How you and your guests can keep the kilos off this CNY period
Mind Your Body, The Straits Times
By Joyce Teo
SINGAPORE - Eating healthy may be far from your mind during the Chinese New Year period but if you overeat, you may end up with a permanent weight gain.
It all boils down to portion control and wise food options if you do not want to add inches to your girth during the Chinese New Year celebrations
"A weight gain of ½kg during the festivities might not seem a lot, but in the long run over 10 years, you would have gained 5kg. That is, unless you balance out the weight gain with some physical activity," said Ms Denise Tan, a nutritionist with the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition at the Health Promotion Board (HPB).
"Chinese New Year goodies are often packed with fat and sugar, which means they contain a high amount of calories," she said. Nevertheless, she added that a few days of indulgence for healthy individuals is not much of a concern as long as one practises portion control and make wise food choices.
There are healthier alternatives out there you can buy for your family and guests. Do not grab the first thing you see. Take your time to look around and read the food labels to find out more about the product you want to buy.
Here are some suggestions for items, most of which can be found at the stalls in Chinatown, which we visited with Ms Janie Chua, a senior dietitian of clinical services (allied health) at National Healthcare Group Polyclinics.
1. DRIED FRUITS
Pick up dried fruits, such as cranberries, blueberries, apricots and raisins, to complement your stash of snacks as these are healthier alternatives to say, pineapple tarts, said Ms Chua.
However, not all dried fruit products are created equal. One to watch out for is banana chips. "They are deep-fried and usually coated with sugar syrup or honey," said Ms Chua.
A 100g serving of banana chips has 510 calories and 14.9g of saturated fat, which may raise the level of low-density lipoprotein, or "bad" cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.
Calorie counts of CNY goodies
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(Photos: ST, TNP, Internet, The Star/ANN, Baker's Well, Goodwood Park, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital)