It can be very frustrating if eliminating the must-nots is all that matters in the plan. That would mean some patients will be left with nothing to eat but ampalaya! Recommending NUIU (pronounced “new you”) Life Cuisine, a local gourmet food service run by registered nutritionist-dieticians, cardiologist Dr. Joanna Manalo says that a diet plan begins with a review of a person’s lifestyle and activities, apart from the diagnosed medical conditions. Then, a menu is drawn up based on the person’s needs—how many calories, how to distribute them throughout the day, how much of each food group to eat, and how to prepare healthy food.
Of NUIU, the cardiologist says, “They help you to cut down on your calories. They distribute it to breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner—totaling about 1,200 calories per day. Dito mo mare-realize that you have to eat just enough. [And when you do, you notice that when you start to feel hungry again,] you look at the watch and see—oh, it’s time for my snack. Tamang-tama lang ang energy mo for the day. It’s enough energy every day. And [the help from NUIU is] good because you pick up some pointers and, when you dine out, you learn to choose what’s good for you.”
And what impresses this cardiologist the most is that, with the gourmet meals the food service delivers, it becomes obvious that healthy eating doesn’t mean bland food. It’s all in the preparation: a grilled chicken breast on a bed of greens is a healthy and delicious substitute to chicken fingers and French fries. Both meals have balanced amounts of protein and carbohydrates, but the former contains fewer calories from fat (not to mention more vitamins from the salad) and is thus the healthier option.
“The diet plan teaches you how to prepare the food and how much to eat throughout the day,” says Dr. Manalo, encouraging whole families to support the recovering patient to follow the recommended diet plan. “If you could just eat a healthy diet, you don’t need supplements. If you follow your diet plan, you can minimize the cost of healthcare by preventing future illness.”