Then, we return home with bulging bellies as an overwhelming feeling of guilt washes over us. We pledge determinedly to end this bad habit before the next Chinese New Year — but this vicious cycle continues. After all, who can resist the temptation of those sinful buttery pastries?
However, many of us fail to see the long-term impact of our annual Chinese New Year binge — the overload of calories, fat and sugar contribute to a higher risk of obesity and heart disease.
Since a picture speaks a thousand words, here’s one to help you better visualise the consequences. Brace yourselves…
Afraid yet? While there definitely is no fun in being a worrywart during the holiday, it would be wise to look for healthier alternatives- and I have just the perfect snack ideas! Read on to find out how to replace these classic Chinese New Year delicacies with guilt-free snacks.
Yu Sheng vs Salad
It goes without saying that Yu Sheng is the perfect embodiment of Chinese New Year. The colourrful shredded vegetables might make everything seem well and good. There are so many vegetables, it’s almost like eating a salad! However, things are not as rosy as they seem. The plum sauce and oil means that a typical serving of Yu Sheng contains almost the same number of calories as a main meal.
While you don’t have to miss out on the cheer that comes with the tossing of Yu Sheng, you can simply pack a salad bowl with smoked salmon to munch on. Just add a handful of almonds for some crunch, and voila! You now have a your own version of the Yu Sheng — only that yours is healthy and packed with loads of vitamins!
However, if you are still reluctant to give up your favourite Yu Sheng, simply substitute the plum sauce with maple syrup, and the golden flour pillows with walnuts. And most importantly, cut down on the oil!
Pineapple Tarts vs Dried Pineapple
Here comes everyone’s absolute favourite — pineapple tarts. With just the right amount of salty and sweet, you just can’t help but reach for more. However, you should remember this before you reach for these sinful snacks — three measly pineapple tarts add up to a whopping total of 300 calories (approximately the same as one bowl of rice), and contains five teaspoons of sugar.
For a healthier alternative, simply slice up a pineapple and place them on buttered toast for the same great taste. Or if you’re too busy, you can snack on freeze dried pineapples like the one from Nature’s All Foods. You can get your hands on these through Vitacost, and if you do so through this online shopping site Shopback, you can enjoy 4% cashback!
Bak Kwa vs Grilled Chicken Breast
Barbecued pork is the bane of all our diets during Chinese New Year — oily and charred to perfection, it is almost impossible to turn down this sinful snack when offered. However, to burn off just one piece of Bak Kwa, one has to brisk walk for 100 minutes! I don’t know about you, but that certainly does not sound appealing to me. To save yourself from the torture of exercise, opt for this healthier alternative — grilled chicken breasts in barbecue sauce, which packs a punch of protein as well. You still get that smoky barbecue flavor, so you are certainly not missing out on anything!
Kueh Bangkit vs Almond Biscuit
These bite sized melt in your mouth cookies are the first to disappear every Chinese New Year. However, these are made with coconut milk, which is high in saturated fat. Therefore, a healthier choice would be these almond biscuits from Almondina. Almondina’s biscuits are all-natural with no added fat or salt, and only contain 0.3g of saturated fat in 4 cookies. Talk about guilt-free snacking!
Although healthy eating is a goal that all of us should aim to sustain, there is certainly no harm in indulging in a few of our favourite Chinese New Year goodies. After all, moderation is key! What are your favourite healthy Chinese New Year snacks? Share them with us in the comments below and let’s spread the love for healthy eating!
5. Cantonese Peanut Puffs vs Sunflower Seeds
These mini puffs are filled with finely chopped peanuts and sugar. It is an almost irresistible treat during Chinese New Year. However 4 pieces (90g) of Cantonese Peanut Puffs will give you whopping 420 calories! You need to walk briskly 2 hours just to burn off those calories.
Another healthy choice you may want to consider is sunflower seeds. This healthy snack is rich in Vitamin E, copper, B Vitamins like thiamine, phosphorus, selenium, and more. Sunflower seeds is rich in magnesium, which helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Shirley is a typical 19-year-old girl obsessed with dance and making her life as exciting as possible. Also, contrary to popular belief, Shirley’s favorite drink is not Shirley Temple. Shirley writes for the online cashback site, ShopBack Malaysia, where you can enjoy cashback on your healthy food and beverages! View all articles by Shirley.