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How to Eat All the Lunar New Year Goodies You Want without Gaining Weight
Balance your daily calories with our handy chart to eat all the Lunar New Year goodies you want without gaining weight, and find out which sneaky culprit could be behind those extra kilos!
The Lunar New Year is fast approaching, and with it comes all the temptations of those delicious, once-a-year CNY goodies. How do you enjoy your favourite shrimp rolls and pineapple tarts without overflowing with prosperity and rolls of belly fat? Especially when you’re supposed to be getting in shape for your wedding?
The answer lies not in a magic pill or miracle diet, but in simple math. You can have your kueh lapis and eat it too, but if you don’t want to gain weight during Lunar New Year, the first thing you should do is calculate your daily recommended calorie intake. Find out how much you should be eating to maintain your current weight, and then you will know how many pieces of those delicious pineapple tarts you should be reaching for.
For example, according to the Health Promotion Board’s calorie counter, a 55kg woman, aged between 25-35, who is lightly active, needs 1750 calories a day to maintain her current weight. Based on this information, and nutritional content values from My Fitness Pal, we’ve calculated how much a serving of the more popular Lunar New Year goodies contributes to daily calorie needs to guide your snacking. Of course, nutritional content differs for each individual brand and for homemade treats, so check the nutritional information of your particular Lunar New Year goodie for more accuracy.
Each of these popular goodies clocks in at around 10% of daily calorie needs per serving! To avoid weight gain, stay within your daily calorie limit by restricting yourself to two or three servings a day, or sampling goodies instead of taking one serving. Often, simply being aware of the amount of calories, fat, and sugar you’re consuming will prevent you from snacking mindlessly. Eat proper, nutritious meals before heading out, so you don’t arrive hungry at the goodies table. Relieve your sweet tooth with healthier snacks like mandarin oranges or dried fruit instead of reaching for the high-fat and high-sugar treats. At only 63 calories and 3% of your daily needs, a large mandarin orange is a great source of vitamin C and A, and potassium. Nuts are a good source of protein and healthy fat, and a 50g handful will only cost you 10% of your daily limit at 183 calories.
Okay, so we all know bak kwa and buttery cookies are fattening. But a sneaky culprit of Lunar New Year weight gain is actually the sugary drinks you consume at every house. Even a small packet will cost you around 100 calories, so three packets already fulfil 20% of your calorie needs! Plus, they’re high in sugar, like most Lunar New Year goodies, making them unhealthy, and bad for your hair and skin.
Besides cutting down on your calories, which could tempt you to cut out nutritious food in favour of these once-a-year treats, consider upping your workout game to compensate. Burn off 200 calories or more with a 30-minute jog or an hour-long belly-dancing class, or work off 275 calories with just half an hour in the pool. If you don’t have a lot of time to spare, try these quick 20-minute workouts or follow along with these 29 fun workout videos to burn off calories from right at home.
Don’t have time to hit the gym after Lunar New Year visitations? Try to increase your activity level during the visits themselves. Instead of sitting at the mahjong table for four hours, spend some time walking around and mingling, or climb the stairs to your aunt’s apartment instead of taking the lift.
Feature image by Foodie Baker, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Yu sheng by tbSMITH, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Pineapple tarts by yat fai ooi, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.
Soda cans by frankieleon, licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Love letters by Chin, Singapore, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.
Bak kwa by Alpha, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Mini spicy spring rolls by Su-Lin, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Kueh lapis by Foodie Baker, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Nian gao by Juliana Phang, licensed under CC BY 2.0.