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6 healthy ways to curb overeating at Chinese New Year feasts

Enjoy your festive goodies without packing on the pounds by following these smart meal ideas.

Chinese New Year is a great time for foodies to indulge in the most decadent Chinese delicacies such as pen cai (a pot filled with meat and seafood such as abalone and prawns), stir-fried noodles to signify longevity and lots of candy for a sweet life. But all this feasting may well affect your waistline and general health. Why not change it up this year with some healthy alternatives that won’t compromise on the taste factor? Here are six ways to put a healthy spin on your favourite CNY goodies.

1. Snack on fruits

Most families will have a “tray of togetherness” full of sweets and all sorts of other store-bought titbits for visitors to snack on. Instead of over-processed foods, offer a fruit-rich collection of mandarins and pomelos, which are popular symbols of prosperity and rich in vitamins and fibre. Unsalted nuts, which symbolise fertility, are also popular.

2. Go easy on the yusheng dressing

The oil and sweet plum sauce used in yusheng dishes add a high fat, sugar and calorie count to this otherwise healthy dish of raw fish and fresh vegetables. You can easily use less oil and plum sauce without compromising on the flavour of the dish. Or, if you’re at home, substituting plum sauce with honey is a healthier and great-tasting alternative.

3. Cook a whole fish

Eating fish during CNY is a symbol of abundance. The classic steamed fish is a healthy choice, but if it is too bland for you just spice up the dish with some regional flair. Chef Willin Low’s Snapper in Tom Yum Broth is a great way to enjoy a nutritious meal without compromising on taste.

4. Enjoy a healthy steamboat

The ever-popular hotpot meal is always a great way for the family to bond over shared food. Cut down on sodium intake by using a light soup base such as mushroom or veggie soup and only use low-sodium chicken or vegetable bouillon for soup stock. Instead of starting on meats right away, fill up with high-fibre and nutrient-rich ingredients such as carrots, mushrooms, spinach, kale and mushrooms. Avoid processed food such as crab sticks and fish balls, sticking instead to real (lean) meat such as chicken, seafood and fish slices.

5. Hold the fizzy drinks

“We all focus on watching what we eat, but we tend to forget that what we drink needs to be paid attention to as well,” says Willin Low. To cut down on unnecessary calorie intake, he suggests drinking fewer soft drinks or sugar-filled drinks. Instead, wash down your food and snacks with antioxidant-rich green, oolong or black tea.

6. Take supplements

All those celebrations and house visits may leave you feeling lethargic and even under the weather. Supplement your normal meals with a healthy dose of vitamins such as Swisse Ultivite, which contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and herbs. The Swisse range of Krill and Fish Oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids to support your heart, brain and eye health. You can also help maintain your immune system and relieve fatigue with Swisse Immune, featuring key ingredients like vitamin C, zinc, copper and other nutrients to help support the immune system.

Be inspired by these ideas to eat well during the festive season without having to give up any of your favourite foods!