Five ways to keep healthy over Chinese New Year feasting
Enjoy your snacks guilt-free in moderation.
With the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities just around the corner, you might find yourself worrying about that weight gain while feasting on those irresistible snacks at every place you go.
But instead of avoiding your favourite foods altogether, especially in a time of feasting, here are five things you can do so you can continue to indulge in them during Chinese New Year while maintaining your health.
1. Practise mindful eating
It is easy to forget how much you are eating when your mind is distracted on something else. This often leads to overeating as we do not register how much we are consuming when we are engrossed in a television show or focused on a conversation instead.
At the dinner table, avoid multitasking during your meals and focus solely on your food instead. This can be done by slowing down and chewing your food more thoroughly, which stops you from overindulging as you realise your own feeling of fullness easily.
If you can’t seem to put your snacks down, switch to your non-dominant hand to snack instead. This method was found to reduce overeating because it is inconvenient and disruptive to your usual eating habits, which makes you conscious of what you are consuming.
2. Get creative on exercise
While you might not be able to squeeze in a full gym session during a packed day of house visits, you can get creative on exercise by incorporating extra movements throughout the day.
Boost your daily step count by taking the stairs or taking a short walk in between destinations wherever possible. At visits, avoid prolonged sitting by volunteering to help out with an errand or standing up to speak to relatives in between.
Keep track of your step count using a health application or with a smart watch, and if you are up for a challenge, you can aim to hit 10,000 steps in a day.
Clocking these extra steps will not lead to instant weight loss, but it is an easy way to ensure that your Chinese New Year is not a sedentary one.
3. Setting a “healthy eating” rule
If it is a carb-heavy meal ahead, incorporate a serving of fruits or vegetables into at least one meal for the day to make up for the hearty meal mentioned.
You can also set personal limits on your consumption – like one can of soft drink daily – and switch to a healthier alternative once that limit has been reached for the day.
Can’t bear to avoid your favourite dishes at a feast? Use a smaller serving plate so that it appears as if you are eating more than you actually are. Picking out smaller portions gives you the chance to indulge in each dish while satisfying your taste buds – all in moderation.
4. Cut back on sugar
While it is tempting to down a can of cola, the high sugar and high calorie drink only adds to your daily sugar intake on top of other rich foods that you are already consuming for the day.
Stay hydrated with water instead of your usual sugary beverage or alcohol during this festive season. Opt for a healthier alternative – like lemon water, sparkling water or tea – and be mindful of what you indulge in throughout the day.
5. Don’t go on an empty stomach
It is easy to overindulge if you arrive at the dinner table with an empty stomach. Every dish will look extra delicious and tempting, which forces you to forget your portion control principles you had in mind.
Drink a cup of water or eat a light snack to fill yourself up before a large meal and you might find yourself eating less or feeling full faster to help reduce overeating.
The same principle applies if you are out shopping, as hungry shoppers were found to spend more on items they do not necessarily like or need. If you are looking for ways to shop wisely and stay within your budget, remember to fill yourself up before heading out.
As long as you indulge in moderation and eat mindfully, maintaining your health over Chinese New Year can be fun and easy. Enjoy!