Health

10 All-Time Favorite Chinese New Year Snacks You Can Eat Guilt-Free!

Check out 10 delicious Chinese New Year snacks that are both tasty and healthy, that you can enjoy without the guilt this Lunar New Year!

A photo of two bowls filled with delicious looking kuih bangkit, a popular Chinese New Year cookie or snack. The bowls are set up on top of red cloth emblemed with a Chinese character and behind them are two artificial red flowers.
Photo credit: Bake With Paws

Many of us are already counting down to the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration. Reuniting with relatives and friends is always something that we look forward to especially when the special day is filled with food, family, and fun tales!

If you’re one to prepare early, you may have already started creating a mood board for OOTDs, planning what food to cook if you are hosting, how many angpaus to give, whom to invite throughout the celebration period, and so on.

But while you are busy thinking about others, don’t forget to also think about yourself and how you can stay healthy during Chinese New Year, especially if you have that “new year new me” resolution to stick to. Otherwise, just let your hair down and enjoy the festive moments with your loved ones!

A simple guide to healthy snacking during Chinese New Year

Although many would be more concerned about the calorie-dense Chinese New Year food spread on the table, its easier to control the food portion when you know what and how much you are putting on your table, compared to the bite-size cookies that are most likely to be high in carbs as their main ingredients are sugar and flour.

But don’t worry! Here’s how you can still enjoy the delicious snacks during CNY gatherings to prevent you from guilt-tripping yourself later!

  1. Eat a simple healthy meal before going out to meet with friends and family. It will help you avoid overeating during gatherings.
  2. Bring simple healthy snacks like fruits and nuts when you go visiting. You can eat while on the road like peeled Mandarin oranges, and granola biscuits, and remember to drink plenty of water.
  3. Go slow. No matter how badly you drool over the feast spread in front of you, eat slowly and enjoy the moment with your loved ones.
  4. Drink water and low-calorie drinks like sparkling water, sugarless tea, coffee, and plain water (the best choice!) instead of always opting for sweetened drinks and fruit juices. Alcohol is one of the biggest contributors to unwanted extra calories.
  5. Pick healthier snack choices instead of devouring deep-fried snacks, or food with lots of flour and sugar. Don’t deprive yourselves of eating all your favorite Chinese New Year snacks. Instead of taking the whole container of pineapple tarts for yourself, it would be more enjoyable to share it with family and friends.
  6. Save room for desserts if you love them! Eat a smaller portion of the main meal so you don’t go above your daily calorie requirements. If you are unsure about how much your daily calorie requirements are, you can use an app such as MyFitnessPal to calculate it for you. You can also use their food database to get a rough idea of how many calories each meal has. But make sure you get accustomed to using the app early rather than on the first day of CNY itself because you might end up being on the app more than eating the delicious Chinese New Year food and snacks 😉
  7. Don’t forget to get back on track after you have celebrated Chinese New Year if you are a fitness enthusiast. You should not pressure yourself to put on your running shoes on the first and second days of the Chinese New Year.
  8. Be present and cherish the wonderful memories you are going to make with your family and friends. Take photos, record videos, play card games and just enjoy each other’s presence to the fullest.

So, what are the most popular Chinese New Year snacks, and how many calories do they have per piece(source: MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter mobile app)? These calories are units of energy released when your body breaks down food.

The more calories a food contains, the more energy it will provide to the body. However, if you have excess energy stored without being used, the body will then store

For context, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Malaysian Dietary Guidelines recommended that Malaysians’ sugar consumption should not exceed 10 teaspoons in a day (50g). In scientific terms, each gram of this empty carbohydrate yields 4 calories in kcal value. That’s excluding the carbs in the flour used to make the snacks.

But don’t bore your mind with the macronutrient part. Let’s see how many calories each snack contains:

This table lists 10 Chinese New Year snacks and cookies along with their macronutrient contents including carbohydrates, fat, and protein, and total calories for one serving size. Some of the cookies are peanut cookies, ngaku chips, kuih kapit, mini spring rolls and kuih bangkit.

Now that you have the number of calories for the delicious snacks, here is a rough estimation of how many minutes you need to exercise after eating a piece of snack.

Again, you don’t have to pressure yourself to burn what you eat straight away. Just chillax and get back on track when you’re done celebrating or when you feel like you’re ready to get back to it. For now, think about how best to maximize the time with your family and loved ones once the Chinese New Year celebration kicks in!

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