I admit, I’m one of those who scours through the internet for health tips and videos on exercising, bookmarks them and eventually forgets that drive to stay healthy as it slowly dissipates away. Yes, I’m one of those.
Adding the fact that I’m possibly one of the pickiest eaters out there just makes my dream of being healthy even harder.
In my eyes, salads are boring. They make me feel like I’m a herbivorous animal that munches lettuce for the sake of consuming things that will benefit me. Like everything in my life, I prefer more colour, more variety and more than just plain leaves sprinkled with a little dressing.
So for those struggling to live that healthy life because of your hate for salads, here are some healthier alternatives to kick start that cleaner diet.
1) Smoothie Bowls
The picturesque appeal was probably what made this trend such a hit at the beginning of last year, but the smoothie bowl has been a staple food item for health enthusiasts. The components inside are similar to those you would put in a regular smoothie such as fruits packed with natural vitamins and various nuts.
Smoothie bowls are great alternatives in case you find drinking smoothies to be a little dull because you can always spice it up with your favourite ingredients that are not only delicious but colourful as well.
A few places with well-known smoothie bowls are Rubberduck in Plaza Damas, which happens to be one of the first stores to bring the smoothie bowl trend to Malaysia and Ola Bowls in Pavilion.
Let’s face it—it’s close to impossible to avoid eating rice in Malaysia where many of our local dishes have rice as their base. However, there are many variations of grains that can be substituted to keep the delicious flavours of the recipe while still having the ‘rice’ element in it.
Quinoa is one popular alternative as it is high in fibre and can help digestion. There are many ways to incorporate quinoa in the usual meals that we are accustomed to; so variety won’t be an issue.
The Culinary Capers has a unique dish up for delivery from their kitchen which is a healthier alternative to ‘Nasi Lemak’ whereby instead of using the regular rice, they switch it up with brown rice mixed with quinoa instead; and it is one of their best-selling dishes.
Ashley’s By Living Food has also made an interesting twist with quinoa where they’ve created sushi with it, and it is a hit with their customers. Sushi lovers would appreciate the fusion of a traditional Japanese cuisine with a healthier option.
3) Poke Bowls
No, this is not related to Pokémon. Poke, derived from a Hawaiian term, means ‘to slice or cut’. So the ingredients in a bowl are usually sliced into thin slices or chunks and usually what you’d find in one is raw ahi tuna, tossed with green and white onions, sesame oil and soy sauce which are known as the Hawaiian-style poke.
This is a great option for those looking for something fast and fresh with ingredients that won’t leave you feeling bloated. It’s a rice bowl for sashimi and salad devotees but with a variety of ways to create one.
There are two popular shops in Kuala Lumpur specialising in making Poke Bowls, The Fish Bowl and Poke Bowl Rice @ Puchong. However, with poke being a current growing trend, we can expect more stores to add this dish to their menu.
4) Cold-Pressed Juices
As someone who prefers flavoured drinks rather than plain water, I’m always looking for other options besides fizzy drinks and cordial beverages. So, it’s safe to say cold-pressed juices are one of the better choices.
Not only are there the standard blended fruit options, but you can also opt for the green juices such as spinach, celery, and even kale. The fresh taste of a cold-pressed juice is always great to wake you up early in the morning and sometimes is filling enough to be downed for breakfast.
Some of the places known for their signature cold-pressed juices are La Juiceria MY, LifeJuice, and Press, Beyond Juice.
Yoghurt is a versatile food that you can use in many different ways. Whether you have it with just berries for some dessert or as a topping for your salad, the benefits of yoghurt are enough to make it a common feature for health enthusiasts when planning their meals.
The Banana Yoghurt Loaf by Jaslyn Cakes is a popular treat among Malaysians as it combines the delicious flavours of pure banana and natural yoghurt that makes it indulgent yet super healthy as well.
Granola is the next best thing to cereals. Made from rolled oats, nuts, honey (or other sweeteners such as brown sugar), and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until it is crisp, toasted and golden brown; it’s a great option for a quick breakfast or snack to have on the go.
Check out Amazin’ Graze, Signature Snacks, and The Kettlebowl for good home-made granolas to try out. Some of them even provide a subscription service for those who want to receive granola snacks monthly.
Having crisps or chips without a dip is like having cereal without milk. It feels a little bland and having an extra spice to a plain meal is always welcomed. Hummus is a great alternative to other sauces that are higher in calories.
Made from chickpeas, garlic, tahini and a few condiments for flavouring, hummus is good as a spread or a dip to be paired with a variety of dishes.
Hummus Co is known to make great homemade hummus that would be amazing coupled with a few salt and oil-free chips for a light snack to have in the middle of the day.
8) Natural Spread
Okay, raise your hands if you’re someone who enjoys having spread on toast. Whether it be peanut butter or strawberry jam, spreads on biscuits and bread is always something easy to do and if the right one is chosen, it can be super healthy as well.
Nuttylicious and Carvers Nut Butters have a great variety of spreads that are all natural and made with the best ingredients to ensure the nutrients are preserved. Mangolicious is another option as they make their own fresh mango jam that can be used as spreads or as a cooking ingredient.
There are many other ways to make sure your diet is healthy but also full of variety rather than restricting yourself to the traditional salad bowls that you’d get sick of seeing all the time. Your body will reward you just as equally.
But what if besides those health benefits, you got some other perks as well just by making the small change of switching up your diet? Say, the perks of getting some nights at a 5-star hotel to half priced deals for airline tickets?
That’s how AIA wants to help you with their new programme called AIA Vitality.
The way it goes is with every healthy choice you choose to make, you’ll be rewarded with some AIA Vitality Points which if you collect enough, your AIA Vitality Status ends up becoming higher which in return gives you better rewards.
Something as simple as going for a health screening to working out is enough to get you some points easily, and you can get up to 50% discount on Fitness First gym memberships and 50% off Marriot Hotel rooms and more.
And this all can be done by just filling up a form with your name and contact details.
So eat smart and live smart to get rewarded well!
Feature Image Credit: Compiled from yukikotan.com, eatdrinkkl.blogspot.com, pressjuice.com, pocketbook.io