Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB) is promoting a “500 Calorie” meal of a different kind, which sees at least some 700 food outlets and stalls island wide serving 500 calorie meals, as part of its Healthier Dining Programme.

This is part of its Food Strategy to help change Singaporean’s diet when they dine out and eat at home. Through the Healthier Dining Programme, people would have more healthier food choices whether they dine out at Restaurants, Food Courts or Caterers.

Frankly, I am no calorie-counter and my sense is many Singaporeans do not count calories as well. We just eat lah! Many really don’t bother, do we?

But I would say at least this move is a positive one, as many of these outlets and stalls are also committed to using healthier ingredients such as healthier oils and whole grains.

HPB’s rationale for doing so?

The National Nutrition Survey 2010 showed that many Singaporeans are consuming more calories than needed. 60% of Singaporeans exceed their recommended daily calorie intake – about 2,600 for men and about 2,000 for women – by an average of 200 calories.

An eat-out meal here is about 700 – 800 calories on average. So a 500-calorie meal would be just nice to help us meet these requirements.

Know not what to have for your meals? Here are some of our Favourite Foods In Singapore which are about 500 calorie.

– Turkey Breast Salad with honey mustard dressing (from Subway) – 138 kcal
– Chicken Porridge – 181 kcal
– Fish Porridge – 211 kcal
– Prawn Noodle Soup – 294 kcal
– Yong Tau Foo with Mixed Items (noodles not included) – 297 kcal
– Beef Noodle Soup – 299 kcal
– Sandwich (e.g. Subway Club with honey mustard sauce from Subway) – 328 kcal
– Chicken and mushroom noodle soup – 346 kcal
– Fish Slice Beehoon soup – 349 kcal
– Beehoon soto – 359 kcal
– Fried beehoon – 369 kcal
– Fish ball noodle soup – 370 kcal
– Fish ball mee pok – 372 kcal
– Earthern bowl rice with chicken & mushroom (from Soup Restaurant) – 387 kcal
– Wanton Noodles – 411 kcal
– Claypot Rice with mixed vegetable – 419 kcal
– Ipoh Hor Fun – 453 kcal
– 3 Veg + Rice – 460 kcal
– Chicken Chop, with small mashed potato and salad – 470 kcal
– Beef sandwich with cheese, roasted – 473 kcal
– Ban Mian – 475 kcal
– Soya Sauce Chicken Noodles – 478 kcal
– Pork Chop, pan-fried with small mashed potato and salad – 500 kcal

Good news! Some restaurant chains and fast service restaurants are already offering healthier food options: Fish & Co. with 11 choices of 500-calorie meals (and they are priced about 40 per cent cheaper), Loving Hut introduced 15 varieties of 500-calorie dishes, and Soup Restaurant has created new healthy dishes such as the Earthen Bowl Steamed Rice with Chicken and Samsui Ginger Sauce which is less than 500 calories.

Also, many Singaporeans are drinking 2 or more sweetened drinks a day (I am sometimes guilty of this). These sweetened beverages can add more than 200 to the daily calorie intake. Empty calories yah?

We just need to make healthier choices, such as choose a lower-calorie meal, cutting down on gravies/sauces, ordering soup-based dishes and choosing dishes with healthier ingredients.

Calorie in, calorie out. Of course this should be done with a combination of healthier eating and increased physical activity.

These are different physical activities to burn off 500 calories. (Based on a person weighing about 70 kg)
– Bootcamp (52 min)
– Boxing (49 min)
– Cycling outdoor (56 min)
– Cycling spinning class (39 min)
– Jogging moderate pace (40 min)
– Pilates (113 min)
– Strength training with rest (82 min)
– Swimming laps (53 min)
– Waking moderate pace (80 min)
– Yoga (158 min)
– Zumba (50 min)

Of course we should not be obsessed with (caloric) numbers. And other important factors include the nutritional value of the food, and the amount of physical activity we do.

One thing for sure, many of these participating outlets are going to emphasize on adding more vegetables. That is good news for all of us.

The next step for us is to reduce those 200 calories (or more) when we eat out. Doesn’t seem too difficult for a start – select 500 calorie meals, cut down on sugared drinks, or indulge in one of our favourite physical activity.

* This post is brought to you by the Health Promotion Board’s Healthier Dining Programme. For more information on The Healthier Dining Programme, check out



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