15 Healthy Native Filipino Food | Panlasang Pinoy Recipes™ (2022)

Filipino cuisine is a mixture of many different cultural flavors from around the world. Native Filipino food is comprised of a mixture of Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, and Indian flavors and is added with the Filipino’s unique style and flavor. With this many influences, the Filipino recipes have become the delicious and unique melting pot of cuisines from many different cultures that is sure to tickle the palette.

Filipino’s love the salty, sweet and sour flavors in their dishes and has become quite innovative in combining these flavors for a uniquely delicious Filipino meal. Although many of these dishes incorporate unhealthy meats and fats in their recipes, it is quick and easy to find healthy alternatives to some otherwise unhealthy ingredients in Filipino dishes. One example is white rice which has become a staple in meals for Filipinos. However, this can cause a build-up in carbohydrates. A quick solution is to replace it with the healthier alternative of brown rice to go along with your favorite Filipino dish.

Several traditional Filipino recipes can provide for a healthy meal. And with a little creativity, Filipino dishes can be made healthier with just a few ingredient changes in the recipes without sacrificing the rich and delicious Filipino flavor.

Below are examples of healthy native Filipino foods:

1. Laing

Laing is a green leafy dish that originated in the region of Bicol that has delicious the flavor combination of creamy and spicy, best served with a cup of rice. It’s made up of taro or gabi leaves with shrimp paste that is reduced in coconut milk with added chili peppers. This healthy dish is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber. Laing can help boost the immune system, improve eyesight, and regulate blood pressure.

See: Health Benefits of Eating Gabi

2. Pinakbet

Pinakbet is a vegetable dish that originated from the region of Ilocos. It features healthy leafy greens like eggplant, okra, squash, tomatoes, bitter lemon, etc. It’s a dish rich with fiber, nutrients (generally, vitamin A), and minerals that provide the body with multiple health benefits, depending on the veggies you add to the ingredients. Vitamin A, in general, promotes healthy vision, bones, and skin.

See: Health Benefits of Kalabasa

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3. Lumpiang Ubod

Lumpiang Ubod is also known as Lumpia Sariwa (fresh lumpia or rolls) because it’s mostly composed of fresh vegetables and is the healthiest type of lumpia preparation in Filipino cuisine. The vegetables used for lumpiang ubod are usually ubod or coconut shoot, carrot, spring rolls, singkamas, and lettuce enclosed in a soft crepe-like wrapper. The dish is high in vitamin A that promotes eye health and strengthens the immune system.

4. Ginisang Munggo

Ginisang munggo or sauteed mung beans is prepared using munggo beans and ampalaya leaves or malunggay leaves and is usually enjoyed every Friday. Munggo came from India and Pakistan and was exported to the Philippine where Filipino easily incorporated into their recipes. The dish has plenty of health benefits. The munggo beans itself is rich multiple nutrients and minerals and the entire dish can provide vitamin B, folate, thiamine, iron, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous, all of which gives immense health benefits and allows the body to properly function.

See: 5 top health benefits of eating munggo

5. Ensaladang Talong

Ensaladang talong is an eggplant salad that is often used as a side dish for grilled but is filling enough to be served as its own dish. This eggplant salad is made up of chopped eggplants, tomatoes, onions, and sometimes boiled eggs. The eggplant is rich with vitamin B and manganese while the tomatoes are full of vitamin C and lycopene. These nutrients can lower risks of heart disease and lowers cholesterol levels in the body.

See: 15+ Surprising health benefits of eggplant

6. Ginisang Sitaw

Ginisang sitaw is a simple Filipino dish that comprises of sitaw and kalabasas (green beans and squash). This dish is best served with rice and a small portion of protein, fish is highly recommended. Its two main ingredients are high in fiber and are a rich source of vitamin C that helps boost the immune system.

7. Fish Sinigang

Fish sinigang is one of the favorites of Filipinos to eat with their family. The dish is a sour fish soup that features several healthy vegetables and is best eaten with rice. There is a variety of fish to use for this fish, from milkfish, grouper, salmon, and red snapper. This choice of protein and is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids which can lower the risk of heart disease, arthritis, dementia, and depression. While the vegetables, usually water spinach and green beans, but varies with each recipe, are rich with vitamin C and vitamin A. This boosts the immune system and provides the body with plenty of antioxidants that fight against free radicals that cause cell destructions.

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8. Kare-kare

Kare-kare is a traditional Filipino dish that is said to be borrowed from India. It is a peanut-based stew that is served with, usually oxtail and other protein, with a mixture of healthy vegetables and bagoong or fermented seafood paste on the side. The health benefits mainly come from the ample serving of vegetables in the dish. To maximize its health benefits, the meat can be substituted with the healthful tofu instead.

9. Tortang Talong

Tortang talong or eggplant omelet is a popular eggplant dish that is a favorite meal for breakfast and is best served with hot rice. The eggplant is broiled then is cut in half and is dipped in egg to be pan-fried. This dish can help in the process of weight loss as eggs can suppress appetite. Eggplant in of itself is rich in many nutrients and is high with antioxidants that help the cells defend against free radicals. All in all, tortang talong is a great meal for breakfast that has health benefits and helps with weight loss.

10. Malunggay

Malunggay is the Philippines’s national vegetable and can be cooked in a variety of different ways. This leafy green vegetable is most popular to consume among breastfeeding mothers as it’s said that the vegetable can boost the production of breastmilk. Malunggay is often used as a substitute for spinach and contains nutrients and minerals that are beneficial to the body. Malunggay is rich in vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium. Malunggay provides plenty of nutrition to those who lack it and can reduce blood sugar and cholesterol in the body. Additionally, it is rich in antioxidants that can fight against free radicals that can destroy the cells in the body.

11. Ginataang Gulay

Yet another healthy Filipino dish with coconut milk. Ginataang gulay is perfect for people who want a break from all the meat common in Filipino recipes. Choices of vegetable along with an optional choice protein are cooked in coconut milk that results in creamy healthy goodness. The vegetables are usually squash, bitter lemon, and string beans but can vary with each recipe.

12. Tinolang Manok

Tinolang Manok is a favorite dish among Filipino, noted to be a dish highly beneficial for pregnant women to eat. Tinolang manok is a chicken soup full of vegetables, usually sayote and malunggay with added ginger. Sayote is rich in folic acid that is essential in creating red blood cells and malunggay leaves are used to boost breast milk production.

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15 Healthy Native Filipino Food | Panlasang Pinoy Recipes™ (1)

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13. Ginisang Ampalaya

Gisisang ampalaya or sautéed bitter lemon is a popular Filipino dish that packs a delicious bitter flavor. The ingredients of usually garlic, onion, and tomatoes, plus other miscellaneous ingredients depending on your recipe, are sautéed with a handful portion of its main ingredient, ampalaya or bitter lemon. This bitter vegetable dish can be an acquired taste to some but its health benefits are undeniable. Bitter lemon is packed full of vitamin C and vitamin A that boosts the immune system and promotes healthy skin and eyes.

See: Top 10 health benefits of ampalaya

14. Gising Gising

This dish originally came from the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Pampanga. Gising gising is another creamy but spicy dish that is packed with nutrients and minerals from its main ingredient, green beans. This healthy dish is an excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, zinc, iron, and fiber. This can lower risks of cancer, boost the immune system, strengthens vision and bones, promotes a healthy digestive process, etc.

See: 5 surprising health benefits of green beans

15. Balut

This last one may be surprising to some, but balut is shown to have some health benefits. Balut is said to have originated in China thousands of years ago and can now be found throughout Southeast Asia. It has become a favorite snack for Filipinos, especially at night time. Balut is the fertilized duck embryo which is a good source of protein. Additionally, it is rich with Vitamin C and beta carotene, antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system and eliminates free radicals in the bloodstream. They are also a good source of phosphorus, iron, calcium, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine that helps to metabolize energy.

References:

Chandler, B. (2018, November 27). What is a balut egg? Retrieved from https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/balut-egg-2775.html

Devon, R. (n.d.). Healthy foods in the Philippines. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/458499-healthy-food-in-the-philippines/

A guide to healthy living and eating in the Philippines. (2018, April 22). Retrieved from https://www.wheninmanila.com/a-guide-to-healthy-living-and-eating-in-the-philippines/

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Bautista, B. (2018, February 16). Best and worse Filipino foods. Retrieved from https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/best-and-worst-filipino-foods

Escalona, K. (2018, August 13). The 21 best dishes to eat in the Philippines. Retrieved from https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/best-and-worst-filipino-foods

La Cruz, E. (2017, February 1). The best traditional Filipino dishes you need to try. Retrieved from https://theculturetrip.com/asia/philippines/articles/the-best-traditional-filipino-dishes-you-need-to-try/

Castillo, J.E. (2016, September 09). 10 most nutritious options for everyday Filipino meals. Retrieved from https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/life/food/10-most-nutritious-everyday-pinoy-meals-a1162-20160909

Dunn, C. (2018, January 22). 5 traditional tasty and healthy Filipino dishes to try this year. Retrieved from https://www.ampalayaplus.com/blog/5-traditional-tasty-healthy-filipino-dishes-try-year/

10 Healthy yet yummy Pinoy dishes. (2014, August 06). Retrieved from https://news.abs-cbn.com/lifestyle/08/04/14/10-healthy-yet-yummy-pinoy-dishes

15 Healthy Native Filipino Food | Panlasang Pinoy Recipes™ (2)

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FAQs

What is your favorite Filipino dish answer? ›

Chicken adobo is the most famous and popular of all Filipino foods, known and loved by everyone.

What foods are healthy? ›

Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Includes a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts, and seeds. Is low in added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.

What are the most popular Filipino dishes? ›

15 Must-Try Foods in the Philippines
  • Tocino. Breakfast of champions. Tocino is the Filipino version of bacon. ...
  • Kinilaw. Kinilaw: Filipino ceviche. ...
  • Sinigang. Sinigang with bagnet (deep-fried pork belly) ...
  • Kare-Kare. Kare-kare. ...
  • Sisig. Pork sisig. ...
  • Adobo. Tostadong (pork) adobo. ...
  • Humba. Pork humba. ...
  • Lechon. Lechon kawali: deep fried pork.
May 7, 2022

Why Filipino food is the best? ›

Filipino cuisine is popular for its delicious taste and appetizing aroma. You can easily tell apart Filipino food from other cuisines due to its color and the manner it is served too. Its distinctive colors, aroma, and flavors result in a full sensory experience with each bite.

What is a traditional Filipino meal? ›

Adobo. The most popular Filipino food and referred to as the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, Adobo is commonly chicken (though pork is a 2nd favourite option) simmered in vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, soy sauce, and bay leaves.

Is Turon a native delicacy? ›

Turon is a popular snack and street food amongst Filipinos. These are usually sold along streets with banana cue, camote cue, and maruya.
...
Turon (food)
Alternative namesTurrón de banana, turrón de plátano, lumpiang saging
TypeSnack
Place of originPhilippines
Main ingredientsBananas, brown sugar
1 more row

What is an original Filipino dish? ›

Adobo is one of the most popular Filipino dishes and is considered unofficially by many as the national dish. It usually consists of pork or chicken, sometimes both, stewed or braised in a sauce usually made from vinegar, cooking oil, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and soy sauce.

How do you describe Filipino foods? ›

Filipino food is a mixture of sweet, salty, and sour flavours. Rice figures heavily — this is Southeast Asia, after all! — and coconut is of utmost importance, with all parts of the coconut (including the sap and leaves) used in cooking and preparation.

What is your favorite food describe it? ›

There are so many dishes available in today's world some like Indian foods like Biryani, Dosa, Pav Bhaji, Pani Puri etc whereas some like western foods like Pizza, Burger, Noodles etc. Among the number of food, Pizza is my favourite food because it tastes and smells fabulous.

What are the top 20 healthiest foods? ›

TOP 20 FOODS
  • Peanut Butter. High in protein and calories, also a good source of vitamin E, Magnesium, and folate. ...
  • Avocado. Contains fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, and folate. ...
  • Greek Yogurt. Packed with protein, calcium, and probiotics.
  • Cottage Cheese. ...
  • Oatmeal. ...
  • Cheese. ...
  • Milk. ...
  • Salmon.

What are the top 10 most popular foods? ›

The Number 1 Most Popular Foods in America are Hamburgers!
  • Potato Chips.
  • Donuts.
  • Ice Cream.
  • Chicken Tenders.
  • Soft Drinks/Soda.
  • Pizza.
  • Oreo Cookies.
  • French Fries.
Sep 7, 2021

How can I make healthy meals? ›

There are many ways to make meals healthier. Limit fats, sugars and salt and include plenty of vegetables, fruit, grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy in your cooking. Foods with added fats, sugars or salt are less healthy than food in which these are found naturally.

Is Filipino food healthy? ›

Filipino soups and stews can be healthy meals on their own, but it changes if eaten with copious amounts of white rice. Consuming sugar is inevitable, after all it's in everything from fruit to bread. But too much of it can cause health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

What is the most famous food? ›

Italian pizza is probably the most famous food in the World. Pizza has crossed the borders of Italy a long time ago and nowadays it is consumed all over the world. Pizza is the topmost liked food in the world. Today you can find pizza in almost every corner of the world.

Why is food important to Filipino culture? ›

Importance of Food to Filipino Culture

Food shaped the way Filipinos live. Aside from the food itself, there are priceless memories shared with whoever they're with, which make it more special. Food glues foreigners, friends, and the whole family together (regardless of lifestyle differences).

Is Filipino food the best in the world? ›

Filipino food is among TasteAtlas' Top 50 Best Cuisines in the World in 2022. Garnering a 4.39 rating, Filipino cuisine is ranked 19th in the food encyclopedia's top best cuisines.

What is Filipino cuisine known for? ›

Aside from adobo, lechon, and sisig, they have included noteworthy dishes such as:
  • Crispy pata.
  • Chicken inasal.
  • Taba ng talangka.
  • Bulalo.
  • Arroz caldo.
  • Fish tinola.
  • Kare-kare.
  • Betute.

Is Filipino food popular? ›

According to research by Chef's Pencil, Filipino cuisine is the 10th most popular cuisine in the world, as showcased on Instagram.

Why is Filipino food so sweet? ›

Over the years, sugar manufacturers spread the love for sugar by "exciting the Filipino's taste" for it, writes historian John Larkin. Not only was it widely received due to affordable prices, its flavor was winning the country over, one sweet-savory meal or merienda at a time.

What is the native delicacy of Cebu? ›

1. Lechon de Cebu. You've never been to Cebu if you haven't tried lechon. This is one of the most popular food delicacies in Cebu.

What is the ingredients of native delicacies? ›

Kakanin, a Filipino native delicacies, are snacks usually made with or containing any or combination of coconut milk, rice flour, glutinous rice, cassava and sugar.

WHAT IS THE BEST kakanin in the Philippines? ›

The best kakanin in the Philippines is cassava cake. If you like cassava or tapioca, this is the kakanin for you. Aside from its distinct flavor, cassava cake is a labor of love.

What is the oldest food in the Philippines? ›

Probably the oldest group of food crops in the Philippines, root crops includes yams, taros, sweet potato and manioc. Although rice has already replaced yams and taros as the preferred root crop, it still remains as the dominant food in some regions and has assumed complementary roles in others.

What is the cultural food in the Philippines? ›

Signature Dishes

Among the most popular are marinated meats in adobo sauce; Dininding, a traditional dish combining vegetables and seafood; Laksa, a melting pot of shrimp, pork and vegetables; Kari-Kari, or boiled oxtail; and Estofado, a deep-fried meat dish served with potatoes.

How does the Filipino foods reflect the Filipino culture? ›

Filipino food reflects the culture of the Filipinos,” said Barbara Delos Reyes. Filipino families, she said, are fond of having a mix of various dishes on one dining table and it reflects the hospitality of the Filipinos and the culture of close family ties. “When we eat in our homes, we are always together.

How do I write an essay about my best food? ›

You should write the name of your best food and what makes it your favorite food in the first paragraph. In the second paragraph you should write about the recipe for your best food then in the third paragraph you write your conclusion.

What is your Favourite food essay? ›

Even though there are many kinds of burgers, my favourite one is a chicken burger. The chicken patty gives the burger a juicy taste and it tingles my taste buds every time I eat it. I can already smell and taste it in my mouth as soon as I walked inside McDonald's or any other restaurant that serves chicken burgers.

How do you start a food essay? ›

There are some questions to answer and start writing an essay about the chosen food based on the following points:
  1. How often do you eat it?
  2. What was the first time when you tasted it? What was your impression?
  3. What associations do you have with this food?
  4. Where do you like eating it?
  5. Have you ever cooked it on your own?

How can I eat healthy in the Philippines? ›

Consume fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, dried beans or nuts daily for growth and repair of body tissues. Consume milk, milk products and other calcium-rich foods, such as small fish and shellfish, every day for healthy bones and teeth.

Is Filipino pancit healthy? ›

Although Pancit is delicious, is it healthy? Pancit is a dish that has most of its calories coming from carbs and proteins so it can actually be a great meal to eat when dieting. Especially when made at home, Pancit can be customized to be very optimal for weight maintenance and a healthy diet.

What is the healthiest vegetable in the Philippines? ›

Generally speaking, the healthiest vegetables in the Philippines are amaranth, malunggay, bell peppers, sweet potato, butternut squash, chard, and Brussel sprouts.

What is the most popular Filipino food? ›

Adobo. The most popular Filipino food and referred to as the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, Adobo is commonly chicken (though pork is a 2nd favourite option) simmered in vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, soy sauce, and bay leaves.

Why is it important to have a healthy diet? ›

A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. It protects you against many chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugars and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats, are essential for healthy diet.

How is a healthy lifestyle? ›

This means eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and drugs and getting plenty of rest. Our bodies are like machines that require a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water to stay in good working order. Get the balance wrong and your health will suffer.

How can I eat clean in the Philippines? ›

HOME COOKED MEALS

It's become a lot easier to eat clean while living in Manila, and the best way to eat clean is of course to prepare or cook the food yourself. There are farmers' markets and weekend markets to go to, vegetable basket subscriptions, and smaller shops that focus on whole food.

Whats healthier rice noodles or egg noodles? ›

Rice noodles are lower in calories, fat, and protein than egg noodles. They also have more carbohydrates. One cup of cooked rice noodles made with white rice has about 193 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, 43.8 grams of carbohydrates, 1.8 grams of fiber, and 1.6 grams of protein.

Is Egg good for diet? ›

Eggs can help you lose weight because of their high protein content, which keeps you full longer. That protein may also slightly increase your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories. If you want to lose weight, eat eggs as part of a healthy breakfast with fruits and vegetables.

Is bread good for a diet? ›

Bread is high in carbs that can lead to fat accumulation. Though certain types of bread can actually aid in weight loss. Bread high in fibre, vitamins and minerals is great for people trying to lose weight.

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