Healthy Eating: A Rich Man’s Diet?

“Mahal maging healthy.” We would often hear this phrase from an average Filipino and maybe it’s not just a baseless tact but a reality we don’t want to face. According to a report by the World Bank (2021), healthy diets remain elusive for an average Filipino as they prove costly. The same was  found in the Expanded National Nutrition Survey last 2021, 68% or 75.2 Filipinos cannot afford a healthy diet. With high prices of commodities, the question remains – is it still possible for an average Juan to afford healthy meals or is it now a luxury?

This year’s Nutrition Month theme, “Healthy Diet, Gawing Affordable for All” aims to raise awareness on supporting Filipinos improve access to affordable healthy diets to reduce malnutrition, improve food security, health and quality of life. To help with this goal, here are some things you might want to try to keep your expenses within budget while keeping your health in check:

  1. Plan Your Meals

Planning ahead can go a long way for your energy level, concentration – and budget! Plan meals in advance (3 days or a week) especially if you have a busy schedule ahead of you. When you don’t have time, it’s easy to just turn to instant food and buy takeout which is not only more costly but also not healthy. Try to build meals around what you already have and think about what you can mix and match.

  1. Tailor Your Shopping List

A well-planned grocery list is essential to navigating the grocery store efficiently, reducing food waste and managing food costs. Make it a habit to check your pantry before shopping as this can help the unintentional overstocking of ingredients and limit your food waste as well. Buy fruits and vegetables in season. Fresh ones are also better than canned plus it will help you make use of them faster to avoid them rotting.

  1. Cook Wisely

Knowing what to cook and how to cook a certain food is important in stretching the family’s food budget. Cooking more often one-dish meals like sinigang, nilaga, pinakbet, tinola, ginisang munggo will help you save time, money and effort.  Use dried fish or beans to extend your meat supply. Cook and serve dried beans in a variety of ways like menudo with garbanzos or pork and beans. Extend your precious rice supply with corn and root crops such as yellow kamote, gabi, tugi. Serve boiled rootcrops for snacks. In using oil, know that oil can be reused four times without affecting food flavor if you add one part fresh oil to three parts used oil before each reuse. Before storing used oil, remove the burnt particles to preserve the oil’s flavor and odor.

  1. Give Leftovers a Makeover

Repurposing leftovers can save time and money. What are the easiest dishes for you to make and enjoy? An easy sandwich may be one of those. Luckily, Gardenia has a wide array of different recipes you can do using your leftovers from your favorite Filipino ulam like menudo, humba and even bangus! A simple but healthy bangus sandwich can be checked out below. This features our Gardenia High Fiber Whole Wheat Bread that is now with Nutri+ Advantage making it not just fiber-rich but also packed with vitamins and minerals able to keep your health in check without breaking the bank

In time where health is top priority, it is so important that we get to fill ourselves with the healthiest meals. As we celebrate this year’s nutrition month, we hope that “Mahal maging healthy” can turn into “Kaya naman pa lang maging healthy” as this is every Filipinos’ right and should not just be a luxury for the rich.  Let us continue to hope that in time healthy foods become inexpensive and accessible to individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Gardenia Dagupan Bangus Pesto


8 slices Gardenia High Fiber Whole Wheat Bread
1 (400 g) Bangus belly, deboned (can use leftover!)
4 Tbsp Pesto, store bought
1 piece Tomato, sliced
Lettuce leaves
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Top each slice of bangus with one tablespoon pesto and spread over fish.
  2. For the sandwich, place lettuce leaves on one slice of bread.
  3. Top with baked bangus and tomato.
  4. Cover with another slice of bread.
  5. Cut the sandwich diagonally. Serve.




Boston University. 2020. Tips for Budget Friendly Meal Planning from BU Employee Wellness Letter. Accessed through

Food and Nutrition Research Institute. N.d. Simple tips on sticking to your budget. Accessed through

World Bank. 2021. Undernutrition in the Philippines: Scale, Scope, and Opportunities for Nutrition Policy and Programming. Accessed through:

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon. 2023. NNC aims affordable healthy diet for all. Accessed through:’s,of%20this%20annual%20national%20campaign.