Healthy Eating - 5 Easy Tips During Lunar New Year's Feast
Although Vietnamese cuisine among the healthiest cuisines, Tet (Lunar New Year) is the time for all family members to get together while enjoying traditional dishes. All these sumptuous feasts and alcohol consumption can make you gain unwanted weight this Lunar New Year.
|A traditional food tray for Tet. Photo: Internet|
The 2022 Lunar New Year holiday will last from Jan. 31 through Feb. 4. Despite changes in Tet dishes, for many families, traditional dishes, such as banh chung (square sticky rice cake), gio lua (lean pork paste), thit dong (frozen meat stew), canh mang (bamboo sprout soup) and nem (fried spring roll), have always been an integral part of Tet banquet.
You know what the additional calories can do to you: Weight gain. And you only need just a week of festive bingeing for the unhealthy weight gain and increase in body fat to show up.
Aside from weight gain, the high sugar content in Lunar New Year candies may cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Here are tips on healthier ways to celebrate Lunar New Year.
|When cooking and preparing foods, use salt sparingly and reduce use of salty sauces and condiments (like soy sauce, stock or fish sauce).|
Exercise portion control at your feast
When filling your plate at the restaurant or at home, select larger portions of healthy dishes such as vegetables and white meat like poultry and fish which are generally lower in fats than red meat, trim meat of visible fat and limit the consumption of processed meats.
People tend to consume larger portions from big plates, which may lead to overeating. So if you're sitting down to a hotpot dinner, ask for a smaller plate to control portion size as it gives an illusion of a fuller plate, making you take less.
Eat slowly and chewing the food longer causes better digestion and assimilation of nutrients, without overloading the digestive system.
For snacks, choose vegetables, unsalted nuts, and fresh fruit, rather than foods that are high in sugars, fats or salt.
|The colourful, multi-compartment box filled with sweets, fruits, nuts and seeds is a fixture in households during Lunar New Year. Photo: Internet|
Limit your sweets intake
Trying out different kinds of Lunar New Year cookies, cakes, and sweets may often lead to excessive sugar consumption, a common cause of weight gain.
Avoid giving sugary foods to children.
Fruits with the most sugar (to be careful with): lotus seeds, sweet potato, taro, banana, grapes, cherries and mango.
Limit liquid calories
It’s important to take note of the amount of “hidden” sugars that can be in processed food and drinks. For example, a single can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar.
Limit intake of sweets and sugary drinks such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices and juice drinks, liquid and powder concentrates, flavoured water, energy and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea and coffee and flavored milk drinks.
|Alcohol and soft drinks contribute a significant amount of sugar and calories to your diet, which can cause weight gain. Photo: Internet|
Avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use
Alcohol is not a part of a healthy diet, but in many cultures New Year’s celebrations are associated with heavy alcohol consumption.
Remember, less alcohol consumption is always better for health and it is perfectly OK not to drink.
We often mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking more water can help to make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, and curb you from overeating.
Fruits that are hydrating and less sweet: berries, watermelon, melons, citruses (oranges, pomelo, lemon, kumquat), apple, and star fruit.
If, despite your efforts, you’ve over-stuffed yourself again, don’t make the mistake of fasting or skipping meals for the rest of the day or the following day. A study found that not only will eating one meal per day increase levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, it can also raise your fasting blood sugar and delay your insulin response.
Instead, get up after the meal and enjoy a stroll rather than sit down.
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