Jan 29, 2014

    Don't pig out this Horse Year

    CHINESE New Year is often a time of excess for many, especially when it comes to eating. During the 15 days of celebrations, people tend to feast or snack excessively.

    Coupled with a possible reduction in physical activity during this period, one can easily gain 0.5kg to 1kg by consuming an additional 500kcal every day.

    Undesired weight gain, which may lead to one becoming overweight or even obese, can increase the risk of getting diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and hypertension.

    Paying attention to your intake versus how much you exercise can help to combat undesired weight gain.

    Prevention is the key. Being mindful of what you are eating, with a focus on eating healthily, can help you to enjoy the festive season and your meals without having to compromise on your health.

    You should still eat regular meals when you go visiting; do not skip meals or substitute meals with snacks. Start the day with a wholesome, wholegrain breakfast and avoid going visiting on an empty stomach to prevent overeating or overindulging in festive treats.

    Here are more tips to help you this festive season:

    Drink at least eight glasses of water - inadequate water intake may give you a false sense of hunger and result in overeating and excessive snacking.

    Take smaller portions of New Year goodies.

    If it's impolite to say "no", learn to say "later" if you are not keen to indulge in a particular goody.

    Cut treats like bak kwa into bite-sized pieces and limit yourself to a fixed number of pieces per day.

    Use a bowl to hold festive treats instead of eating from the whole tub to avoid overeating.

    Share festive treats with friends and relatives.

    Do not buy too much food or snacks to avoid overindulging.

    Limit alcohol intake - alcohol is high in calories and excessive consumption can be harmful to your health.

    Make up for it with exercise - while those treats are irresistible and you may think that such festive periods will come and go, it is still important for you to work those extra calories off!

    See how much exercise you will need to put in for the amount of goodies you consume, with this table of popular goodies and the calories they pack.

    Remember, there is no need to forsake all the goodies this festive period, but doing everything in moderation is always the key to staying healthy.

    So put a spring in your step and keep the excess weight off through healthy eating during the New Year.

    The writer is a senior dietitian with National Healthcare Group Polyclinics.