Friday, February 5, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016 | 8 Healthy But Still Happy Eating Tips

With Chinese New Year {CNY} season, everywhere you look, that yummy bak kwa or pineapple tart seems to be calling your name. Resistance seems futile and at the back of your head you just think - one more won't hurt, I'll go back to my exercise / diet plans after CNY.

At least, that what my stomach makes me think (/ε\*) My head knows better though, especially after half a year of grueling personal fitness training.

{source: Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.}

It's a sad, sad truth but eating one small piece of that rich, buttery kueh lapis means I'd have to climb 100 floors of an HDB block, while 1 small piece of mouthwatering pineapple tart means 50 floors. Can you believe that??!

That's not to say I won't be enjoying my CNY goodies though. No, I'm still very much a foodie at heart and plan on keeping my holiday spirits high and feasting on my fave festive treats {especially since Jen gave me the go-ahead to add 400 calories to my daily intake for 3 days to spike my metabolism hehe}.. but by making healthier food choices so that I won't have to suffer too much after the holiday season or let all my fitness training efforts so far go to waste haha.

You can easily gain 0.5 - 1kg with an additional 500kcal per day of food intake in a week. But losing that 0.5 - 1kg of fat is no joke!! And mind you, CNY season usually lasts at least 2 weeks... 

So here are my 8 Healthy But Still Happy Chinese New Year Eating Tips which I want to follow, and hope will encourage you to celebrate CNY without compromising your health and wellness too. 

1. Fill Up on Healthy Food First
When you are hungry, you may tend to eat more of whatever is in front of you, and that probably means all of the CNY goodies laid out on the table for guests. Fill up on healthy food e.g. fruits, vegetables, protein bars first before going to 拜年.

2. Look for Labels
Choose food with the Health Promotion Board's Healthier Choice Symbol as these food indicate healthier options which are lower in sugar, salt or fat. Some are also higher in dietary fibre and calcium compared to similar products within the same food category.

3. Ration Your Treats
Don't eat directly from the container, but take out small portions of the treats you want to eat to prevent overeating. Use the above infographic as a guide on the calories for each treat {and this calories calculator for your estimated daily intake} to know how to portion properly! Moderation is the key.

4. Use Small Plates
Research has shown that smaller plates can help reduce consumption. You tend to dish out less with smaller plates, and by extension, eat less! 

5. Eat Slowly
Nibble and savour each treat to allow your stomach the time it needs to digest and for you to feel full, hence preventing overeating.

6. Let the Conversations Flow
When you're chatting with your family and friends, you'll be less likely to indulge in mindless eating (*^^*) Talk, be merry, and share your festive treats! After all, that's what these CNY gatherings are about,  right??

7. Drink Lots of Plain Water
Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to turn up your fat-burning capacity as it boosts your metabolism, cleanse your body of waste from the feasting and acts as an appetite suppressant. Not to mention, it is also a healthier choice compared to the sweet drinks or alcohol.

8. Keep Active
Nobody wants to sweat & exercise during the holiday merry-making, however if you don't want to get more prosperous around your waistline, you'd want to. It doesn't have to be a time-consuming workout or really going up & down your HDB block, but just short high-intensity interval training e.g. Tabata or running around with your kids at the playground {see my Weekly Singapore  Playground series for ideas!} will do too. 

But whatever it is, even if we drop the ball and over-indulge, don't beat yourself up over it. We're human, after all.

And oh, since it's the festive season, here is a bonus tip,

9. Stay Off Social Media
So crazy coming from me as a blogger, but especially if you follow food or lifestyle bloggers, stay off Instagram / Facebook / Twitter etc. as there will surely be posts of yummilious CNY food throughout the day that will make you crave and reach out for them, even if you're not truly hungry!!! If your will-power is weak, don't tempt yourself further by looking at those posts. Out of sight, out of mind.

P.S. If you're still looking to buy CNY goodies, check out some of our family favourites at Jia Confectionery and Tai Chong Kok


Unknown said...

Great tips! My take is that if you eat fairly healthy most of the year, it's ok to indulge during festive season :)

Danessa Foo said...

I like the tips on using smaller plates and rationing... I agree that we tend to forget that it's about connecting with family and not just eating :P

Hello, Mrs Tan said...

"Ration your treats" sounds like a good idea. I have this terrible habit of snacking from the bottle and for CNY itself... I actually ordered 6 bottles of pineapple tarts!! REALLY FATDIEME lolol.

Here's wishing you and your family a wonderful CNY!!!

An Apel a Day said...

Those are great tips! I drink so much water! Especially when I teach. I talk so much, so I drink a lot of water to hydrate my throat.

May said...

WOAH That's a lot of STEPS to CLIMB! hahahah Since I'm underweight, I shall just go ahead with my indulgence =p

Phoebe said...

I'm cutting down all those listed above and even on packet sugared drinks. the best way is not to buy and our family only eat what was given to us.

Theresa Mahoney said...

My gosh, that really helps put it into perspective how much you have to work to be able to indulge. I wouldn't be sampling any of those treats lol.

Katherine said...

Great tips! I hope I don't put on weight eating those goodies!

Stacy said...

Arggh those statistics are just horrible! How to find a building high enough to work off a whole canister of pineapple cookies?? (Which is what I kinda plan to polish off hehe).

mail4rosey said...

Holidays are so hard when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. Hurrah for short spikes in calories though, esp. when they are offered with perfect timing. ;)

Unknown said...

Thanks for this timely reminder! Kueh Lapis is a personal fav but didn't know I have to work so hard to burn off the calories after!

Cascia Talbert said...

Great tips! I always gain a few pounds during the holidays. It is hard to avoid it.

Unknown said...

HAhahaha I like that last one! It's funny how our resolve wavers when you look at Instagram with full of glazed pineapple tarts.

Waiwai Leung said...

Great tips! Happy CNY!

Madeline Heng said...

Haha yes I will try to lay it off! Have been shrinking my tummy, hope I will have the will power to keep it up! Jiayou to us all! :)

Masshole Mommy said...

Loving your tips! I always try to eat before I go to a party so I am less hungry when I get there.

Grace said...

Kue Lapis = 100 floors??!!! No, no, no!! You just broke my heart with that news! LOL!

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