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Healthy(ish) Eating In China

Working as an ESL Teacher sometimes means that it’s difficult to keep good eating habits. Here are some tips on how to achieve healthier habits… #babysteps

When I first landed in China, it seemed that my hopes and dreams of maintaining my #SummerBod were dashed. I immediately dove into piles upon piles of dumplings, fried twisted dough and mountains of deliciously fried eggplant, tofu and barbecued everything. By the second week, my favourite jeans were constricting me heavily and threatening to expose all that bulged underneath. It was a difficult time of introspection. I had to change my hashtags from #FitAF to #SummerBodyLoadingOnceAgain. Times were dark.

If, like me, you’re battling The Spread, fear not! Contrary to popular belief, the food in Tianjin – and China in general, can be health-focused. It all depends on where you go and how you approach mealtimes. Here’s how I’m going about cleaning up my act.

Step 1: Find The Food Market

If you can bring yourself to tear away from the jiang bing guozi, cast your gaze gently to the other side of the road. You may find yourself looking at a bustling street where fresh meat, fish and, yes, vegetables abound! These fresh food markets are nestled throughout the city and here you can pick up a full week’s haul of goods for less than any Farmer’s Market ever. Bring your translation app along and you could negotiate your way to cheaper fare. From here, you’re empowered to make your own grub, which means you can control the amount of fat and carbs and fresh food goes into every meal.

Step 2: Find The Healthy Eat Out Spots

Street food here is incredible, but watch out for anything deep-fried (read: almost everything). If you’re dining out, go for hot pot and pick the leanest meat to dunk into the broth. I’ve also found a new love for cold noodles, available on the street and in-doors. It’s a quick dish made up of noodles, a creamy umami dressing and veggies. You can pick your own noodles, like rice noodles, which are gluten-free, and control what goes into the tub. I max mine out with tons of grated cucumber and carrots and go low on the oil in the dressing. It. Is. Delicious.

Am I still occasionally splurging on barbecued tofu? Hell yeah. China is still new to me and I want to eat up every delicious part of it. So here’s a new hashtag I’m trying: #Balance.

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