Gong Hei Fat Choy!

The Lunar New Year is here, just a month after our Christmas feasts and parties, and our waistbands are going to be stretched again by all the delicious food and traditional goodies.

Chinese New Year Food

But before you help yourself to another serving of that yusheng or another slice of bak kwa, consider this chart below compiled by the Health Promotion Board, which lays out the calories of various New Year goodies, and the equivalent amount of physical activity needed to expend them:

Food (per serving)Calories (kcal)*Jogging Duration (minutes)
Bak Kwa, Pork (1 slice, 94g)37047
Love Letters (3 rolls, 39g)16821
Peanut Crackers (1 small plate, 88g)41853
Pineappple Tarts (3 pieces, 20g)24631
Twisted Cookies (3 pieces, 12g)20126

*Values based on a 60kg adult

Bearing this in mind, here are 5 tips for going healthier this Chinese New Year.

1. Be especially mindful about how much is going into your children’s little tummies!

2. As far as possible, try to increase your physical activity level accordingly, to prevent unwanted and unnecessary weight gain.

For example, take the stairs instead of the lift when visiting. Or end the day with a walk around the park instead of vegetating on the couch to watch the TV specials.

3. In your purchase of snacks for the home, do choose foods with the Healthier Choice Symbol or the Healthier Snack Symbol, which are generally lower in sugar, salt and fat.

Choose sugar-free sweets or auspicious dried fruit without added salt or sugar, such as dried apricots or dried apple rings, over highly sugared treats like chocolates or candies.

4. Buy beverages which have reduced sugar, or are sugar-free.

Instead of fizzy drinks, opt for natural fruit juices. Make it a point to consume lots of fresh fruit, such as mandarin oranges, and limit your intake of other festive treats.

5. Last but not least, it’s ok to say “no” to more treats when you’re out visiting family and friends.

Don’t feel obliged to eat ‘one piece more’ just because they offered it to you. By all means, enjoy the treats provided, but keep to your principle of moderation and know your limits. Graciously decline if any more is offered, and tactfully direct the conversations elsewhere.

Enjoy the festivities!

By Dorothea Chow