Chinese New Year (CNY) is the time where we gather around happily with relatives and friends to celebrate this spring festival. All kinds of festive food and delicacies flow in endlessly. Just as we think we survived the first few days of CNY, we already gain weight unknowingly!
So how to keep our festive mood high but weight in control during CNY?
- Plan ahead
From reunion meals to visiting, plan ahead in order not to overeat. Opt for healthier dishes when having reunion meal at restaurants or cook healthy meal if having it at home. We can also use the food pyramid as our portion guide. Limit intakes and have small portions of the foods that are on the top of pyramid. Those are the foods high in fat, sugar and salt.
- Eat in moderation
Most of the families are believed to have a big feast featuring seafood, meat and lots of delicious dishes for reunion dinner. While enjoying the tasty dishes, let’s not forget to eat in moderation. It is advisable that you follow the healthy plate portion. Half plate of vegetables, ¼ plate of meat and ¼ plate of carbohydrate. You can also choose to eat steam fish or chicken instead of red meat like lamb or beef. Another thing to remember is chew your food and eat slowly. It allows your stomach the time it needs to digest gives you the feeling of satiety, hence preventing overeating.
- Beware of the sweet “trap”
There must be some or at least 1 specific goodies that you crave and once you start, you cannot seem to stop. You be like “I’ll just take a little”, but you will eventually found out you took more than you think! It is the unconscious nibbling and sipping that can really add up to your calorie intake. If then, try avoiding the snack totally. If not, one of the better ways is to choose wisely. Pick peanuts or nuts such as almond or those, but remember in small amount.
Sometimes, you just can’t avoid taking soft drinks or sweet beverages when visiting. Even though you don’t eat snacks much, you will find you’ve gain weight after several intakes of drinks! This is due to high sugar content in those drinks. A better option would be asking for a glass of plain water or simply just wisely reduce the calorie intake by choosing “light” beers, diet soft drinks, “no sugar added/ “less sugar” beverages or add extra ice to limit volume intake while diluting them down.
- Avoid making visits on empty stomach
When you are hungry, you may tend to eat without self-control especially when the table is full of attractive festive goods during a visit. This, however, sets you up for overeating and snacking too much! As mentioned above, many of the goodies are typically calorie-dense and might contribute to your weight gain. To avoid this lack of self-control, try fill up your tummy with healthy fibre-rich foods like fruits or yogurt bar before you do a visit.
- Stay hydrated
Water would be your best friend during CNY too. Your body can mistake thirst as hunger, even if you’re mildly dehydrated, making you to reach for another bite of snacks. So before heading to any visits, make sure to drink a glass of water. As water contains zero calories, it may keep your weight in check. It is also important to drink lots of water throughout the long day of eating during CNY because it helps to flush out the wastes accumulated from feasting.
- Stay active
Although you will just want to lay back and relax throughout CNY, playing mah-jong or card games, adding some physical activity during the holiday tend to be a good choice for staying slim. Perhaps a family walk after meal might help. Just don’t stay around and move your body!
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