As the popularity of the Keto Diet – a low-carb, high-fat approach to eating – continues to rise, I know how challenging it can be to maintain this lifestyle amidst Singapore's tantalizing food delights. Chicken rice anyone?
Ban mian or nasi lemak? Maybe even ice-cream? I love them all.
Sadly, these foods contain many carbs, meaning that our favourite staple foods can be off-limits. As I learned the hard way, it can be difficult to stick to a keto diet. I gave up on my keto goals a few times.
How can we still conquer the keto life while enjoying the food delights of our Lion City? In this blog post we’ll explore how!
Photo by W0W® Noodle.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet that may be familiar to most of us is based on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat approach. There are several types of keto diets .
The keto diet forces the body to enter a metabolic state of ketosis, leading to a shift in energy production. This happens when the body burns stored fat for energy instead of glucose, ultimately contributing to weight loss and other health benefits.
To achieve this, the keto diet emphasizes keeping net carbohydrates (carbohydrates minus fibre) to 50g or less per day.
The Healthy Ketogenic diet, developed by Dr Lim Su Lin , chief dietitian at the National University Hospital (NUH), has been the key to many keto diet success stories in Singapore.
Image Credit: The Straits Times
How to Start a Keto Diet in Singapore
From hawker centres to high-end restaurants, navigating Singapore’s diverse local food scene can be challenging for those of us on a keto diet.
However, as a result of keto diets becoming more popular in Singapore, there has been a rise in the availability of keto-friendly ingredients and dishes across the city, catering to the growing demands of health-conscious individuals .
Sticking to a keto diet while enjoying Singapore's local hawker food is possible with the right choices. Opt for no-rice portions of roast meat, indulge in curry without bread or rice, and choose leafy green vegetables, carrots, eggplant, and mushrooms in your yong tau foo while avoiding tofu and fried items.
Enjoy bak kut teh, fish soup without rice, mala xiang guo with vegetables and meats, and satay without ketupat. When eating mixed rice, avoid dishes with carbs, and opt for proteins and vegetable sides like spinach and pumpkin.
And you don't have to go chasing the best debit cards to save enough money for your keto meals too.
There are also several supermarkets in Singapore that offer a range of keto-friendly ingredients. NTUC FairPrice for example, has a dedicated section called "Carbs for Keto" that offers various products, including low-carb cereals and snacks. If you need to know how many carbs to eat on a keto diet and have medical conditions, check with a healthcare provider for guidance if you are unsure.
When on a keto diet, it is essential to ensure you have sufficient nutrients, such as vitamin B. You may need a dietary supplement if necessary .
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
Tips for staying on a Keto diet
Partaking in a keto diet plan, like the one suggested by Dr Lim Su Lin, is a great place to start as it is carefully curated to provide the right amount of balanced nutrients. Here are some tips that helped me as I tackled my keto journey:
1. Experiment with new recipes, like those featuring W0W® Noodle. Unlike other noodles, W0W® Noodle contains zero starch. W0W® Noodle is also high in protein and fibre, keeping you fuller for longer. Not only that, W0W® Noodle is easy to prepare and can be eaten straight from the packet after a simple rinse. Order your W0W® Noodle here.
2. Plan ahead: Plan your meals and snacks in advance to ensure your supermarket trips are efficient and that you have readily available keto-friendly options in your fridge and home pantry.
3. Read food labels: Be sure to read the nutrition labels on food products to ensure they are low in carbohydrates and fat.
4. Stock up on healthy fats: Keep healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds on hand to snack on and to keep you feeling full.
5. Avoid temptations: Avoid foods that are high in carbs, such as bread, pasta, and sugary snacks. W0W® Noodle is a great way to enjoy staple food as it contains zero starch.
6. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins and keep your body hydrated.
7. Find support: Team up with a buddy who is also following a keto diet to keep you motivated and accountable for your goals.
8. Be patient: Remember that it takes time for your body to adjust to a new way of eating. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way.
9. Exercise regularly: Incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine to improve your overall health and support your weight loss goals.
10. Donate to a charity (Care Corner is a great one!) each time you fall off the keto diet: Of course, there's the beauty of putting money on the line, and donating each time you fail. As humans, we are loss-averse. This means that communicating our goal with our family members, and telling them to donate your money each time they catch you eating a non-keto food, can keep you on track for longer. We can't do goals alone. Doing it together makes it easier.
Photo by W0W® Noodle
We’ve reviewed some tips for navigating a keto diet in Singapore, including making smart choices at local hawker stalls, exploring supermarkets while shopping and being mindful of hidden carbs.
As I’ve found, it is possible to embrace the keto lifestyle and still enjoy the exciting flavours of our Lion City without compromising your health goals. With a little creativity and determination, you can fully experience the culinary delights of Singapore while staying committed to your keto journey. Happy Keto-ing!
Note: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice or a substitute for professional guidance. Before starting a keto diet or making any significant changes to your current eating habits, it is strongly recommended that you consult a healthcare professional to ensure that the diet is suitable for your individual needs and health conditions.
 NUH's healthy keto diet leads to weight loss without increasing bad cholesterol levels. The Straits Times. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/nuh-s-healthy-keto-diet-leads-to-weight-loss-without-increasing-bad-cholesterol-levels?close=true
 An Overview of the Ketogenic Diet. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101#diet-types
 askST: Why is the keto diet popular for weight loss? Is it safe? The Straits Times. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/askst-what-is-the-keto-diet-and-is-it-safe-to-follow
 Keto Diet for Weight Loss: Is It Good for You?. HealthXchange. Retrieved from https://www.healthxchange.sg/food-nutrition/weight-management/keto-diet-weight-loss-is-it-good-for-you