Chinese New Year is here again, although just like last year and the year before, we have to celebrate this with the new norm, but this year we are more experienced with the SOPs, and many of us are able to celebrate the new year with our loved ones. Despite the new norm, we will still be having a feast of foods, because that is what Malaysian is and that is what a festival is. Here are some suggestions that we would like to share on how you can eat healthily during the Chinese New Year celebration.
Always use a smaller plate and limit your portion.
It is always preferable to consume only what is necessary rather than bingeing on them all because during festivals there are typically a variety of dishes and we tend to try them all. Try to include your seasonal favourite food, such as your aunt's favourite pie, even though you hardly ever eat it. However, avoid overindulging. Do not gorge yourself with food. Don't use the holiday as a free day. Eat with pleasure, but in moderation.
Balance your meals!
During a festival or holiday, you can still eat a balanced, healthy meal. It all depends on your choice of food. As an example, if you are going to treat yourself to some sweet treats, then make sure you consume fewer carbohydrates in your main meals. If you know that there will be no vegetables or fruits during the holiday or festive seasons, offer to make some. It can be as easy as just cutting and mixing fresh fruit into a bowl or cutting and mixing vegetables. Adding herbs or dressing is optional. This can also make everyone's snack options healthier. (Easy tips: Mandarin orange counts as a healthy snack!)
This is also a love sign. We hope for a healthy and prosperous start to the new year, so by keeping an eye on what we and our loved ones eat, it may make everyone feel warm and loved that someone is caring for everyone's health. A heart will be able to resonate with what is coming from yours.
Limiting your intake of alcohol and sugary beverages will help you maintain a healthy balance in your diet. You can still consume it, but be careful with how much!
Do not skip meals to save up for a feast
Plan your mealtime, especially if you have diabetes. Do not skip meals to save up for a feast; it will make it harder to manage your blood sugar, and you will be hungry and more likely to overeat. If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.
Eat according to your usual schedule to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served or prepared later than your usual mealtime, try to choose healthy snacks instead of snacks full of sugar and salt. This is especially essential for individuals with diabetes.
Playing indoor and outdoor games will help regulate your blood sugar and burn calories. It will also help bond all the family members. Do not just glue your eyes to your phone or screen. Do talk to each other and ask about their well-being. But if this Chinese New Year you can’t celebrate it with your family members, do utilise the technology to be connected with them. You may also use various kinds of online games during the celebration to make sure everyone is involved. Online games like Quiziz are one way to make things fun!
Get your sleep!
During celebrations of anything, people always tend to overprepare, and the preparation is what makes you get a lesser amount of sleep. Although it’s fun to do the decorations together until late at night, try to schedule it earlier so that everyone will get enough sleep and good sleep quality. This is especially important for individuals with diabetes since less sleep is going to make their blood sugar go haywire as well.
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 5 Healthy Eating Tips for the holidays. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/holidays-healthy-eating.html (Accessed on Feb 5, 2021).
The Star. Facing and entirely new Chinese New Year. https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/02/04/facing-an-entirely-new-chinese-new-year (Accessed on Feb 5, 2021).
20 Healthy Tips on how to not gain weight during the holidays. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tips-to-avoid-holiday-weight-gain (Accessed on Feb 5, 2021).