New eating habitsThinking of a new year’s resolution? We suggest “healthy eating” as you welcome another year in your life.

If you are an office worker, stay-at-home parent, or someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle, these are five principles of healthy eating you should keep in mind:


  1. Eat a complete meal always.

 Filipinos typically eat rice and their vegetable and/or meat viands together, leaving out fruits for dessert. Not the best way, according to Dr. Romulo De Villa, a biochemist and molecular and nutritional oncologist. 

All meals must contain fruits, vegetables, protein foods, and starchy carbohydrate foods so the body can efficiently process them. Carbohydrates need the fiber of fruits and vegetables to regulate glucose absorption released from their digestion. Protein foods, meanwhile, need carbohydrates to spare them from being used for energy by the body, De Villa explains.


  1. Eat food in the proper sequence.

Eat fruits first, vegetables second, and protein and carbohydrates last.

The fiber in fruits and vegetables facilitates better digestion and easily satiates. If you eat rice first, the blood sugar will surge quickly prompting the release of more insulin. The release of insulin, which makes the sugar in the blood go to the body cells, makes the blood sugar drop rapidly causing you to feel hungry already after only 2-3 hours of eating. “What you eat first you eat more, what you eat last you eat less,” he stresses.


  1. Eat a balanced amount of each food group in every meal.

Aim for a healthy plate where the ratio of fruits, cooked vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates is 2:3:2:1. Rice or any other carbohydrates, he said, must only be equal to the amount that would fill your close-cupped hand and NOT as big as the size of your fist. Fruits and vegetables ideally should occupy a bigger space of the plate.


  1. Go for healthy choices.

Know your food sources. The less pesticide they contain, the better. Reduce, if not completely avoid, your intake of processed foods which are full of toxins and chemicals that may increase your risk of developing many degenerative diseases such as diabetes and cancer.


  1. Observe proper timing in eating.

Meals should be 5 hours apart; shorter than that and you will tend to overeat, longer will make you too hungry. Eat slowly. It takes your brain 20 minutes to realize you are satiated.



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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute