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Medical Conditions A - Z

How to Enjoy Chinese New Year Healthily?

how-to-enjoy-chinese-new-year-healthily

  • Diabetes
    • Avoid staying up late and ensure that they have sufficient sleep.
    • Alcoholic beverages should be limited to not more than two drinks per day. Alcohol puts you at higher risk for developing low blood sugar level, especially if you are on insulin treatment. It is best to consume alcohol with food, i.e. meals that include carbohydrates like rice, noodles, potatoes and carbohydrates crackers.
  • High Blood Pressure
    • Continue to take your medication as instructed by their doctor.
    • Ensure that you have sufficient sleep.
    • Avoid staying up late.
    • Alcoholic beverages should be limited to not more than 2 drinks per day.
  • Liver Problems
    • Try to avoid deep fried and oily food especially for those diagnosed with fatty liver. Small amount limited to the first and second day of Chinese New Year should not be a problem.
    • For those with chronic liver problems and/or past histories of liver failure, it is best to avoid high protein food.
    • For those with chronic viral hepatitis B and C, adequate sleep is important as sleep deprivation will affect the immune system and lead to reactivation of liver viruses.
    • Avoid alcoholic beverages as far as possible.
  • Heart Problems
    • Moderation is the key for patients with heart problems, in particularly drinking alcohol excessively. Excessive alcohol is toxic to the heart. Acutely, it can trigger arrhythmia such as atrial fibrillation. Long-term consumption of excessive alcohol can lead to heart failure, called alcoholic cardiomyopathy, in the long term.
    • Binge drinking is like having a large meal. Both the heart and body will need to work extra hard to digest the alcohol. This will put the already weak heart to go into overdrive.
    • For those with weak heart or suffering from kidney diseases, they should avoid drinking excessive water or salty food as it will lead to water retention.
    • When busy visiting or entertaining guests or family members, it is easy to neglect the much needed rest. Staying up late will put unnecessary stress on the heart.
    • Avoid heavy lifting. During heavy lifting, blood pressures, heart rate and contractility of heart increases workload for the heart. This is bad news for the patients with either weak hearts or blocked heart arteries.

 

Symptoms of high blood pressure emergency (blood pressure >/= 180/120 mmHg) may include:

  • Blurry vision or other visual changes
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal body movements
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain

Symptoms of low blood sugar level (< 4 mmol/L) may include:

  • Fast heart beat
  • Sweating
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Dizziness, weakness and shaking
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion

 

What's Chinese New Year without the yummy food? One of the key highlights of the home visitations are the gastronomic delights that are prepared lovingly by our hosts.

We explore 6 popular goodies and their nutritional content.

Go ahead to enjoy the treats but exercise restraint. Make this new year a good healthy feasting that would keep you in the pink of health.

Bak Kwa
1 piece, 57g
A salty sweet dried meat product, a single piece of bak kwa has 229kcal, 8g fat, 24g sugar. So eat these sparingly.


Pineapple Tarts
2 pieces, 40g
These buttery treats are a highlight during Chinese New year. Limit yourself to two pieces each time. That's equivalent to 163kcal, 7g fat and 12g sugar.


Love Letters
4 rolls, 52g
Love letters may seem light and easy on the palate but 4 rolls can add 224kcal, 6g fat and 19g sugar to your diet!


Kueh Bangkit
5 pieces, 30g
Kueh bangkit is all about the melt-in-your-mouth goodness. and 5 pieces has 115kcal, 5g fat and 20g sugar.


Nian Gao
1/4 portion, 106g
Prepared from glutinous rice, 1/4 portion of a nian gao will give you 244kcal, 0.5g fat and 56g sugar.


Suckling pig, roasted
1 serve, 168g
If you enjoy suckling pig, note that 1 serve is equivalent to 652kcal, 54g fat. That's easily 30% of your daily calorie intake!


Tips from the expert, Ms Bibi Chia, Principal Dietitian, Raffles Hospital

Go full.
Eat your main meals before snacking. When you feel full, you are less likely to eat as many snacks.


Be selective.
Choose only your favourite snack foods and limit your intake to 1-2 pieces. However, if eating less is not possible, avoid eating them totally. Or have the snack once in a year and stick to the plan!


Drink plain.
Sweetened beverages are another source of unwanted calories. Where possible go for plain water, diet soft drinks, "no sugar added", or "less sugar" beverages.


Move your body.
Exercise will help you burn off the extra calories, keep your weight in check, help manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Walk for 15 minutes after meals.


8 Tips for preparing healthy meals during Chinese New Year

  1. Serve a variety of vegetables during meal times. Vegetables contain a lot of vitamins and minerals needed by the body.
  2. Serve foods in high fibre such as brown rice, brown rice beehoon or oatmeal cookies . Other than fibre, these foods are also lower in glycemic index.
  3. Serve fish and tofu dishes rather than red meat such as beef and pork because these  have lesser saturated fat and cholesterol.
  4. Prepare lean meat or remove the visible fat or skin of the poultry.
  5. Prepare foods using healthier cooking methods such as boiling, grilling, steaming or stir frying with less oil to reduce oil and fat consumption.
  6. Use natural herbs and spices or dried fruit to replace the use of sugar, salt and sauce in cooking.
  7. Serve fresh fruit as a better choice for dessert.
  8. Reduce sugary drinks and make sure plain water is available at all times.

8 Tips for Healthy Eating During Chinese New Year

  1. Eat according to the recommended serving size or smaller portions.
  2. Choose foods low in calories such as fruits and prepare foods with less oil, fat and coconut milk, if needed.
  3. Choose foods high in fibre to prevent constipation during the festive season.
  4. Limit intake of sweet foods such as nian gao, sweet biscuits, candies and chocolates.
  5. Choose fresh fruits as snacks or desserts.
  6. Limit intake of foods high in salt such as chips and crackers.
  7. Drink plain water instead of sweetened beverages.
  8. Limit alcohol intake. Excessive intake can be harmful to health.
 No.
Food Serving size
(weight)
Calorie
1. Braised slices of abalone 3 pieces
(20g)
20
2. Steamed chicken (meat and skin) 2 pieces
(50g)
80
3. Roasted chicken (meat and skin) 2 pieces
(50g)
100
4. Braised pork in soy with egg

Pork: 3-4 pieces
(50g)

100
Egg: 1 whole
(50g)
80
5. Chap chye/chai choy 2 Chinese spoons
(40g)
35
6. Leek stir fried with shrimp 2 Chinese spoons
(40g)
45
7. Fish maw soup 1 small bowl
(80g)
40
8. Steammed fish 2 Chinese spoons
(20g)
30
9. Roasted duck (with skin) 2 pieces
(50g)
110
10. Longevity noodle (Cheong sow mien) 2 scoops
(100g)
180
11. Braised sea cucumber and mushroom 2 Chinese spoons
(40g)
40
12. Braised dried oysters with black sea moss and mushrooms 2 Chinese spoons
(40g)
50
13. Braised mix vegetables (Luo han zhai) 2 Chinese spoons
(40g)
95
14. Roasted suckling pig 2 pieces
(80g)
300
15. Roasted pork belly 3-4 pieces
(30g)
120
16. Stir fried mix vegetable 2 Chinese spoons
(40g)
35
17. Chinese sausage (Lap cheong) 4 pieces/1/2 sausage
(20g)
110
18. Lotus root, peanut and red date soup 1 small bowl
(80g)
40
19. Tempura prawn (deep fried) 3 whole
(60g)
120
20. Buttered prawn 3 whole
(60g)
110
21. Drunken prawn 3 whole
(140g)
235
22. Waxed duck 2 pieces
(40g)
100
23. Yee sang 2 Chinese spoons
(40g)
60

 

 No.
Food Serving size
(weight)
Calorie
1. Apam 1 piece
(30g)
60
2. Bahulu 3 pieces
(25g)
100
3. Glutinous rice ball (tang yuan) 1 small bowl / 7 pieces tang yuan + syrup
(80g)
100
4. Nian gao fritters 1 piece
(50g)
220
5. Love letters 4 pieces
(50g)
210
6. Steam glutinous rice cake (nian gao) 1 whole piece
(300g)
690
7. Peanut cookies 4 pieces
(40g)
200
8. Smiling doughnut 1 big piece
(40g)
135
9. Tapioca flour cookie 4 pieces
(20g)
90
10. Crispy honeycomb cookies 3 pieces
(30g)
150
11. Steam layer rice cake 1 slice
(60g)
90
12. White radish cake 1 whole piece
(80g)
160
13. Longan, magnolia petals, red dates and snow fungus dessert 1 small bowl
(80g)
40
14. Longan with sea coconut 1 small bowl
(80g)
40
15. Pineapple tarts 4 pieces
(30g)
140
16. The six combination dessert 1 small bowl
(80g)
40
1 whole quail egg
(10g)
20

 

 No.
Food Serving size
(weight)
Calorie
1. Bak kwa, pork 1 piece
(90g)
370
2. Mini chicken bak kwa 1 piece
(40g)
150
3. Cantonese peanut puffs (Kok chai) 4 pieces
(90g)
420
4. Cashew nuts (oil roasted, salted) 1 small bowl
(40g)
230
5. Deep fried arrow head 1 small bowl
(30g)
140
6. Fortune cookies 2 pieces
(10g)
40
7. Peanuts (roasted) 1 small bowl
(30g)
170
8. Pistachio nuts (roasted) 1 small bowl
(30g)
160
9. Kua-ci 1 small bowl
(40g)
135
10. Assorted nuts (roasted) 1 small bowl
(40g)
220
11. Prawn crackers 2 big pieces
(40g)
170
12. Prawn rolls 1 small bowl
(40g)
200
13. Twisted cookies 3 pieces
(30g)
20

 

 No.
Food Serving size
(weight)
Calorie
1. Chinese yellow pear 1 whole
170g)
50
2. Dried persimmons 1 piece
(80g)
195
3. Mandarin orange 1 whole
(100g)
50
4. Orange 1 whole
(130g)
40
5. Persimmons 1 whole
(140g)
90
6. Banana 1 whole
(80g)
60
7. Pomelo 1 piece
(40g)
10

 

 No.
Food Serving size
(weight)
Calorie
1. Plain water

1 glass
(250ml)

0
2. Cordial drink 1 glass
(250ml)
80
3. Carbonated drink 1 can
(325ml)
130
4. Packet drink 1 packet
(200ml)
90
5. Chinese tea 1 glass
(250ml)
0

 

 No.
Food Serving size
(weight)
Calorie
1. Beer
(2 - <8% alcohol)

1 can
(320ml)

106
2. Wine / Toddy
(8 - <15% alcohol)
1 serving
(140ml)
108
3. Brandy / Whisky / Rum / Gin / Vodka (>30% alcohol) 1 serving
(35ml)
114
*1 unit = 10ml alcohol