Maintaining a healthy body requires a balanced diet. This is basic knowledge, but most people forget. A balanced diet helps you combat the risk of diseases. When someone subscribes to a rather unhealthy diet, it will not be not enough to sustain a healthy body.
Even the idea of being healthy is sometimes misunderstood. In this day and age, many people think that eating healthy means eating bland and flavorless dishes. This is not true at all. In fact, you can enjoy different healthy recipes that are deliciously affordable.
To help you make healthy food choices, we’ve collated six healthy Filipino dishes that you should include in your diet:
Laing (Spicy taro leaves)
A popular dish all over the Philippines but has its origins from the province of Bicol, this healthy spicy dish is the perfect combination of gabi leaves and creamy coconut milk. You can add protein into it – fried or steamed with the dish – pork, chicken, even beef. You can also add fish, if that’s what you prefer. The dish is rich in vitamins A and C and iron as well.
Although gabi leaves can be hard to source, you can dry them in your own home, provided you have the gabi plants in your backyard. If not, you can find dried gabi leaves in Filipino specialty stores.
Tinolang Manok (Chicken with Veggies in Clear Broth)
Tinolang manok, or chicken in clear broth, is the perfect dish for rainy days, or when you are feeling under the weather. It’s also a good choice of meal for a healthy diet. The sayote or chayote found in this dish contains folate, which is essential for the production of red blood cells. Not to mention the amount of protein that one can get from the main ingredient: the chicken.
If you’re keen, you can also add green, leafy vegetables into the dish. A combination of young sili (chilli) leaves, malunggay (horseradish) flowers and leaves, and lettuce means you get chock full of B-vitamins.
Malunggay Dish (Horse Radish Leaves In Many Ways)
Declared as the Philippines’ national vegetable, this versatile plant can be prepared in many different ways. Malunggay is usually included in your typical soup dishes such as tinola (mentioned above). But, its leaves could also be dried and be included in any dish that you like. This “miracle vegetable” is rich in nutrients and vitamins such as B vitamins, vitamin C, iron and magnesium.
Ensaladang Talong (Eggplant Salad)
Ensaladang talong or eggplant salad is a perfect mix of cooked eggplants, raw tomatoes and your choice of condiments or vinaigrette. A perfect side dish for grilled meat, the eggplant is usually grilled, peeled then mashed with soy sauce and kalamansi (Philippine lemon). But, more than just being a side dish, this dish is also loaded with essential nutrients such as B vitamins, manganese, vitamin C and lycopene.
Sinigang na Isda (Fish in Sour Broth)
The perfect balance of sour, salty and spicy flavors is one of the major features of any sinigang dish. You get protein from the fish, which is essential for muscle repair and development, but the fish in sinigang also provides omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for the heart. Not only that, but the kangkong also mixed in the dish provides your body with vitamin A and C.
You can even substitute the fish with other types of proteins like chicken, pork, and beef. You can also use prawns as the main ingredient. This sour broth is a favorite among Filipinos and you can find many versions of it across the country.
Ginisang Monggo (Sauteed Mung Beans)
You can never go wrong with ginisang monggo, or sauteed mung beans. It’s packed with nutrients essential for a better body function. These nutrients include folate, iron, thiamine, phosphorus and manganese. The best part about this dish is that it’s affordable and anyone can make it at home. The basic ingredients are mung beans, garlic, onions, and a kind of green leafy vegetable and you’re all set. You can spice it up with meats, other vegetables like eggplant, okra, etc.