Healthier food options to consider in Polytechnics
Some of these stalls cook with healthier oil or show the calorie count of its meals.
The past month or so have seen several holidays such as Chinese New Year, New Year and Christmas.
These festivities usually come with a great deal of eating and some of us may have put our healthy pursuits on pause during the celebrations.
While the holidays have come to an end, these eating habits might have stuck. Those with plans to get back on track might also be hindered by hectic schedules and long lunch queues in school.
One small step to get started could be to maintain one’s daily caloric intake. The average recommended daily caloric intake by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) is 2,200 calories for males and 1,800 calories for females. These values are based on an average weight and physical activity of the average male and female Singaporean.
To aid Polytechnic students to eat healthier in school, here is a list of stalls across various campuses that provide healthy food options such as lower calorie food or those cooked with healthier oil.
1. Republic Polytechnic (RP)
Students can consider patronising The Crowded Bowl, a salad stall, located at the Lawn Food Court.
Those who prefer a set amount of calories can consider the signature meal with a 250 calorie count at $3.50.
Otherwise, students can also create their own bowl where they can choose various ingredients and track the calorie counts.
Another option is the ban mian stall at the North Food Court. Its dishes, ranging from $3.30 to $4.50, use healthier oil.
According to HPB, healthier oils include oils endorsed with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) logo and other plant-based oils such as olive and sunflower oil containing 35 per cent or less saturated fats.
When you think of ayam penyet, ‘healthy’ might not be the word you’d associate it with. However, a closer look at the South Food Court’s Ayam Penyet stall would change your perspective.
The stall’s menu offers low calorie options such as fishball and meatball bee hoon soup. While it does not hold any Healthier Choice symbol, the calorie counts are still displayed. This stall is halal certified.
2. Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP)
NP students eating at the Munch can purchase from its western stall, which displays calorie counts for its meals.
Its grilled salmon, and spaghetti with grilled dory fish contain 250 and 500 calories respectively.
Over at the Makan Place is snack stall Pick and Bite. The stall uses healthier oil in its preparation of dishes.
Those craving for a quick snack can opt for its menu items including steamed buns, siew mai and chicken glutinous rice. Its menu items go as low as 80 cents and do not exceed $3.
Also located in the Makan Place is the Soul Salad. According to the stallholder, they use healthier oils including olive oil.
While calorie count isn’t shown, patrons can choose from the ingredients provided to create their own salad and keep track of what they consume.
3. Temasek Polytechnic (TP)
Those who find themselves at Bizpark Canteen can look out for this ban mian stall. Its sliced fish soup with rice goes for $3 with a 450 calorie count.
Patrons also have the option of replacing the white rice or noodles in the dishes with brown rice for an extra 40 cents.
The Circuit Canteen plays host to this Indonesian Cuisine stall, where one would find its menu dominated by ayam penyet options.
Despite this, the stall sells its bakso noodle soup at $2.50 which contains 500 calories. Much like the ban mian stall, patrons can also request to replace white rice with brown for an additional 40 cents.
Over at the Breadboard Canteen, the Noodle stall sells its dishes with lower calorie options.
Its Big Prawn Mee contains 450 calories, and its Seafood Soup contains 500 calories. With the Big Prawn Mee, patrons can choose to have a dry or soup option.
Where possible, patrons should try to ask for more greens alongside their low calorie dishes.
In line with HPB’s My Healthy Plate guide, the daily recommended protein intake amounts to two to three servings of protein daily. This can mean five medium-sized prawns weighing 90g, or two small blocks of soft beancurd at 170g.
4. Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)
This Nasi Padang stall in NYP’s Koufu uses healthier oil, but does not display its calorie count.
Here, patrons have a choice in assembling their dish and selecting which greens and meat goes onto their plate.
HPB recommends a daily intake of two servings of vegetables, where one meal contains one serving or half a plate. This can mean 100g of raw non-leafy vegetables, or one quarter of a 10-inch round plate of cooked vegetables.
Students can also consider requesting for less sauce.
Should the queue be too long, students can choose an alternative – another halal-certified Nasi Padang stall located in the North Canteen. However, this stall displays its calorie counts but does not use healthier oil.
On the other end of campus, in the South Canteen, a ban mian stall displays its calorie counts for its ban mian soup (500 calories), sliced fish bee hoon (450 calories) and dumpling noodles (500 calories).
5. Singapore Polytechnic (SP)
SP’s Food Court 6 plays host to Canopy Greens, where students can purchase salad bowls. It has a low calorie bowl that costs $2.50 with a 200 calorie count. It also uses healthier oil.
Those feeling snacky can opt for the dim sum stall at Food Court 4. Aside from selling drinks, it sells finger foods cooked using healthier oil. These include its egg tart, siew mai and teochew rice kueh. The stall’s menu items do not exceed $3.
At Food Court 2, the ban mian and rice stall has two menu items – ban mian and tom yam seafood ban mian – at 475 calories that cost $2.90 and $3.50 respectively. The stall also cooks with healthier oil.
Editor’s Note: For stalls without the Healthier Choice Symbol, any display of calorie counts is likely the effort of the food court operators or schools instead of HPB’s. This could mean having possible differences in the calorie count calculation.