During the Lunar New Year period, various delicious festive food will be served. But most New Year foods are high in salt or sugar, so overeating is not beneficial. How can we eat happily and healthily during the Lunar New Year?
Chinese puddings have traditionally been noted for their high fat, sugar, or salt content. Chinese pudding with coconut milk has the greatest calorie, fat and sugar content among all popular Chinese puddings. A serving of Chinese coconut milk custard weighing 100g contains 300kcal, which is equivalent to the energy provided by 1.5 bowls of rice. It also contains 12g of total fat, about equivalent to 2.5 teaspoons of oil, and 21g of sugar, which is approximately equivalent to 5 teaspoons of sugar. In addition, both golden pudding and Chinese pudding produced with cane sugar have a high calorie and sugar content.
While savoury Chinese puddings like radish pudding or taro pudding may not be particularly sweet, they do have a more high salt level. A serving of 100g of radish or taro custard typically includes approximately 400 to 500 mg of sodium. Consuming 4-5 slices of savoury custard would result in a salt intake above 30% of the recommended daily amount. When comparing different options, it is worth noting that healthier Chinese puddings include of water chestnut pudding, steamed radish pudding and Osmanthus flower sweet pudding.
|Chinese Pudding (per 100g)
|Coconut Milk Chinese Pudding
|Chinese pudding with cane sugar
|Red date pudding
|Pan fried taro pudding
|Steamed taro pudding
|Pan fried water chestnut pudding
|Pan fried radish pudding
|Water Chestnut pudding
|Steamed radish pudding
|Osmanthus flower sweet pudding
It is recommended use healthier cooking techniques, such as steaming or pan-frying with minimal oil, while reheating the puddings, as this aids in minimising fat consumption. Prevent from excessively incorporating condiments with high salt content, such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, or chilli soybean paste, when consuming the puddings. It is important to regulate the amount of custard consumed, as about 2-3 slices of radish or taro custard already have the same number of calories as one bowl of rice. Vegetarian Chinese pudding and reduced sugar pudding have recently become available in the market. Those who desire to maintain good health may consider trying these new flavours.
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Lunar New Year foods such as Chinese Crispy Pastry Dumplings and turnip cake are high in calories, and overeating will quickly lead to obesity. Eating these snacks during meal hours may reduce the desire to enjoy a regular meal. Remember, less is more! Lunar New Year food should be arranged as snacks between meals and not replace regular meals.
When eating Lunar New Year food, remember to share it with family members. Parents can also buy small and individually packaged snacks to control the amount of food children eat. Children should not eat more than 150 kcal of snacks each time, which is roughly equivalent to two pieces of steamed sticky rice cakes, one and a half slices of fried moist rice cakes, three fragments of steamed turnip cakes, three sesame or peanut glutinous rice balls, three sesame cookies, etc.
Don't underestimate other fried foods like sesame doughnuts, crispy pastry dumplings, arrowhead chips and taro balls, as the proportion of trans fat will increase after frying. One taro ball (~27.5 g) has 145 kcal calories, and eating two pieces is equivalent to about one bowl of white rice.
Parents can put healthy New Year's treats in the candy box, including plain nuts, seeds and dried fruits (without added oil, salt and sugar), and put fewer candies with high sugar, such as chocolate or fruit juice candies. When eating pastries, you can steam them or reheat them in a microwave oven instead of decocting them, and try not to eat them with sauce.
Tips to stay healthy eating during CNY:
- Be aware of your diet
- Limit alcohol intake
- Drink enough water
- Replace traditional Lunar New Year food with healthy food
- Arrange exercises to your daily schedule