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MDW Healthy Cooking Guide

Jackie Tay

6 min read

May 31




Healthy Cooking is an important skill for all MDWs to master.

As an MDW (Migrant Domestic Worker, Foreign Domestic Helper, maid) you play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of the family you support. One of the most significant contributions you can make is preparing healthy meals that promote good nutrition and overall health. This guide will provide you with essential tips and practical advice on how to cook healthy meals, including ingredient selection, cooking techniques, and sample recipes.

Understanding Healthy Ingredients

1. Whole Foods

Whole foods are minimally processed and closest to their natural state, which helps in preserving their nutritional value. These include:

- Fruits and Vegetables: Rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Aim to include a variety of colors in your meals to ensure a wide range of nutrients.

- Whole Grains: Such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat. These provide complex carbohydrates and fiber, which are essential for sustained energy.

- Lean Proteins: Including chicken, turkey, fish, beans, lentils, and tofu. These help in muscle repair and growth.

- Healthy Fats: Found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These are important for brain health and hormone production.

2. Organic and Locally Sourced Produce

Whenever possible, choose organic and locally sourced produce. Organic foods are grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, reducing chemical exposure. Local produce is fresher and often more nutritious due to shorter transportation times.

3. Reducing Processed Foods

Processed foods often contain unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium, which can lead to health issues like obesity, heart disease, and hypertension. Focus on natural, whole foods to maintain a balanced diet.

Essential Cooking Techniques for Healthy Meals

1. Steaming

Steaming is an excellent method to preserve the nutrients in vegetables and other foods. It requires no added fat and retains the natural flavors and textures. You can steam vegetables, fish, and even dumplings.

2. Grilling

Grilling adds a unique flavor to foods and allows excess fat to drip away. Use lean cuts of meat, fish, and vegetables to create delicious, healthy dishes. Remember to avoid charring the food too much, as it can produce harmful compounds.

3. Baking and Roasting

Baking and roasting are great for cooking a variety of ingredients with minimal added fat. Use a rack to allow fat to drain away from meats, and roast vegetables with a small amount of olive oil for enhanced flavor and nutrition.

4. Sautéing and Stir-Frying

Sautéing and stir-frying involve cooking food quickly over high heat with a small amount of healthy oil, such as olive or canola oil. This technique helps retain the nutrients in vegetables while creating a delicious meal.

5. Boiling and Simmering

Boiling and simmering are ideal for cooking grains, legumes, and soups. These methods require minimal added fat and help to preserve the nutrients in the cooking liquid. Avoid overcooking vegetables to maintain their nutritional value.

Balancing Nutrients

1. Macronutrients

A healthy diet should include a balance of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

- Carbohydrates: Choose complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits for sustained energy.

- Proteins: Include a variety of lean proteins from both animal and plant sources to support muscle growth and repair.

- Fats: Opt for healthy fats from sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil to support brain health and hormone production.

2. Micronutrients

Micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals, are essential for various bodily functions. Incorporate a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to ensure you get a wide spectrum of these nutrients.

3. Fiber

Fiber is crucial for digestive health and can be found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Aim for at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day to support a healthy digestive system and prevent chronic diseases.

Practical Tips for Healthy Cooking

1. Meal Planning and Preparation

Plan your meals ahead of time to ensure you have all the necessary ingredients and avoid unhealthy last-minute choices. Meal prepping, such as chopping vegetables or cooking grains in advance, can save time and make it easier to prepare healthy meals throughout the week.

2. Portion Control

Eating the right portions is key to maintaining a healthy weight and preventing overeating. Use smaller plates, measure your servings, and listen to your body's hunger cues to avoid consuming excess calories.

3. Reading Labels

Learn to read food labels to make informed choices about what you eat. Look for products with minimal ingredients, no added sugars, and low sodium. Be wary of marketing terms like "natural" or "healthy" and focus on the actual ingredients list.

4. Cooking at Home

Cooking at home allows you to control the ingredients and cooking methods, ensuring your meals are healthier than most restaurant or takeout options. Experiment with new recipes and cooking techniques to keep your meals interesting and enjoyable.

5. Using Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to your meals without adding extra calories, sodium, or unhealthy fats. Experiment with different combinations to enhance the taste of your dishes while reaping the benefits of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

We encourage our MDW (Migrant Domestic Worker, Foreign Domestic Helper, maid) to try these sample healthy recipes:

1. Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-Fry


- 1 cup quinoa

- 2 cups water

- 1 tablespoon olive oil

- 1 onion, chopped

- 2 garlic cloves, minced

- 1 bell pepper, sliced

- 1 zucchini, sliced

- 1 cup broccoli florets

- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

- Fresh herbs for garnish


1. Rinse quinoa under cold water. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil, add quinoa, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add bell pepper, zucchini, and broccoli. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender.

4. Add cooked quinoa and soy sauce to the pan, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.

5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and fresh herbs before serving.

2. Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill


- 4 salmon fillets

- 2 tablespoons olive oil

- 1 lemon, sliced

- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

- Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. Place salmon fillets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Top each fillet with lemon slices and sprinkle with fresh dill.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

5. Serve with a side of steamed vegetables or a mixed green salad.

3. Chickpea and Spinach Curry


- 1 tablespoon coconut oil

- 1 onion, chopped

- 2 garlic cloves, minced

- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

- 1 tablespoon curry powder

- 1 teaspoon ground cumin

- 1 teaspoon ground coriander

- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

- 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes

- 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk

- 4 cups fresh spinach

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Fresh cilantro for garnish


1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger, sauté for 5 minutes until onion is soft.

2. Stir in curry powder, cumin, and coriander, cooking for an additional 2 minutes.

3. Add chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

4. Stir in fresh spinach and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve over brown rice or quinoa.

4. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait


- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt

- 1 cup mixed fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)

- 1/2 cup granola

- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)

- Fresh mint for garnish


1. In a serving glass or bowl, add a layer of Greek yogurt.

2. Add a layer of mixed berries, followed by a layer of granola.

3. Repeat the layers until the glass is filled.

4. Drizzle with honey if desired and garnish with fresh mint.

5. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

5. Vegetable Soup


- 1 tablespoon olive oil

- 1 onion, chopped

- 2 garlic cloves, minced

- 2 carrots, sliced

- 2 celery stalks, sliced

- 1 zucchini, chopped

- 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes

- 4 cups vegetable broth

- 1 cup green beans, chopped

- 1 cup kale or spinach, chopped

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Fresh parsley for garnish


1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 5 minutes until soft.

2. Add carrots, celery, and zucchini. Cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Add diced tomatoes and vegetable broth, bring

We hope this guide helped. For more information, feel free to chat with our intelligent AI chatbot above, or speak with our live agent via the WhatsApp button below.

Jackie Tay

6 min read

May 31