1. Plan well before setting out to buy goodies
If you know you’ll be receiving a lot of CNY goodies from friends and family, try not to buy too many of them before the festivities, or you'll end up overbuying and eating it just to finish them up.
2. Store any goodies in the cabinet or fridge until the festivities really begin.
In sight, in mind. Out of sight, out of mind!
3. Bake your own!
How about making some pineapple tarts? This way, you know exactly the ingredients that go into it, and you can even play around with the proportions to suit your tastes!
4. Eat selectively
Instead of piling all foods in sight onto your plate at once, have a look at the selection of food on the table and decide which ones you really want to try, and which ones you’re okay not having (no FOMO!). If they’re dishes that you want to treat yourself with, or dishes you haven’t tried before, they’re definitely worth going onto your plate! But don’t take something for the sake of it. When there is a huge selection of food in front of you, you know you’re going to have to make some compromises!
5. Stick to natural drinks instead of packet or soft drinks
Packet or soft drinks contain empty calories, and more sugar than you need to get through the festivities. Water, fresh juice, or even Chinese tea is your best bet! If you want something refreshing, try going for cold sparkling water with a spritz of lemon juice and some mint leaves.
6. Include vegetables in every meal
We all know that vegetables are good for you as they contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They also contain a lot of fibre, meaning they keep you fuller for longer, so you don’t end up filling yourself up on empty calories throughout the day. Here’s a yummy dish you can easily add to the selection on your dining table!
7. Fuel up on some vitamin C
With the huge crowds of family and friends you’ll be visiting, it’s best to get some vitamin C in to build that immunity and keep you going. Mandarins are a great source of vitamin C, with one mandarin providing more than half the recommended daily allowance for adults in Singapore (75mg for women, 90mg for men). Bonus: they contain a good amount of fibre too, so these guys will keep your hunger pangs at bay!
8. Take every opportunity to move about
Every movement counts, so park further away, play with the kids during down time, take the older folks out for a stroll in between meals, or offer to take dogs out for a walk. Or, if you're stuck indoors, consider Charades - it's a great game that requires more movement than you think, and you'll get a great belly workout from all the laughter.
9. Repurpose leftovers!
I’d take any chance to repurpose leftovers into a new dish! It saves cooking time, and the layers of flavours are going to create something your taste buds will thank you for. How about a pumpkin fried rice, a simple omelette, or if you're feeling creative, make a savoury pancake. The possibilities are endless!
10. Continue life as usual
You heard me! No need to go on any detox diets or cleanses... you are fine the way you are. Enjoy the festivities, eat a balanced diet, keep hydrated, rest well, and be merry!
Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous Chinese New Year!
Charlotte Mei is a nutritionist and self-taught cook based in Singapore. She frequently cooks up nutritious, delicious dishes - and the occasional indulgent treat too! Follow her on all her socials at @thecharlottemei .
For more delicious recommendations and recipes on Chinese New Year, see our Chinese New Year 2020 page.