Many of us in Singapore are incredibly fortunate to have domestic helpers in the household, and we rely on them to varying degrees to do our meal planning, shopping, prepping, cooking and so on.

With an upbringing very different to ours, our helpers don’t have the nutrition knowledge nor the related skills that we have – so it really is a huge ask to expect them to run our kitchens (on top of everything else they do) as we would like. Time, patience, empathy and collaboration is needed on both sides.

However, much more than that, our helpers need to appreciate the importance of being healthy themselves, and that their many lifestyle habits all impact their immunity now, and their long-term health. Like us, they are moms working hard for their kids’ future and for their own, and deserve every opportunity to be healthy and happy, as we have.

When working with helpers, I put as much effort into motivating them to improve their own health (and that of their family back in the Philippines, Indonesia etc), and they can then relate to how important this is for you. I suggest they take on a small goal each week based on what they learn, noting them in their mobile device as a reminder – that’s 52 better habits over the year. No drastic changes are required – taking it step by step is fine.

If your helper enjoys meals with you as a family then she is most likely getting the nutrition she needs. Some helpers opt for a food allowance as a preference, often in efforts to save further money to send home to their family. However, after working hard doing various tasks all day long, and preparing/cooking an evening meal for your family, probably the last thing they want to do cook again for themselves. So, unfortunately, they often resort to a packet of noodles or plain rice.

To help them on the road to better health, perhaps suggest they cook extra, meat, chicken etc when preparing your family meal, and prep some extra veggies, so that they can have these in a modified form that they find more appetizing.

I have received amazing stories back from helpers on how their health has improved through making basic changes to their diet and lifestyle – this, of course, makes for a healthier household and encourages ongoing positive changes for helpers themselves, their family and for your family.

You know, we are all responsible for making this world a better place. And, much of the suffering now isn’t because people are starved, it because they’re eating too much of the wrong type of food – resulting in chronic, mental and other illnesses, and all the anguish goes with that for them and their loved ones. We are all health ambassadors in this business – what you encourage your helper to do in the way of better nutrition and lifestyle choices impacts not only her, but also her immediate family, and beyond. Let’s keep doing what we do!

FYI, here are some articles I’ve written for helpers to assist in health basics around shopping, storing, prepping and cooking food.
Basic hygiene, safety and food handling in the kitchen…/

Guidelines for buying and storing food for safety and to minimize wastage – particularly challenging here in the tropics…/

Avoiding cross-contamination in the kitchen when prepping and cooking food…/

Again, thanks for reading and watching, I look forward to your comments.

To our health!

Liza Rowan

Holistic Nutritionist

When not not busy in my favourite role as mother to my two boys,  I dedicate my time to educate, motivate and inspire us all to lead healthier, happier lives. This involves hosting Nutrition courses (in-class and online), corporate wellness talks, workshops and when I have time, private consultations.

 You can follow me on one or more of the following channels:

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