Chinese New Year is just around the corner and the wonderful smells of freshly baked CNY snacks at the malls and your neighbourhood bakeries are starting to awaken your stomach.
In Singapore, Chinese New Year is an important festive season for the Chinese population. With almost a week-long schedule of visiting, celebrating and of course, eating CNY snacks.
If only we could stuff ourselves silly with goodies without feeling guilty but life isn't always fair.
Before you go on a snaking spree, it is good to have an idea of how many calories you are consuming when it comes to your favourite CNY goodies.
1. Bak Kwa
It is always better to be the one receiving Bak Kwa as the queues for this snack can be mind-numbingly long.
Then again, we can understand why not many can resist the taste of tender, succulent and moist bbq pork.
Don't be fooled into thinking that just because Bak Kwa is made from pork it is deemed as healthy. Sorry to burst your bubble but it isn't.
One slice of Bak Kwa contains about 200 calories. Pork itself is a fatty meat and Bak Kwa is also heavily marinated which adds to the calories.
So if you think you are doing your muscles a favour by gorging on Bak Kwa, think again.
2. Pineapple Tarts
Pineapples are a symbol of wealth and prosperity which is why you will find pineapple tarts in every house you visit.
Like Bak Kwa, pineapple tarts is another snack that is just so easy to consume. Rich and tangy pineapple filling wrapped in a buttery pastry roll or placed on top makes it hard to resist.
Before you pop the 10th pineapple tart in your awaiting mouth, do note that each tart consists of 80-100 calories.
The calories can add up pretty fast.
3. Love Letters
For a snack that seems light and non-calorie threatening, each crunchy egg roll packs close to 60 calories.
This is due to the high content of coconut milk, egg and sugar used to make this CNY snack.
Being so airy and easy to eat, gobbling 20 sticks in one sitting is easily done for many of us.
4. Dried Shrimp Rolls
If you are a fan of dried shrimp or 'hay-bee', this snack is a no brainer.
Tiny spring rolls stuffed full of dried shrimp which is then deep-fried to give it that crunch is a must-have during Chinese New Year.
As tiny as each roll is, it has about 20 calories each.
It might not seem like much but given that it is so easy to finish half a bottle while watching TV, that is a lot of unnecessary calories.
Furthermore, the dried shrimp rolls are fried in palm oil which is high in saturated fat.
5. Kueh Lapis
Another hot favourite CNY snack that is so yummy yet so deadly.
One slice alone contains 230 calories.
Given that it is so easy to go crazy with this snack as it's so moist and soft, it is in your best interest to have some self-control.
6. Nian Gao
This traditional Chinese New Year cake is still being served by many households during CNY. There are several ways to prepare it ranging from plain steaming to deep frying.
The Nian Gao is made from glutinous rice, sugar and flour which makes it quite calorie dense.
Each small slice of this snack has close to 50 calories.
7. Mandarin Oranges
Why is this festive fruit even on this list?
Not all fruits are made equal and when it comes to Mandarin oranges, they do pack quite a wallop when it comes to calories per orange.
Each orange can be rather huge and it's also very sweet thus it has a calorie count of 100 per orange.
If you need to load up on your vitamin C, eat a fruit that has lesser calories.
8. Soft Drinks
As you go about visiting your friends and relatives, chances are they will be serving your sodas or soft drinks when you arrive.
As a benchmark, one standard can of coke has about 134 calories.
So if you are visiting five homes and each time you have a can of coke, that's almost 700 calories without factoring in the CNY snacks.
How To Enjoy your CNY Snacks Without Being A Buzzkill?
Yes, we hear you.
It's Chinese New Year and no one wants to be counting calories during the festive season.
However, it is also good for you to be conscientious of what you are eating before things get out of hand.
Have A Plan
It isn't necessary to count every snack down to the single calorie but have a ballpark figure.
If you know that you have a soft spot for Bak Kwa, then allocate more calories to that snack and have lesser of others.
Don't cut back on your exercise or workout sessions just because it is CNY. Try to throw in a few more sessions if possible to burn off those excess calories.
You don't have to run a marathon each day just to feel better, just take a brisk walk before of after your visiting sessions.
Ask For A Healthier Alternative
Many bakeries are aware that customers these days are conscious of their health and aim to bake CNY snacks that are less calorie dense but taste just as good.
If you are someone that enjoys snacking on CNY goodies at home, it is worthwhile to consider these healthier options.
And cut down on soft drinks when you are out.
Ask for plain water or a low-calorie drink if possible.
If you are someone that enjoys CNY goodies, it is almost next to impossible to not go over your daily calorie count during this festive period.
By all means, indulge in these snacks but it is also good to have some idea and restrain when it comes to eating them.
Being so calorie-dense, it won't take much for you to put on unwanted weight.