Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Malaysian Food Caloric Guide Part 1

Following up on my posting on BMR and making it relevant to what we eat in Malaysia everyday, i want to share some paper cutting i kept a while ago that was published in The Star (i can't remember which day/date it was, but it was during the Chinese New Year season.) Credit is to The Star for today's sharing.

The food caloric value are mostly based on the offerings available during Chinese New Year, but it serves as a good guidance.
My 50sens thoughts follow suit after each photos and my comments will be in italic (if any). Click to enlarge each photos below.
The single most misleading fact is that Malaysian do not require 2460kcal/day (male) or 2180kcal/day (women). This is inflated assuming a moderately active person that exercises 3-5 times a day. Lets not kid ourselves, how many exercise more than 3 times a week to start with???
Irresistible barbecued meat, usually pork and chicken. If you must, go for the slice meat variety instead of the mince meat variety. When meat are minced, there are higher chances of other parts and fats included and hidden.
Also known as pucuk rebung, these are nice crunchy bits that goes well in stewed meat. High sodium content and should be eaten sparingly. Known to cause cramps at night if taken excessively.
Chicken keel is the best possible cut of a chicken. It has the least fat and the same caloric value as two eggs. Steam it for that protein intake. Take note that this is RAW meat, fried would add on easily another 200kcal.

Double the calorie of chicken keel and triple the fat content. There is a reason why the meat from drumstick is always moist - hidden fats in between the muscle/meat.  Fry it and you will instantly add another 200kcal
If there is a bigger evil, it would be chicken wings. Not because of the fat content, but for the chemical and hormones usually deposit here. The caloric rating and fat rating in the paper looked suspiciously low. With more skin (fat) than meat, the total fat should at least be the same as the drumstick.  Don't even fry it, just AVOID!
Fishes are low in calories when compared against the portion that you will be eating. Steam fishes is best and avoid deep fried fishes.
Why not? They are delicious and low in calories. Just watch the cholesterol. ;-)
The staple of Malaysians and Asians. No mean is complete without rice. Be aware that a bowl of rice is 160grams and that usually comes out to half a of a 6 inch plate. Most of us take more than we should and instantly hit the 500kcal mark in one sitting. Banana leave is notorious as the portion get out of hand as anything lesser than a mountain would look very little on the big leaf. I would recommend taking a maximum of ONE serving a day - meaning split your rice to half and half for lunch and dinner. Trust me, you won't die of hunger if you do that.
Apart from rice, Malaysians love noodles. While there are many variants the sample above shows homemade noodles or pasta. Yellow noodles usually used outside has 50% more calories and potentially more chemical as preservatives. Eat sparingly, especially those yellow type. Also, once these noodles are fried ala Mamak style, it will be at least 500kcal per serving.
The above focused mainly on raw food before preparation. Bear in mind anything cooked and fried would carry double the calorie value. It is easy to bust your daily caloric intake and end up eating more than you should - and put on weight.
Next entry will focus more on the estimated caloric values of other known Malaysian hawker's foods that can serve as a guideline if you are watching your weight or just plan to eat clean. Wait up for that next week.

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