SINGAPORE - What’s the harm in eating a few more pieces of bak kwa (dried sweetmeat) or pineapple tarts? Well, just several extra portions could add up to a lot over the whole Chinese New Year season.
“We tell ourselves that we eat them only once a year, hence we take the opportunity to eat more of them,” a dietitian said of the risk of overeating festive snacks.
As the feasting gets into full swing, arm yourself with calorie and nutrition information, and get tips to manage how much you eat.
How many pieces of prawn roll and other CNY goodies should you eat?
Ms Kong Pun Pun, a dietitian with digital health and fitness platform HealthifyMe, gives the low-down on the calorie content of seven Chinese New Year snacks and suggests how one can enjoy them in a healthier way.
One slice of pork bak kwa (50g): 250 calories
High in fat and sodium, pork bak kwa also contains sugar. Limit yourself to half a slice each time and no more than one slice a day.
One piece of nian gao fritter (87g): 177 calories
This is high in sugar and fat as the nian gao is fried using flour and absorbs oil during frying. Nian gao is made from sugar as well as glutinous and white flour, which can cause one’s blood sugar level to spike. Eat no more than one piece a day.
Two pieces of prawn roll (43g): 120 calories
These have a lot of fat as they are deep fried in oil. Eat no more than two to three pieces a day.
One piece of peanut puff (22g): 116 calories
Peanut puffs are high in fat and sugar. Eat no more than two to three pieces a day.
One piece of love letter biscuit (30g): 82 calories
The rolls are made from refined flour and sugar. Eat no more than two pieces a day.
One piece of pineapple tart (20g): 73 calories
Pineapple tarts are high in fat and sugar. Four pieces can contain up to 14 teaspoons of sugar, which is used to caramelise the pineapple into a jam. Limit yourself to two pieces a day.
One piece of honeycomb cookie (18g): 65 calories
These have a lot of fat and are made purely from flour. Limit yourself to one to two honeycombs a day.
How to avoid overeating CNY goodies during festive period
Put your Chinese New Year snacks on a plate instead of eating directly from a container or packet, said a dietitian. This can help to prevent you from overeating.
Use a smaller plate to help slow down your pace of eating. This is helpful when you’re visiting several households or eateries for meals and snacks.
And here’s what another expert said about the strategy of skipping meals ahead of a big CNY feast to reduce the calories consumed.
No fitness and nutrition shortcuts to battling the post-CNY binge bulge
Any weight gain during Chinese New Year can be managed through nutrition and exercise.
“A lot of people tend to overdo cardio and skip meals to lose the excess weight. As much as we want to quickly get back into shape, doing so will not only cause lethargy, but also ruin your metabolism,” said a yoga instructor.
Here’s what you should do instead, said fitness experts.
CNY snack quiz: Does a mandarin orange have more fat than a slice of nian gao?
How long must you swim or run to burn off the calories from eating one piece of bak kwa?
How about one pineapple tart?
Take this quiz to find out more about calorie, sugar and fat content in each of your favourite treats.