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As the Chinese new year fast approaches, many of us would be carving for the traditional snacks and goodies which we only might get to consume around this period of time. However, many of these goodies are high in calories, fat and sugar, due diligence needs to be in place so as to prevent over eating and weight gain. In this article, we will recommend healthier alternatives and recommended simple tips when consuming some of the popular CNY snacks. Let’s make this year’s celebration healthy and guilt free!
5 healthy swaps to traditional snacks
1. Pineapple tarts
Pineapple tarts are the centre piece in the CNY spread of goodies, however, do you know that a mere 4 pieces of these delectable snack will give you a whopping 140 Calories! And who would ever stop at 4 right? One ideal substitute to curb that pineapple craving will be to consider swapping in freeze dried pineapple slices instead.
If you prefer to DIY bake your own tarts, you can opt for healthier recipes that use less sugar but still retaining the flavourful, tangy taste of traditional tarts.
There is a easy no-bake alternative known as pineapple coconut energy balls which uses easily obtainable ingredients with a preparation time of 15 mins or less! They are highly nutritious, rich in fiber, protein and vitamins!
2. Cookies and crisps
Sweet and savoury finger food such as kueh bangkit, love letters, shrimp rolls, kok chai and peanut cookies can be substituted by healthy alternatives. These include low sugar oats cookies, fruit chips, low sugar dark chocolate nut bars or just simple fresh fruit slices.
There can definitely be a few bottles of traditional CNY snacks but limit the spread and quantity, do remember to include the aforementioned healthier option snacks for some guilt free munching!
3. Cakes and such
Soft and mouth-watering confectionaries such as kueh baulu, kueh lapis or cream based cakes and muffins add a lot of sweetness to the festivity. However, do you know that a small piece of kueh lapis has actually 157 calories and consuming 2 pieces of that will be more calorie dense than a bowl of white rice!
4. Crackers and Chips
Another type of finger food that we usually find hard to resist will be potato chips, arrowroot chips and prawn crackers! Being extremely addictive, we sometimes only realise overconsumption when half the pack has disappeared!
Healthier, non-greasier options include roasted seaweed crisps, baked nuts. Avoid those that are overly processed and contain high sodium levels.
5. Deep fried Nian Gao
1 piece of nian gao fritters contains a whopping 220 Kcals, which is also full of fat and oil drenched. A healthier way to consume this “prosperity” cake is to consider the steamed version. But do note that this dense cake has to be consumed in moderation as it contains high sugar levels as well.
Healthy recipes from Health promotion board
If you are considering a little DIY this Chinese New Year, there is a list of easy to follow recipes that cover dishes such as Yu Sheng, Yam Cake, Tapioca cake, Kueh Baulu, fortune cookies, huat cake and various cocktail drinks. You can get the entire list of recipes here.
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)