We all have fond memories of Chinese New Year (CNY). Red packets, great company, long weekends, sleep-ins.
There is really nothing like food that binds people together. Being chinese, I have my fair share of relatives who think that chubby kids are cute and healthy. Even nowadays, I will sometimes still be stuffed in the face with food by my relatives and friends.
As we usher in the year of monkey, will we also be strapping on unnecessary calories around our body?
If you are on a weight management program since January, CNY might just undone your efforts and overload your calories intake if you are not vigilant.
So, here are 10 ways for you to avoid consuming unnecessary calories during CNY while still having a great time.
10. Know your numbers
Knowledge is power. Two pieces of pineapple tart is 164 calories. A piece of bak kwa contains 229 calories. If you want to burn off a piece of bak kwa, you will have to run 3.7km in 23 minutes. Let’s be real, who ever really just eat one bak kwa? The numbers add up quickly if you are not aware of it.
9. Figure out the healthy food beforehand
There is definitely going to be lots of eating. Reunion dinner, house visit, and friends gathering. During this period of time, it is almost impossible to avoid eating without coming across as rude. But you can choose to eat healthily. Identify the healthy goodies, like oranges, sunflower seeds and pistachio nuts. Make a mental note and stick to eating them to avoid the uphill battle of willpower.
8. Keep some nuts with you
Chances are slim that there won’t be anything healthy. However, just in case, bring a handful of nuts with you. They will help you to maintain satiety and avoid over eating.
7. Eat a salad, protein with vinaigrette before visiting
If you have the time, fill up your body with some salad, a fistful of protein with vinaigrette before you leave your house. This will help you to eat less during your rounds of visiting. Vegetables are full of nutrients. Protein will help to increase fullness and reduce hunger throughout the day. Apple cider vinegar appears to control blood sugar.
6. Set a quota
I know I’m starting to sound like a party pooper by making everything sounds so systematic. But having a system will enable you to enjoy the unhealthy food without guilt. If you decide to eat the unhealthy food, just make a plan of how many pieces of bak kwa you are going to eat. Try putting your food in a small bowl to control the quantity. Tell yourself that, once the food in the bowl is done, it’s done.
5. Eat mindfully
Eating mindfully enables you to savor the flavor of the food and become more in tune with your body satiety.
4. Limit your sugary drink
The best choice is to take plain water. Prolong and excessive intake of simple sugar is bad for the teeth, blood sugar and health. Sugar is addictive and sugary drinks make you fat. 1 can of coke has 33g of sugar. According to Health Promotion Board, we should not be taking in more than 40g-55g of sugar per day. Best to stay away from the sugary drinks and can drinks and opt for traditional tea or plain water instead.
3. Don’t watch TV while snacking
When I was a kid, my mum always tells me not to watch the TV when I am eating. It turns out that my mum is right. When you eat while watching TV, you will be distracted. Distracted eating will cause you to eat more.
2. Get active
Are there young kids you can play with? Take this opportunity to bond with them and get active. By moving around and playing, you will be able to move your attention away from the bottomless pit of calories on the table.
1. Indulge in the company, not the comfort food.
Food is not a prerequisite to having a great time. Create meaningful conversations and memories with your friends and relatives. Chinese New Year is about reunion, so why not make this year’s celebration in line with the true spirit of CNY?
1 October 2014. Joy Manning. Apple Cider Vinegar and Health. WebMD.
26 June 2015. Anna Hodgekiss. How the order you eat your food affects your health: Eating protein and veg BEFORE carbs makes you fuller for longer and could help diabetics control their blood sugar. Mail Online.
29 March 2013. Howard LeWine. Distracted eating may add to weight gain. Harvard Health Publications.