The Chinese New Year festive period can play havoc with anyone’s diet plans, particularly with so many festive foodie catch-ups. These six easy steps will make sure you have a healthy Year of the Monkey — whatever the festival.
1. Begin the Year Right with Healthy Yu Sheng
The raw fish and vegetables in yu sheng are low on calories. Hold back a little though when you are topping up with sugar-laden pickles and calorie-filled sauces and oils.
2. Try a Simple Steamboat
Is it your turn to host the annual reunion dinner? Steamboat is a crowd-pleaser, but try a soya bean-based broth instead. It allows the taste of the fresh ingredients to shine through. Add more vegetables, tofu and fresh fish instead of processed ingredients like sausages.
Alternatively, learn some healthy and hassle-free recipes to make hosting easier, not just for this festive season but future parties, too.
3. Maximise your Mandarin Oranges
It’s easy to grab an 1.5 litre orange soda bottle off the supermarket shelf, but why purchase fizzy drinks when you have an overflowing box of fresh mandarin oranges in the house? For a healthier and waste-free alternative, blend or juice those naturally sweet oranges and add a dash of soda water.
4 Add Fruits to the Snack Table
While you are working on those mandarin oranges, slice up some fresh fruits too for your snack table. That will make it easier for you to snack on healthy snacks instead of reaching for more fattening options like pineapple tarts and bak kwa.
It will give your guests a more varied snack spread, too. You can also try baking a less calorie-rich version of the pineapple tarts or other desserts that can come in handy for other festive gatherings.
5 Avoid Awkward Questions with Food
That fresh fruit spread may even come in handy with the nosy questions that often come up during Lunar New Year family gatherings, such as “when are you getting married?” or “when is the next baby, ah?”
Turn the awkwardness into a game for yourself. Each time you are queried on your life choices, make a healthy one and reach for a piece of fruit. It might even buy you some time and allow you to avoid answering under the pretence of having your mouth full!
6 Bring the Kids Out
When the questioning persists, use the excuse of bringing your younger cousins out of the house. A game of tag, cycling or just kicking a football around will help you sweat off a few calories and score brownie points with your relatives, if not the in-laws.
With the right lifestyle choices, you can still achieve your New Year resolutions, while also taking pleasure in all the festive eating and celebrations. Whether your aim is to lose more weight, be more active or to be at a more comfortable position with your finances, what’s important is to plan ahead and make it easier to reach those goals in the Year of the Monkey.