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Healthier Ways to Enjoy Eating our National Favourites

[fa icon="calendar"] Aug 6, 2020 10:13:45 AM / by Strada Visual Lab

With National Day just around the corner, many Singaporeans find different ways to commemorate our nation’s independence. Some of you might display the Singapore flag at your window or gate, while others may gather with family members to watch the National Day Parade.

This year’s National Day celebrations will be vastly different from previous ones, but the one Singaporean hobby that will remain the same is enjoying good food! So, why not celebrate the nation’s birthday by enjoying these favourite local dishes, and doing it healthily too?

Before diving into a day’s worth of meals, be sure to check what your recommended calorie intake for a day is!

Note: All calories indicated are based on MyFitnessPal.


kaya toast set


A Singaporean Breakfast The Healthier Version

Kaya toast

(2 slices of bread, kaya, butter)

318 calories


2 soft-boiled eggs

156 calories


Kopi/Teh with 1 tbsp condensed milk

130 calories



604 calories


Kaya toast

(2 slices of bread, kaya, butter)

Half-portion: 159 calories


2 soft-boiled eggs

156 calories


Kopi-O kosong/Teh-O kosong

0 calories



315 calories

(289 fewer calories)


There’s nothing like a warm, hearty breakfast to get your day started! Many local coffee shops sell kaya toast served warm and toasted on the spot. This dish is usually offered together as a set meal with soft-boiled eggs and a drink. While this meal certainly hits the spot, by the time you’re done, you’d also have used up a significant chunk of your daily recommended calorie intake.

This meal is high in carbohydrates, which provides an immediate source of energy if you have a physically demanding job. However, if your job requires you to spend more time seated at a desk, here are some ways you can reduce the number of calories, and still enjoy your favourite kaya toast.


The Healthier Option

If consuming the entire set meal is too much and you end up feeling like you are on the way to food-coma-land, reducing the consumed portion would definitely help! As the kaya toast is often served sliced into two smaller sandwiches, consider sharing the toast with someone else, or saving it for later.

Opt for a healthier drink, such as kopi or teh kosong (no sugar) or siu dai (less sugar). A single teaspoon of sugar contains about 23 calories, while brewed coffee or tea without any additional condiments typically contain 0 to 1 calorie.


nday food_kopi


If you prefer having your caffeine with a little milk, opt for evaporated milk instead of condensed milk. Compared to condensed milk (130 calories), 1 tablespoon of evaporated milk is worth 22 calories.

Fun fact: Glico, the company that manufactures popular biscuit sticks Pocky, collaborated with local franchise Ya Kun to release two Singapore-exclusive flavours in 2019 to celebrate our 54th National Day: Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Ya Kun Kopi.



nday food_chicken rice 1


A Singaporean Lunch The Healthier Version

Chicken Rice

(roasted chicken thigh)




618 calories


Chicken Rice

(steamed chicken breast,

skin removed;

¾ portion rice; bean sprouts)


510 calories

(108 fewer calories)


Ah, chicken rice. We could argue till the cows come home about whether this is a Singaporean dish or not. Regardless of its origin, many Singaporeans enjoy a good plate of chicken rice. Be it roasted with a marinade or steamed and sprinkled with light soy sauce, few other dishes are as satisfying as a plate of chicken rice done right.

As a dish by itself, chicken rice is heavy on the carbs, protein and fat, while notably lacking in vegetables (no, those few strips of cucumber don’t count). The rice is first fried with ginger, shallots and garlic before it is steamed in chicken broth. While this gives the rice its delicious taste and fragrant aroma, it also adds calories compared to a plain bowl of white rice.


The Healthier Option

Consider ordering chicken rice with less rice to reduce your carbohydrate intake. This is especially important because if the carbs you consume are not immediately burned and used, these will eventually be converted to fat stored in the body.

Next, switch the roasted chicken for a healthier alternative like steamed chicken breast. If you don’t fancy eating the chicken plain, enjoy it with some light soy sauce or chilli sauce and minced ginger.

nday food_chicken rice 2


Finally, get some veggies in! Many chicken rice stalls offer a set meal that includes a side of vegetables such as bean sprouts. Bean sprouts are a good source of potassium and Vitamin K, and are an excellent source of fibre too.



nday food_mee goreng


A Singaporean Dinner The Healthier Version

Mee goreng

500 calories


Mee hoon goreng

294 calories

(206 fewer calories)


You’ve had bread, you’ve had rice, and now you feel like having something different for dinner. Among the many dinner options, you’ve decided on mee goreng out of pure indulgence. Mee goreng, if prepared right, has just the right amount of wok hei without being too greasy, and can be spicy or non-spicy depending on your preference.

Mee goreng is heavy on the carbs and fat, so how can you make it healthier and yet allow it to remain an enjoyable indulgence?


The Healthier Option

As with many other fried dishes popular in Singapore, the first thing you request is for the hawker to use less oil in frying. Mee goreng also typically contains soft leafy vegetables such as cabbage as well as bean sprouts. Ask for more of these vegetables to fulfil your vegetable quota for the meal. Lastly, you can also switch to bee hoon (rice vermicelli) which are lower in calories compared to yellow noodles.

Original total calories: 1722 calories 😱

Reduced calories: 1119 calories 🤩


And there you have it! By simply switching a few things in each meal, you would have managed to reduce your calorie intake by about 600 calories in a single day! (That’s an entire kaya toast set meal all over again, too.) The best part is- you don’t have to do this only on National Day.

Happy 55th Birthday, Singapore!


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Topics: Wellness

Strada Visual Lab

Written by Strada Visual Lab

Strada is a creative agency that specialises in content production and marketing services. Our data and results-driven team of designers, writers and developers focus on building brands by having a 360 approach, from conception to production.

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