Metro Manila · Healthy Food
When living the fast-paced life of a Megacitizen, in a foreign country and with long work days, it is not always easy to keep your body and mind balanced and healthy. Often you might choose to just grab some snack from the nearest fast food restaurant during lunch, and perhaps get a microwave meal from 7-11 after work. But there are other options...
Supermarkets and Wet Markets
The Philippine supermarkets are – just like those in the Western hemisphere – fully stocked with supposedly healthy food designed by big food producers: fitness cereals, powdered milk, low-fat yoghurts, power muesli bars, food supplements for kids, etc.
We do not want to generalize here, but many of these products consist mainly of sugar and a bunch of chemicals your body does not really need. The fastest way to healthy eating is not buying expensive “health products”, but to ensure a somewhat varied diet and – as your (grand)mother already told you – to eat your vegetables and fruits. Although the hygienic standards in the supermarket are undeniably higher, doing the groceries on a Philippine wet market – a hall or open marketplace with stalls of vegetables and other food items – is an experience for all five senses and a must-try for a real Megacitizen.
When frying or grilling meat and fish at home – or when trying the famous Philippine street food – always make sure all pieces are really well done! There is a catchy traveller's phrase when going to the market or doing the groceries in a developing country like the Philippines: “Cook it, peel it, boil it or forget it.” While this is true in general, salad-lovers among the Megacitizens do not have to worry. Normally, you can eat fresh vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, cucumber, apples or pears even without “cooking, peeling or boiling” them - just wash these items thoroughly and with soap. Supermarkets also offer washed and prepackaged lettuce and salad mixes, which should not require further cleaning.
It is not advisable to drink the tap water anywhere in Metro Manila, and if you use it for cooking - also not recommended - make sure you really boil it.
There are establishments all over Metro Manila that purify water and bring it directly to your home. Most households get their drinking water this way, just ask your neighbor or house guard for the nearest water station or for a phone number, as you can conveniently just text these water deliverers. The purified water is generally safe, as the refilling stations are certified and undergo routine checks by the authorities. The water is delivered in canisters (around 40 Pesos) or in big five-gallon bottles. For the latter there are electric dispensers available to serve hot and cold water.
If you are planning a long-term stay in Manila, installing a household water purification device might be an alternative that is cheaper on the long run. The home filter systems are available in most appliance stores. However, the systems of the commercial water stations are supposed to work much more thoroughly than the home filters.
Convenient stores and groceries also sell distilled water. While this water is cleaned from all harmful contaminants, it is also free from minerals your body needs, which is why it is not recommended to drink this water on a regular basis.
Healthy Food Delivery
Who has the time to go to the market regularly, get fresh ingredients and prepare a healthy and at the same time delicious meal, right? NUIU Life Cuisine might help you out - it provides daily food delivery services to ensure a perfect nutrition for Megacitizens and other people with little time. The company prepares and delivers custom-tailored meals to your home, five or seven days a week, everyday fresh and in coordination with professional nutritionists. This example from NUIU's website sounds really tempting: 'Old Fashioned Oats with Apples & Pecans for breakfast, Roasted Vegetables & Cheese Rolls for AM snack, Almond Orange Sole Fillet for lunch, Banana Triffle for PM snack and Pasta a la Madrelina for Dinner.'
The meals are prepared solely with fresh ingredients, cooked with unsaturated fats, and they include whole grain products, fruits and vegetables, with the perfect balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates. To get an individualized meal plan that helps you reach or maintain your ideal body weight you can calculate your BMI before ordering online, or you can meet with NUIU's in-house dietitian. The meal plans can also be adapted to more complicated conditions, e.g. for diabetics.
Prices start at 890 Pesos per day, but depend on the individual meal plan. NUIU delivers in the whole Greater Manila region.
For more healthy options, check out our article on Vegetarian Dining, with a great selection of restaurants, from casual to chic.
Pipino promises creative and 100% plant-based versions of Filipino dishes, coming in generous servings. And since recently they offer a food kit that ensures you get your daily dose of vegetarian meals delivered to your door during the week.
Quaint and dimly lit, Corner Tree Café is a great place for vegetarian comfort food. The café and restaurant serves a range of dishes inspired by the different cultures of the world.
Ritual Organic Grocery sells a range of Filipino products coming from all over the country - from coffee produced in the Mountain Province to fish sauce from the southern parts of the Philippines. The shop recently moved from The Collective to Arnaiz Avenue, just a few minutes walk from Greenbelt.