How To Save Money While Eating Healthy in Malaysia

Malaysia is internationally renowned as one of the top countries in the world for its thriving food culture. There’s always a good chicken rice stall around the corner, or a nasi lemak just 2 blocks away, or a mamak offering the tastiest roti canai in the neighbourhood. People travel all the way to Bangsar just for the infamous banana leaf rice at Nirvana’s, or to Klang for the glorified Klang bak kut teh. However, Malaysian cuisine isn’t as healthy as it seems. In addition, organic meals in restaurants costs a bomb – and while they’re generally healthy, they’re not exactly wallet-friendly.

Wendy Wong, a certified dietician who runs the health-conscious chain Salad Atelier across the Klang Valley, shares 3 easy tips on how to access healthy meal alternatives without burning a hole in your wallet.

1. Substitute Imported Produce With Local Goods


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The next time you go grocery shopping, try to shop for local produce that contain similar nutritional values as an imported produce. Take avocados, for instance. Avocados are brimming with monounsaturated fats (MUFA), also known as healthy fats. Wendy says that we can easily acquire MUFA from almonds, olive oil, canola oil or dark chocolate. Avocados are rich in Vitamin C, which you can also receive from 2 slices of papaya.

“Apples and guavas (with the skin) are rich in fiber,” Wendy says. “These are local fruits that are much cheaper than imported ones. And if you’re worried about the wax on the skin, soak the fruit in hot water for about 1 minute, then scratch off the wax with the back of a knife.”

2. Stop Shopping For Junk Food

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Fried peanuts, chips, popcorn… we’re all guilty of that sometimes. But these non-nutritional snacks are chipping away at our budget too. Instead of splurging on unhealthy foods, swap for healthier alternatives such as nuts (not fried or heavily salted), berries and vegetable chips. And before you protest, no, potato chips are not vegetable chips.

3. Eating Healthy Starts At Home

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As working adults ourselves, we understand the chore of hunting for cheap and healthy dishes during lunch breaks. It’s always easier to settle for nasi goreng at the nearby hawker stall, instead of shelling out RM 20 for an organic platter. But in doing this, we limit ourselves to greasy meals that do us more harm than good.

So start preparing your own meals in advance. Wendy suggests packing protein into your breakfasts, such as wholemeal bread topped with scrambled eggs, or oats and milk or honey-drizzled yoghurt with berries and nuts. If you have a little more time to spare, prepare tortilla wraps with chicken filets, eggs and canned sweet corn. These homemade meals don’t cost too much.

Cooking at home is always better than eating out anyway, because you can control the amount of salt, sugar and other ingredients that you add into your meals. At restaurants, you’re at the mercy of the chefs.

Salad Atelier Promotion

Kaodim is partnering with Salad Atelier to promote a fitter and healthier lifestyle. Pop into Salad Atelier to get 25% off your total bill! Check this out for more information.

If its too troublesome to prepare your own healthy meals, maybe caterers on Kaodim can help you out.

written by Carissa Gan