Chinese New Year is right at our doorsteps. For the Chinese around the world, it is the time of the year when you find good company, reunion of relatives and friends and delicious meals, cakes and delicacies.
Amid the festivities and feastings, it is easy to let down our hair and indulge in whatever is presented to us.
Here are 10 tips on enjoying the festive season without comprising on your health:
1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Many vegetables are used in Chinese New Year dishes that have symbolic meaning and you can eat more of ;
- Fatt Choy ( black hair moss) – Meaning prosperity. Although it has no nutritional value, but it provides fiber
- Spring onion – Symbolize everything is smooth sailing.
- Yu Sheng – Chinese New Year salad that is toss high above to symbolize rising above you
- Mandarin oranges – Symbolize gold nuggets and good fortune.
- Lettuce wrap – For the Cantonese, it sound like rising fortune.
2. Do not visit on an empty stomach
When you are hungry, you tend to overeat without thinking. Have a light meal or healthy snack of apple, banana or nuts before visiting or in between visits.
3. Be selective
Limit your intake of meat such as pork, chicken and seafood, especially when they are deep-fried. They are high in saturated fat. Choose nuts and seeds over sugary pineapple tarts and bak kwa (barbecued pork).
4. Drink plenty of water
Water keeps you from being dehydrated when you do home visits and helps to flush off the toxins accumulated from the feasting. Choose plain water over the sugary drinks and alcohol.
5. Use a small plate
Big plate encourages you to pile on a bigger quantity of food.
6. Have some room
Eat up to 70% of fullness and eat slowly. Eating slowly will give the brain time to register that you are full, so you will not overeat.
7. Ration yourself
If you are moving from one house to another and eating everything that is offered in each house, you will definitely overeat. Ration yourself the amount you should eat per household. You should aim to eat a total of not more than 2000 calories in a day.
Below are examples of the calories of the common food you will find:
- Bak Kwa – 1 piece, 37g, 228 kcal
- Mandarin orange, 1 fruit, 116g, 37 kcal
- Nian gao, 1 portion, 423g, 977 kcal
- Pineapple tarts, 1 piece, 5g, 23 kcal.
8. Stay active
Do not forget your exercise regimens. The holiday season is no excuse to slack. Don’t forget that you will be eating more calories and if you do not burn them off with exercise, they will be stored as fat.
9. Provide healthier choice for your guests
If you are hosting, offer a variety of healthy nuts, salads and fruits in addition to the rich cakes and pastries. Make a jug of healthy ice lemon tea rather than serving the sugary drinks.
10. Put them altogether
You can apply all the 8 tips together and achieve a multi-prong approach to achieving healthy eating. There is always a possibility to succumb to temptation, but when applying all these tips together, each can reinforce the other and prevent you from overeating and yet allowing you to enjoy your holiday.
Do you have other ways to maintain healthy eating in the Chinese New Year period? Do share with me in the comment box below.
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