Why the food you walk by daily matters

One of the most important aspects of a weight loss programme, if you ask me, is something you can’t exactly control – your daily path between (say) home and work. I take public transport. In busy tiny Singapore, this means I walk past many possible places to buy food, especially at town centres such as the one I live in (Bukit Batok).

Now, the kind of food that you pass by, that is within easy access, has a big influence on your weight loss programme.

For example, there is a MacDonald’s right outside Bukit Batok Station. And a 24-hour one at that. While I do not go to MacDonald’s with any regularity (by human standards), I see the ads. I saw the recent revamped breakfast menu appear, and two weeks later on a Saturday morning I walked in and bought something. If I didn’t walk past MacDonald’s with regularity, I wouldn’t know and I wouldn’t buy. Advertizing and eye candy works.

Strangely, there is no Yong Tau Hu anywhere in Bukit Batok Central. I think we’re one of the most deprived town centres, missing this common and popular meal. It is also one of the very few healthy hawker fare choices. This means I’m stuck with sliced fish soup, and thankfully there is one at Varinice kopitiam, near MacDonald’s.

This means on a night when I have to buy dinner on the way home, I have precious little choice. On nights when I feel like rewarding myself with something different… I quite literally have nothing to choose from, not even yong tau hu. I end up buying things like a Burger King Chicken Sandwich. With extra lettuce. And no fries.

Or I could go to Subway and hope they haven’t run out of veggies. (The branch at West Mall has a nasty habit of running out of veggies after 7pm, as the rather curt server said to me last Friday). By the way, I go to Subway to buy a salad, not a sandwich.

My area also has not one but two below-par supermarkets. Both have a rather limited selection. One of them is probably the world’s smallest NTUC Fairprice (the one at Bukit Batok Station). This causes my wife constant consternation as she is forced to travel further (eg. to Bukit Timah Plaza’s NTUC Finest) to look for better variety. On days she doesn’t travel, we’re stuck with lesser fare.

The other day, I was at Tiong Bahru Plaza and felt envious when I noticed that not only does their Fairprice sell sashimi, but just outside of it there are two Umi Sushi counters, one dedicated to salads. Japanese salads. If I lived there, life would be a little easier in weight loss terms.


One thought on “Why the food you walk by daily matters

  1. If I cooked traditional Chinese, Malay or Indian cooking, the supermarkets in our neighbourhood would be overflowing with supplies, IMO. Unfortunately, we hardly eat that way at home nowadays (and I’m not complaining) so fortnightly trips to Clementi or Bukit Timah have become the norm. If you’d like, I can up the frequency to weekly but your wallet may lose weight faster than you. :P

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