How Much Can You Save By Eating Healthy In Malaysia?
“Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.”
– Anne Wilson Schaef, Psychotherapist
There are mainly two reasons why Malaysians are giving a pass to healthy choices when it comes to food.
Rising cost of living and lack of time.
Rising costs includes costlier food especially in KL where food tend to be notoriously overpriced. This is more so if you are opting for healthy food. To illustrate:
Evidently, the budget-conscious will reach for the cheaper and often, unhealthy food. While Malaysian delicacies are undoubtedly delicious, they can wreak havoc to your health if eaten daily. An average plate of Nasi Lemak has 400 calories and 58g of carbs while a serving of avocado on toast has 186 calories and 24g of carbs.
Work-life imbalance, where more Malaysians are spending more hours at work (often in an office chair) results in a sedentary lifestyle.
According to the Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality 2018 survey, 91.7% do not eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains and 16.6% of the employees surveyed are obese. Work stress and binge eating are said to have contributed to the poor health of Malaysians.
It’s time to make a change!
Eating healthy does not have to be expensive.
We have done the research, put most of the tips and tricks below into practise, gained from them and now, we would like to share it with you. LET’S GO!
Start planning your meals
For working adults, weekly planning saves time and money since work days often eat into the evening and cooking an elaborate meal 5am in the morning is not an alluring option. Planning includes the steps below:
- Plan and write down your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week.
- List down the wet and dry groceries you need to buy for the week. Buying dry groceries in bulks and wet groceries in the local market will make your wallet happy. This list is crucial to make sure you don’t end up buying more than you need and overspend.
- Pre-cook your meals whenever possible. You can sort your snacks into food containers, freeze your fruits, cook and refrigerate your stew, soup or curry.
These will also greatly reduce the daily frustration you face in the kitchen to make dinner. With organisation, you will be well-equipped for the week ahead and won’t give in to a double cheeseburger.
Make your own version
I will let the numbers do the talking to show you much money you can save by making your own breakfast (which take about 5 mins of your morning if you cut and freeze the fruits during meal prep), lunch, tea-time snack and dinner.
Breakfast: Smoothie drink
Lunch: Rice, stir-fried chicken, and blanched broccoli
Tea-time snack: Green tea & apple slices
Dinner: Tomato soup
So, in a day comprising 3 main meals and 1 snack, this is how much you will spend if you:
If you prepare your meals and opt for healthy options, you will be saving:
RM24.40 per day,
RM170.80 per week,
RM683.20 per month,
RM8,198.40 per year!
*calculations were done for one portion using average price in several restaurants, cafes and online grocery stores in Klang Valley.
10 Tips to eat healthy while on a budget
You do not have to give up healthy food to save money or spend a hefty amount every day to eat better. It all comes down to planning and watching the pennies. Here are simple tips that you can try: