8 Smart Hawker Food Swops For Those on a Diet

On a diet? There’s no need to completely give up on hawker food entirely. Make some smart swops with these lower-calorie alternatives.

 8 Smart Hawker Food Swaps For Those on a Diet

Photo: SPH

Keeping in mind that a McSpicy burger is 528 calories, hawker dishes like seafood fried rice (907 cal) and char kway teow (744 cal) give a bad rap to all the other hawker dishes out there.

Many people think you need to stay away from hawker foods to lose weight. But nope, there’s quite a number of hawker foods that you can eat without worrying about your diet.


We picked hawker dishes that range from around 300 – 450 calories each, perfect for women who intend to go on a healthy diet of 1,000 – 1,200 calories a day to lose weight.

Find out which hawker delights you should be eating or avoiding.

Instead of a kaya toast set: Char siew pau and tea without sugar

char siew pau

Photo: SPH

A typical kaya toast set at Ya Kun piles on 448 calories. Switch that up with a char siew pau (160 cal) and teh c kosong (26 cal) to shave off 272 calories.

But know that not all paus are equal. Stay away from pork paus as they carry a hefty 301 calories a piece.

Instead of mee goreng: Fried beehoon

bee hoon

Photo: SPH

Mee goreng is such a great comfort food, with starchy spicy noodles, sliced fish cake, and the occasional bit of stir-fried green for small bursts of freshness. It’s maybe only marginally better than instant noodles and packs 613 calories.

Plain fried beehoon is just 294 calories, and if you throw in a fried chicken wing (163 cal), it’s a total of 457, saving you 157 calories.


Instead of fishball noodle soup: Dry fishball noodles

dry fishball noodles

Photo: SPH

Surprisingly, dry fishball noodles (474 cal) have less calories than when served in soup (523 calories). It’s good news for those who prefer their noodles dry as they can save on about 50 calories easily this way.

Ask for no lard if you wanna trim down on the fat and calories even more.

Instead of prata: Thosai

paper thosai

Photo: SPH

Prata looks innocent. It’s so flat and thin you’d almost think it’d have approximately the same number of calories as buttered toast, but no. One serving of prata is 164 calories. Got a plain one and an egg prata? It’s 481 calories, and that’s not even including the curry.

A better option is prata’s cousin, thosai (97 cal). It has a crepe-like consistency and is great with some coconut chutney (86 cal). If you think it’s not filling enough, get the masala thosai (362 cal) which is stuffed with potatoes. This way you save around 119 – 298 calories.


Instead of fried spring rolls: Popiah


Photo: The Peak

Make a popiah (187 cal) your mid-afternoon snack instead of fried spring rolls which are super addictive and calorie-laden (396 cal per serving of two).

Your body will be thanking you for the 209 calories saved.

Instead of economy rice: Porridge


Photo: SPH

Sure, economy rice is great for dieting, especially if you order two vegetables and one stir-fried meat. But we found that you can slash the calories even more with some wholesome porridge.

Porridge usually ranges from 200 – 400 calories per bowl. Chicken porridge is 181 calories while pork and peanuts porridge has 398 calories.

It’s really filling too, but if you think you’d still be hungry, try getting plain porridge with a half a serving of you tiao (142 cal). It’s only 323 calories.

This food swap saves you roughly around 257 – 399 calories.

Instead of western fare: Meaty soups

bak kut teh

Photo: SPH

Hankering for chicken cutlet or pork chop at your closest western food stall?

Get chicken, mutton, or duck soup (all under 390 cal), or maybe some bak kut teh (323 cal). It may not hit the spot 100 per cent, especially if you’re craving for grilled or roasted meats, but it’s a good compromise for those on a diet.

Instead of chendol or ice kachang: Ice grass jelly

ice grass jelly

Photo: SPH

We’re sure you’re not surprised to hear that traditional desserts like chendol (386 cal) and ice kachang (256 cal) are full of empty calories that make you gain weight faster.

Well, it’s hard to avoid them completely especially when the craving hits, but swap them out with ice grass jelly (121 cal) or ice jelly cocktail (152 cal) to cut back on around 104 – 264 calories.

A version of this article first appeared on www.herworld.com.

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