Aside from strengthening familial bonds, food is a big part of Chinese New Year, and many of us look forward all year to our favourite CNY snacks.
But the tempting tubs of goodies can make it hard to keep to your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy – so we’ve compiled a guide to help you indulge in moderation.
With Christmas, New Year’s and Chinese New Year all happening in quick succession, it’s certainly been a month of indulgence. One of the most enjoyable parts of the Lunar New Year celebration is the array of traditional delicacies and CNY snacks that are only easily available this time of year. And this year, the long CNY weekend will mean multiple Lou Heis, a plethora of cookies, and cup after cup of sweet drinks.
The key to enjoying the celebrations without paying for it later is moderation. Practice mindful consumption at the CNY snack table, and we’re sure you’ll come out of this weekend feeling good mentally and physically. Here are some things to consider as you nibble on your favourite treats.
These savoury, sauce-covered strips of pure pork deliciousness are a must-have at CNY, but each slice of these bad boys contain up to 300 calories – that’s more than 30 minutes of moderately intense cardio! We’d recommend sharing a slice with your favourite cousin.
These buttery, jam-topped cookies are as delicious as they are rich, with each piece containing over 90 calories. Rather than keeping the jar close to you, limit the number of tarts you eat by putting a few pieces on your plate to savour slowly.
These coconut-y, melt in your mouth cookies give us a serious case of nostalgia. However, unlike our rate of metabolism, the kueh bangkit calorie count has not weakened over the years. Each piece contains up to 20 calories – equivalent to a five-minute walk. Offer to head to the store to grab extra drinks or ice to burn it off.
The most expensive and calorie-rich pastry on the table, kueh lapis is one of our biggest guilty pleasures. Each slice can contain a whopping 200 calories! So instead of gobbling down slice after slice, we recommend eating once slice slowly – layer by layer. It’s also a chance to appreciate the work that goes into making this unique and delicious cake.
Dried Shrimp Rolls
Dried shrimp rolls provide a spicy, salty contrast to the sugar onslaught of the CNY snacks table. However, the rolls are really high in saturated fat and sugar, which translates to a calorie count of 23 per piece. So take your hand out of the jar and practice mindful eating with these addictive treats.
These deceptively thin snacks pack a punch, both in flavour and in calories. Each of these delightful rolls carries over 50 calories – thanks to all the eggs and coconut cream that goes into it. Grab a few of these and you’ll be all fuelled up for the post-party cleanup.
Yu Sheng / Lou Hei
The Lou Hei combines our two favourite parts of Chinese New Year – food and bonding with family and friends. But amid the well wishes, the enthusiastic tossing and the cheers among loved ones, we hardly ever ponder how many calories are contained in a single serving. Well even though the dish is essentially a raw vegetable salad topped with yummy salmon, the sauces add fats and sugar to bring the calorie count up to as high as 500. So maybe this year, go easy on the sauces or opt for healthier options like olive oil-based sauces, fruit-based sauces or lemongrass-infused oils.
It’s possible to enjoy CNY while eating mindfully and keeping your health goals in check. Shift your focus to having engaging conversations with your relatives and friends. Prioritise home-made meals and snacks that have been prepared with lots of love and care just for you over store-bought, mass-produced treats. Here’s wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year!
Which of these CNY snacks can’t you resist? Share your favourite traditional treats in the comments section.
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