Stay healthy and try a high-protein smoked salmon salad instead of yusheng this festive season

How to Beat the Festive Flab

Enjoy the festive holiday season but don’t forget to stay healthy by eating wisely.

You'd hate to admit it but it's likely that you'll be looking more 'physically prosperous' after Chinese New Year (yes, we mean that you've put on weight).

CNY is, after all, the third big holiday of massive feasting over a long holiday season, right after huge Christmas meals and New Year Day's parties. It's especially unforgiving because most of us haven't had time to shed off any of the extra calories to lose weight yet.

Yet Second-Auntie Irene won't let you stop eating unless she's convinced that you've had your fill—and we’re not talking about fruits and vegetables either! And you end up eating more calories than you burn.

We're here to help. We've got a few small tips that you can use to help you maintain your body weight and avoid weight gain during the celebrations without eating like a herbivorous bunny this festive season.

Stay Healthy This Festive Season

Tip 1: Exercise while you visit

House visiting is an opportunity to engage in more physical activity. Plan your route with your family and friends in advance so that, when appropriate, everyone can walk a short distance to the next destination and reap the health benefits of being active.

If it's not too daunting, take the stairs instead of heading for the lifts. You may not be burning fat yet. The calories you burn will make that piece of Bak Kwa feel less of an indulgence. Plus, we're sure you like the fact that you'll look better in your spanking-new Chinese New Year threads.

Tip 2: Don't visit hungry

Make sure you eat proper meals and exercise portion control. This will help you muster the discipline you need in the face of temptation (and kill all thoughts of bingeing on pineapple tarts, cookies galore and prawn rolls). Gorging on high-calorie festive treats when you are famished will cause you to consume a whole load of them in order to feel full and satisfied.

Tip 3: Go easy on the drinks

Where you can, choose the healthy option. Request for beverages which have reduced sugar or those with the Healthier Choice Symbol while also avoiding soft drinks and alcohol.

Did you know that a can of soft drink or an alcoholic drink can have about 80 - 150 calories lurking in it? Even fruit juice can drive up your calorie intake. Just a few drinks and you would have exceeded your recommended intake of daily calories already.

Tip 4: Go on, give yourself a treat!

Opt for healthier food such as Mandarin oranges during this festive season, especially if you have to monitor your blood sugar levels.

You don't need to stop eating and deprive yourself fully. Come on, it's CNY, and everyone's entitled to a little indulgence. And it's not difficult to stay healthy and maintain a healthy diet. For example, you can set a limit on how many pineapple tarts you intend to eat per day. You can also make healthier alternative snack choices - such as Mandarin oranges or nuts. Peeling oranges keeps you busy from reaching out for the snack platter!

Try one of the many apps available to track your progress and whether you've hit your 'quota' for the day.

Tip 5: Plate Kung Fu

This is the skill involving the ancient art of managing rice flow. Deter Second-Auntie Irene from topping up your plate by making sure there's always food on it. Sip your drink slowly while chatting up your cousin for old time's sake - this will help you keep your eating speed slow. When asked for seconds, gesture to the plate and stomach in a swift motion and politely decline. If coerced, get up and excuse yourself to the washroom, and don't return. Works like a charm every time!

At the end of the day, surviving this round of festivities comes down to the basics: eat in moderation, have your 2+2 (two portions of fruits and two portions of veggies) every day, and stay active during and beyond CNY.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

Read these next: