My son’s food plate for Health class Steamed salmon, steamed broccoli, sautéed squash, mango and rice. / Photograph by pocholo concepcion for the Daily Tribune
My seventh-grade son’s Health class required him to submit a photo of a food plate with a meal based on the Filipino diet guide published on the website of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).
Food is always a topic of discussion in the house because my kid, like most of his peers at age 12, eats a lot of meat but not vegetables, and forgoes drinking water when glued to the screen playing computer games.
There are frustrating moments, especially when it feels like the kid refuses to listen to his father who’s been trying to stay healthy despite being hypertensive.
So when my wife asked me to review the DoST food guide and decide what meal she’ll prepare for my son’s assignment, I became curious. Reading the details enumerated in the guide, I found out that the government’s nutritionists are now persuading Filipinos to “choose whole grains like brown rice… whole wheat bread and oatmeal that contain more fiber and nutrients than refined grains and are linked to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.”
But, of course, that’s easier said than done. In the past several years, I’ve been buying red rice, sometimes brown, and harping about their health benefits.
My kid and even my wife insisted they prefer white rice. The kid, who loves pouring soup on his rice, said soup on red rice is unpalatable.
“There’s organic white rice,” the wife would say during grocery day, “okay yan, organic.”
Filipino diet guide has been published on the DoST website. / Photograph courtesy of parent24.com
So I gave up on imposing a no-white rice meal policy.
Poring over the food guide, it turned out that it’s not that difficult to make a balanced, healthy meal plan: Fish as the main dish but with sufficient veggies, one fruit and rice.
I listed down my suggested lunch meal: Daing na bangus, sautéed squash with spinach, a slice of fresh mango and a cup of rice.
But the wife made something else, saying she based it on what we bought from the supermarket: Steamed salmon, steamed broccoli, plus my suggested sautéed squash but with onion and ginger, and the mango and rice.
“Your son loved it,” said my wife.
But since we’re in the grip of a raging pandemic, I guess salmon is a pretty luxurious indulgence that I can’t afford on a regular basis.
But hey, there are other kinds of fish that are affordable. Good thing my son likes galunggong.
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