If you want to eat healthier this Chinese New Year, start by cutting back on sugary foods and beverages, which are typically low in nutrients and high in calories. Consuming excess sugar causes weight gain and increases your risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Experts recommend that the amount of sugar added to food and beverages should not exceed 10 per cent of your daily total calorie consumption, which translates to between 40g and 55g, or 8 to 11 teaspoons a day (1 tsp of sugar = about 4g of sugar = about 16kcal).
However, it’s very easy to overstep this limit, particularly when you indulge in the following Chinese New Year snacks:
Sugar per serving of assorted Chinese New Year snacks
- Pineapple Tarts (2 pcs): 12g
- Nian Gao (1 pc): 17g
- Love Letters (2 pcs): 10g
- Kueh Bahulu (3 pcs): 12g
- Bak Kwa (1 slice): 32g
(Source: Health Promotion Board, Singapore)
Here are 3 ways to reduce your sugar consumption this Chinese New Year:
- Eat fibre and nutrient-rich fruits (e.g. Mandarin oranges) and dried fruits
- Use fruits in your cooking
“Instead of sugar, use fruit purees, dried fruit or fruit juices in your baking, cooking or drinks. Check the ingredient labels to see that they have no added sugar,” says Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB).
Choose healthier options
Opt for products with HPB’s ‘Healthier Choice Symbol’, which are generally lower in sugar as well as other harmful ingredients such as saturated fat and sodium.
Products that carry the ‘Lower in Sugar’ logo contain at least 25 per cent less sugar than regular products, says HPB.
Avoid sugary drinks
Popular soft drinks and juices are loaded with sugar (e.g. 10.6g per 100ml of cola; 8g per 100ml of orange juice), therefore, it’s best to opt for water or tea/coffee without added sugar. If you must have a sugary drink, limit yourself to one small serving, or have freshly squeezed fruit juice which has natural sugar.