Chinese New Year is undoubtedly my favourite time of the year. The streets are bursting with celebration, and even in the wee hours of the night, people are still shopping for food in preparation of the reunion dinner. More than any other time of the year, we get to spend time together with our families and loved ones.
Then there is the food. Pineapple tarts, spring rolls, kueh bangkit, the list of irresistible goodies goes on and on. As we hop from relative to relative, we nibble away constantly at these deceptively harmless little snacks – what harm can one more pineapple tart do?
But by the time the celebrations are over, we will realize that we have piled on the kilos, and perhaps need to buy more clothes because we cannot pull up the jeans zipper any longer!
Remember that prevention is better than cure..
Here are some tips to help you survive, or rather prevent, The Chinese New Year Binge.
1. Have a Big, Protein Packed Breakfast
A good breakfast to start the day, high in protein (eggs, dairy) will help to keep your cravings at bay for the rest of the day. Studies have consistently shown that regular healthy breakfasts help you stick o your diet plans better.
2. Choose Your Snacks Wisely
While sitting around at your relative’s place, refrain from instinctively reaching for the glistening Bak Kwa. Instead, munch on melon seeds, or nuts instead. Melon seeds require you to remove the outer covering, hence slowing down your rate of consumption. Nuts are a healthier alternative compared to pineapple tarts. You can also peel some Mandarin Oranges to eat instead.
3. Limit the Servings by Using a Small Plate
One useful trick is to pour the Chinese New Year Goodies out onto a small plate, instead of reaching for the whole tin of Love Letters. For this to work, you need to stop after finishing what is on your plate, of course!
4. Sit Away From the Goodies
Our cravings are very much triggered off by visual cues. Studies have shown that looking at a buffet spread makes you more likely to refill your plate. Similarly, staring at the feast of sweets in front of you will inevitably end up in you reaching for one too many Shrimp Roll.
5. Don’t Forget to Include the Drinks
A 250ml packet of Pokka Green Tea, served commonly during visiting, contains 80 calories; A can of beer contains about 150, while a can of Coca Cola, about 140. Try to recall how many packets of green tea and cans of coke you consumed during your visits last year, and you will know what I mean.
Be mindful of the number of sweetened drinks you are consuming. Ask for iced water instead of packet drinks.
6. Don’t Neglect the Workouts
We all know that by the 10th house you visit, you will want to take a breather. Take the opportunity to plan your workouts in between your visits. Chinese New Year festivities stretches over a few days. It is good to still continue your gym routine to maintain your energy balance.
7. Start Counting
If you want to beat them, you need to know everything about them, especially how many calories each one of these snacks contain. Remember that it takes 3500 calories extra a week to put on 1 pound, meaning 15 pieces of Bak Kwa, or 22 pieces of Pinapple Tarts is all you need!
Here is a list of some of the commonly found snacks during Chinese New Year for you to start counting, and stop piling on the kilos.
Serving:: 1 piece (57g)
Serving: 5 pieces (20g)
Serving: 3 pieces (20g)
Serving: 2 pieces (40g)
Shrimp Spring Roll
Serving: 10 pieces (45g)