Tips for healthier eating this Chinese New Year
One of our favourite times of the year is approaching as we get to celebrate family, wealth and good food in abundance. As we get started with preparing meals at home or eating out, let’s inculcate mindfulness to the dishes and snacking to enjoy it all the same, just healthier.
Here are our 5 tips to help you eat well during this Chinese New Year:
Bump up your fibre
Fibre in your diet not only keeps you regular, it also helps you feel fuller longer. Additionally, fibre helps control blood sugar and lowers cholesterol levels.
For homecooked Chinese New Year feasts and snacks, try these solutions to increase your dietary fibre intake:
- Cook your rice with Alchemy Fibre™ For Rice to lower the GI of white rice and increase your dietary fibre by 10 times
- Bake your treats by substituting 15% of flour with Alchemy Fibre ™ For Flour to increase dietary fibre (3-5x more than regular recipes) as well as the potential to reduce the use of fat in recipes to yield the same great tasting bakes
Snacking while house visiting? Mandarin oranges represent luck and prosperity as the pronunciation of its Chinese character – jú (桔) – sounds similar to the word for luck (吉). Also, its colour, orange, is the closest to gold. Mandarins are rich in vitamin C (about 40mg from a small mandarin) and relatively low in calories. They also contain fibre, so make sure to snack on mandarins in between some of the more indulgent snacks.
Cut the seasoning
Good nutrition is about balance, and that means not getting too much of certain ingredients, such as salt. Sodium is known to increase blood pressure, which raises the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Ways to reduce salt intake:
- Avoid overly processed foods. Many common CNY ingredients like Chinese sausages and Bak Kwa are heavily seasoned
- At the grocery store, look for products that say “low sodium”
- Instead of using salt, add delicious flavour to your CNY dishes by using spices such as the five-spice powder, pepper, garlic and onion powder.
Drink plenty of water
Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins. Inadequate hydration causes tiredness and low energy. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
Ensure at least 2 litres of water a day spread out throughout the day to promote healthy food intake and digestion. When you drink enough, you tend not to overeat too.
Skip drinks with added sugars
High levels of sugar lurk in many seemingly healthy drinks, alongside soft drinks famously known for their sugar content.
Healthier alternatives include no-sugar-added choices like water, seltzer water, unsweetened coffee or tea and even 100% fruit juice in moderation can give your body the hydration it needs without any added sugars. So when you go house visiting, be selective about the drinks offered to you.
As we pay attention to what we’re eating and when, we can continue to enjoy the experience and have the occasional treat. Mindful eating means being fully attentive to food — as we buy, prepare, serve, and consume it.
Some ways we can adopt mindful eating include:
- Avoid eating based on your hunger as you may be tempted to eat more than you need
- Start with small portions and increase gradually if needed
- Appreciate your food
At the end of the day, surviving the rounds of CNY feasting comes down to these tips for healthier eating this Chinese New Year: eat in moderation, choose healthier options and stay active during and beyond CNY to work off those extra calories. With that, we wish you all a prosperous and happy Chinese New Year.