Caption: Mdm Tan now cooks healthy meals and enjoys sharing healthy eating tips with her daughters
“I find the talks useful. I Now I know what makes a healthy plate. The vegetable portion should fill half my plate and the remaining portions can be my protein and carbohydrates. I also learnt how to choose healthier options like eating more vegetables and having only a small portion of white rice."
…Mdm Winnie Tan, a member of the Health Support Group
Mdm Winne Tan has a soft spot for bubble tea, chocolates and cakes. But after attending the Make it Siew Dai Programme, jointly organised by TOUCH Community Services, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, she makes an effort to avoid sweet food, and when she does indulge, she eats only a small amount.
“If I see my friends drinking bubble tea, I will try my best to tell them not to drink too much. It’s hard to tell them to stop the habit suddenly. I try to be patient when advising them,” said Mdm Tan.
Together with some 20 Ang Mo Kio residents, the 65-year-old retiree spent five two-hour sessions with health coaches from Tan Tock Seng Hospital at TOUCHpoint@AMK 433 in May and June 2023, learning practical tips on how to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. The topics covered included clearing common food misconceptions, understanding what it means to have a healthy diet and learning to do simple daily exercises.
Caption: Occupational therapist from Tan Tock Seng Hospital conducting a Make it Siew Dai session for Ang Mo Kio residents at TOUCHpoint@AMK 433
Caption: Residents learning about diabetes prevention and healthier food choices
Working in small groups, participants shared with one another about their experiences and how they intend to apply what they have learnt into their daily lives.
“I find the talks useful. I Now I know what makes a healthy plate. The vegetable portion should fill half my plate and the remaining portions can be my protein and carbohydrates. I also learnt how to choose healthier options like eating more vegetables and having only a small portion of white rice,” added Mdm Tan.
To help residents sustain good lifestyle habits in their journey towards healthy living, the Health Support Group was also formed by TOUCHpoint@AMK 433 to provide more opportunities for mutual support. A 10-session nutrition workshop by TOUCH Diabetes Support and a six-month “Shape Up” exercise programme designed by TOUCH Day Rehabilitation Centre have also been organised to include other residents from TOUCHpoint@AMK 433.
Going beyond knowledge
The learning journey culminated in a supermarket outing held in September 2023 for seven residents from the Health Support Group. Armed with what they have learnt, their goal was to shop for healthier groceries by reading and comparing nutrition labels on bread, milk and dairy products, snacks and drinks.
Caption: Mdm Foo (first from left) enjoying a learning session with Ang Mo Kio residents and TOUCH staff at a supermarket
“Not many of us are aware that some drink labels that read “Less Sugar” do have a lot of sugar. We need to know how to study the ingredients to find out what those claims are and to make the correct decisions. We can choose other better alternatives,” said Mdm Rosalind Foo, 70.
The session ended with a lively discussion by the various small groups on their choice of healthier food options and how they came to that decision.
“The supermarket outing was enjoyable. I look forward to more of such opportunities to learn about other kinds of food. I find the Health Support Group useful as we can learn from others what they are going through and the things they crave for, and how we can support one another to eat healthily,” added Mdm Foo.
Moving forward, the Health Support Group intends to run more interactive sessions to foster closer bonding, as well as to refresh residents’ knowledge about diabetes prevention and healthy living.
Story published in 2023