Who are we kidding? It’s the new year celebration. You are expected to eat and cry later.
And CNY in 2020 will be no different. With the plethora of festival cookies loaded in bakeries this month, it’s no surprise that a majority of us will be tossing the calorie calculators after February.
The difference though, is that you’re going to decide to make a change this year. Yes you are.
In 2018, Malaysia earned its name of being Asia’s fattest country – which is pretty ridiculous, until you look around.
Although there’s nothing generally wrong with being ‘fat’, here we are referring to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As we ring in the new year, there are only two things you have to keep a close eye on – the pineapple tarts and how to answer the bawang aunties when they ask if you’re getting married soon. But let’s focus on what we can actually avoid.
Ushering in the new year involves shaking things up, both in the bank and in the kitchen. For many Malaysians, this means an unfavourable sight on the weighing scale. Sure, you won’t feel it at first – heck, almost nobody does! Next thing you know, you’ve downed 5 pineapple tarts and snuck a couple in your jacket pocket for later (grandma always made the best CNY snacks, we don’t blame you and neither does she).
Here’s a tip: Fruits before snack. We mean, you can’t totally avoid what’s being served to you. But what you could do, is grab some Mandarin oranges not just to keep your junk-appetite in check but also to keep your mind (and hands) off unnecessary binging.
Put the Pepsi Down
Remember that pattern friend who always asks for plain water instead of whatever drink he was offered? He might be onto something there. In 2017, Malaysian recorded a 16.9% prevalence of diabetes in adults, which isn’t a lot until you realize that’s over 3,492,600 cases. Liquid calories are found in abundance when it comes to those boxed Yeo’s drinks as well as carbonated drinks. Read more about these ‘hidden’ sugars to watch out for here.
Best case scenario, there’s always green tea or oolong tea. Come on, it’s Chinese New Year.
Slow and Steady
It’s rather ironic. You’ll probably have that one friend who grew up with parents that taught them to eat quickly. If not, you probably are that friend. Eating slowly has been scientifically shown to promote thorough chewing before swallowing and hence, reduce calorie intake. The science is simple – the slower you eat, the higher your levels of gut hormones responsible for feeling full are; which means less “you gained weight” comments at the dinner table.
Be a polite eater. It takes 20 minutes to feel full so before you know it, you’re already way past the finish line. And it’s only the first house visit.
QUOTE: “Studies show that people who eat quickly tend to be heavier and gain more weight over time, compared with slower eaters.”
Larger Powers at Play
In response to improving our national nutritional status, governmental agencies have forked out the Malaysian Healthy Plate campaign of #sukusukuseparuh, or “quarter, quarter, half”.
The essence of this initiative is to divide plate portions where a quarter goes to proteins, complex carbs respectively and a half for fruits and vegetables. These efforts come just in time as 63% of adults face at least one non-communicable diseases (NCD) from poor eating habits. NCDs may include the familiar words uttered in a Malaysian doctor’s office: obesity, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
Festive Tricks Up Our Sleeves
Using a smaller plate and setting your own dietary boundaries can also help reduce worries over widening waistlines. It’s no surprise we’re in for a tricky month ahead with our diet plans. Although 2019 observed our nation’s shift towards eating healthier, the war isn’t over.
Overall, the key to this is not to lose weight or give you an hourglass figure. It’s to help you maintain a manageable physical health once the dust has settled so you can start the new year chasing your dream, not the gym.
By the way if you’re still looking for some ang pows, we found some cool ones we thought you should check out. These ang pows let you write your notes to your receipients so it feels really personal, at least for us. Pretty innovative we must say. Get them HERE.