger, hungry, eating

Healthy Eating is Inaccessible for Most Filipinos

In the recent research of Our World In Data, the organization found out that majority or 64.5 percent of the Filipinos cannot afford a healthy diet worth $4.08 or approximately PHP 200 per day.

With this, healthy eating might be a luxury for most of the Filipinos. However, this does not mean that you do not have a chance to have a healthy recipe for your meals. In fact, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) identified that about 55.18 percent of the Filipinos can afford a nutritionally adequate diet—a diet meeting the required levels of essential nutrients for the body—costing around $2.82 or approximately PHP 150 per day. Additionally, almost all Filipinos or 96.69 percent are able to afford an energy sufficient diet—a diet to meet a person’s short-term subsistence—costing $1.16 or about PHP 60 per day.

salad, fruit, berry

Why Should You Have a Healthy Meal?

In a study conducted by World Health Organization, it was discovered that 70% of the estimated death counts in the Philippines was caused by non-communicable diseases with women identified as more vulnerable on being diagnosed with such illnesses.

Moreover, non-communicable diseases are known to be the world’s biggest silent killer on people. The most common forms of non-communicable diseases are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and cancer.

These illnesses are commonly caused by vices like tobacco and alcohol use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet. Thus, to prevent being infected with these non-communicable diseases, it is important to be active and eat a nutritious meal frequently.

How Nutritious Meals Affect Our Body?

We know that it is important to eat healthy foods. However, to convince you more of its benefits, here are the things that a balanced diet does in our body system.

  1. Maintains or lowers cholesterol levels.
  2. Reduces blood pressure.
  3. Helps in managing weight gain.
  4. Controls blood sugar levels

These benefits help in decreasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. So, aside from developing an exercise routine to burn your saturated fats, formulating nutritious meal ideas is equally important because it is a source of energy for humans to perform their daily activities.

yogurt, strawberries, food

Myth Busting: Do Healthy Meals Really Lack Flavor?

The common notion for everyone is that nutritious meals are bland and boring. However, if you try to discover more recipes, there are a lot of healthy foods that taste better than junk foods and still quick to prepare. With this, healthy and tasty can still be intertwined contrary to what most people believe. On top of that, a nutritious dish is more than just leafy veggies, fruits, or salads.

Therefore, there are a lot of meal prep ideas or guides available for maintaining a healthy diet without sacrificing flavor and taste. Truthfully, a nutritious food is sometimes less tasty and flavorful than a sinful food. However, learning different meal prep ideas may help you ditch a bland and boring dish especially if you want to have a healthy dinner—the lightest yet most skipped meal by majority of the people on a diet.

salmon, fish, seafood

Basic Ideas to Remember When Preparing a Nutritious Meal

In preparing a nutritious meal, it is not enough that you eat vegetables and fruits. There are other foods that you should include in your plate to have a healthy and balanced dish that provides all the necessary nutrients the body needs. Thus, it is more than just picking what is healthy as the nutritional needs of the body must be sufficed as well.

To guide you in preparing a nutritious meal, you have to remember these basic tips to help you be creative on your meal preps.

tray, breakfast, muesli

Half of your plate should be composed veggies and fruits.

The greater variety and colors for veggies and fruits, the better. Remember, potatoes are not considered as a vegetable when making a healthy meal. This is due to its negative effect on blood sugar levels.

oatmeal, cereal, cereals

Replace white rice with whole grains.

Whole grains have fewer calories compared to white rice and white bread. About one-fourth of your plate should be filled with this type of grains. Additionally, this is the preferred type because of its mild effect on the blood sugar level of a person compared to refined grains.

seafood, food, healthy

One-fourth of your plate should be protein-filled.

Red meat has high protein. However, it is also high in saturated fat which is a bad component as it increases the risk of heart disease. Fortunately, our protein needs can be ingested through alternatives like white meat and plant-based proteins such as chicken breasts, fish, and beans. It is also tasty like its red meat counterpart. Moreover, if you want to have a protein-filled fancy dish, cilantro lime shrimp would be your best choice.

oil, olive oil, food

Use healthy plant oils for cooking.

Oils contain unhealthy trans-fat which contributes to the increased risk of heart disease. The use of oils may be inevitable especially when preparing meals. If oil usage cannot be avoided, use vegetable oils produced from olive, canola, soy, and other vegetables.

drink, glass, lime

Drink water and avoid sugary drinks.

Water is the best drinks that you can have as it helps flush toxins in the body. Fruit juice might be perceived as a healthy drink due to its fruit content, but it is advisable to only take a small amount per day especially those ready-to-drink juices available from grocery stores. The added sugar from sweetened beverages is what makes it a bad option for our body. If you really cannot avoid these beverages, opt for drinks with natural sugars.

Building a Healthy Eating Habit

It is not enough that you just know which food is healthy or not. Unhealthy foods are greatly tempting because of how it satisfies our taste preference and its short-term dopamine boost in our body. So, aside from thinking of the best tasting healthy recipes, you also have to plan how to build a healthy eating habit.

Developing a habit is a difficult task and a thoughtful process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges such difficulty so here are three simple actions the organization formulated to guide every individual in integrating a healthy eating habit in their daily living.


You have to be true to yourself in this phase. Creating a list of your current eating and drinking habits is essential to help you pinpoint what needs improvement. After reflecting on your current habits, it is best if you highlight your unhealthy habits like those actions leading you to overeat resulting to unhealthy weight gain and other similar unwanted health issues.

Usually, these unhealthy eating habits root from non-hunger reasons or triggers. So, to minimize and avoid triggers, you must identify such. Here are some of the common triggers or non-hungry reasons which increases the tendency for overeating.

  1. Feeling stressed, bored or tired
  2. Checking your pantry or food supply cabinet then seeing your favorite snack
  3. Eating while watching movies or series.


After a thoughtful reflection, you should now think of the ways on how you can improve or replace your bad habits. However, you might be unsure on what is the best activity to integrate in your new eating habits. Listed below are some simple activities to include in your new routine:

  1. Slowly eat your food – aside from the benefit of better digestion, eating slowly helps you evaluate if your hunger is truly satisfied, or there is a need to eat more. Thus, this avoids overeating because you only consume the appropriate amount to satisfy your hunger.
  2. Eat only when you are hungry – stress eating is a go-to stress reliever of people especially those in corporate jobs. When you eat out of stress, you are eating not because of hunger but the hope of having a better mood. Therefore, a way to minimize this event is to eat only when you are hungry and find a new activity to feel relieved from your stressors.
  3. Have your meals planned ahead of time – if you have the luxury of time, planning and preparing your meals ahead of time are good practices. This refrains you from ordering in fast food chains or restaurants for your daily meals. Additionally, you can see its benefit during the days that you are too exhausted to think and prepare a healthy meal.


Habits take time to develop. At times, consistency is a challenge because developing habits might be an inconvenient process. With this, you should learn not to punish yourself once you go back on doing an unhealthy habit. Instead, make yourself aware, quickly reflect on your actions and try harder to stick with the process of building a healthy habit.

7 Simple and Nutritious Filipino Recipes to Try

Filipino diet is considered unhealthy as it is heavy on fats and sugar. In spite of this, there are several Filipino dishes that are considered healthy by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Likewise, these dishes are also simple to prepare which is beneficial when you are already exhausted.

So, if you are new to meal prep or you are running out of ideas, you should consider including these 7 Filipino dishes in your meal prep planning.

  1. Fish Cardillo – a low-cost yet delicious dish with low sodium. It also has low-fat despite being protein-rich.
  2. Adobong Manok – This salty tasting recipe is still considered to have low sodium content. Like the first dish, this is also cheap to prepare. For lower fat content, you may use chicken breasts instead of other parts of the chicken.
  3. Fresh Lumpia (Lumpiang Sariwa) – This is made up of oil, peanut, fresh herbs, and natural spices. You can also add ground chicken to have more protein. Fresh lumpia is better than fried spring rolls made because of its less calories count.
  4. Fish Simmered with Ginger and Tomatoes (Pesang Isda) – This recipe is considered heart healthy because no frying took place and no fat is added. Additionally, the flavoring comes from natural sources like herbs and spices instead of condiments with high contents of sodium.
  5. Sauteed Mung Beans (Gisadong Munggo) – With mung beans being its main ingredient, its other flavors come from simmered meat like seafood and lean meat together with other vegetables added.
  6. Tinolang Manok – The simple ingredients of this dish make it a special and nutritious meal to try. Commonly, other than chicken, it has malunggay leaves and sayote which are rich in vitamins and minerals. Thus, its soup is highly nutritious because these ingredients.
  7. Vegetable Peanut Stew (Kare-kareng Gulay) – This version of peanut stew is much healthier than the traditional way that uses a lot of red meat. So, this has no cholesterol despite being protein rich due to the gluten from the vegetables and its sauce.

Developing a Healthy Lifestyle is An Investment

If you are healthy, you can easily pursue your endeavors with lessened worries of being chronically ill. Remember that unhealthy diet is a big factor on being diagnosed with any disease. If your body cannot keep up with the demands of your workload or career, all your efforts will be wasted. Thus, investing on healthy lifestyle is a must especially if you have big dreams for your career.

When you invest in your health, you make sure to stay active along with eating a balanced diet which gives all the essential nutrients the body needs. It might be costly at times, but few people realize that you earn savings for a long time. Being healthy means you have lower risks of getting chronic diseases like heart problems, respiratory illnesses, and many more. For illnesses, prevention is better than cure and it is much cheaper in the long run.

Thus, living a healthy life is an important step towards a productive career. If you are healthy, you can easily perform at your best in your job. Nonetheless, you want to improve and be consistent hoping for a promotion or a salary increase and incentive.

If your body systems are in good shape, you have better risk tolerance on investments because of you are not saving excessive amounts for a health emergency. With this, you can now diversify your asset portfolio like starting to invest in real estate. So, if you are financially capable and looking for an affordable house and lot investment, you should explore our offers here at Bria Homes. Aside from affordability, we aim to build a community suitable for a healthy lifestyle as we build areas to cater an active lifestyle for your family.

For further inquiries, you may visit our social media pages and schedule for an appointment.

Written By Steven Hernandez