The main highlight of the Chinese New Year is gathering with your beloved family and friends and catching up over deliciously addictive New Year treats. But let's be real, sometimes the variety of delicious food and snacks provided throughout the days of celebration tend to let us overindulge!
As a reference, a moderately active 30 years old Malaysian women weighing 65kg requires 2180 kcal per day. By exceeding this guide by 500 kcal a day, she could easily gain 0.5 kg to 1 kg in just a week!
2 slices of Bak Kwa, for example, contains 49g of sugar. With the recommended daily intake of sugar by the WHO at 25g (6 teaspoons of sugar), a seemingly innocent snack of Bak Kwa is already double of what you should be consuming in a day! This doesn’t even include the sugar from all the other foods you will be consuming throughout the day.
On the other hand, mandarin oranges make a great snack for Chinese New Year. While the sugar level for mandarin oranges per serving may not seem low, the sugars are natural occurring and other factors like the water content, low glycemic index, the vitamins and minerals make it a much healthier option to consume. Meanwhile, other snacks which are processed are rich in calories, sugar and fats and low in nutritional value.
So How Can I Snack Healthier?
Sometimes is hard to entirely abstain yourself from all the festive goodies especially while everyone is pigging out in front of you. So here are some tips to help you snack healthier over Chinese New Year:
1) Portion Control Is Key
Be aware and control your portion sizes. While the festive seasons are a well-deserved occasion to treat yourself to goodies, eat them in moderation. 1-2 pineapple tarts won’t do much harm, but a whole jar could well exceed your daily sugar intake.
2) Choose Wisely
Look out for healthier options that are natural and unprocessed.
Try these: walnut, cashew, pistachio, raisin, sun dried apricot, sunflower seed, watermelon seed, red date and goji berries. Other snacks including; seaweed, seaweed crackers, green pea cookies, traditional roll oat cookies.
Avoid these: deep fried snacks such as, prawn cracker, arrowroot chips, Bak Kwa and fried Nian Gao.
Gong Xi Fa Cai, wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead.
Disclaimer: All of the nutritional information for snacks and cookies in this article are based on averages, and are meant as a guide only.
World Health Organization. (2015). WHO guideline : sugar consumption recommendation. [online] Available at: www.who.int/mediacentre/sugar-guideline/