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Food: What to watch out for during the CNY holidays
Published on: Tuesday, January 24, 2023
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Holidays are always a classic time to get together with your loved ones, but also a time you tend to splurge on delicious food. When immersed in the festivities, it’s easy to gorge on the tempting feasts presented before you, especially, during a celebratory occasion like the festive Chinese New Year (CNY) season that’s just around the corner!
Although this year’s festivities are bound to make a humbler turn because of the pandemic, one thing’s for sure: the festive feels and food are still here to stay! While it’s a great time to treat yourselves, it’s also important to stay on track to keep your diet, health and waistline in check!

Here are 5 tips you can follow to keep in shape and not overeat during the CNY celebrations this year.


Eating in moderation is key to keeping your diet on track. Of course, you can eat as you wish since you are very much entitled to and deserve some indulgence after all! However, limiting your intake ultimately helps your health and waistline in the long run!

Using a smaller dinner plate can help you eat in moderation as indicated by the Delboeuf illusion. The rationale behind this theory is that you eat less from a smaller plate as your brain is tricked into thinking you have eaten a lot and feel more satiated. However, if you eat the same amount from a bigger plate, you would feel as though you have eaten less and hence, are prone to overeating.


If you are deprived of food for too long, it can pave a path to binge-eating, especially when there are so many cookies, pineapple tarts and rice cakes surrounding you. As contradicting as it may sound, although you may want to leave your stomachs empty prior to feasting time, it sets you up for overeating!

To avoid that from happening, keep yourself at least somewhat satiated between meals by opting for some snacks. This will save you from consuming too much food when feeling famished and keep your calorie intake in line.


With everyone gathering around to finally catch up and prep for celebratory meals, your daily workout may easily slip your mind. It may especially be hard to keep yourself active if more sedentary activities like playing mahjong is on the agenda.

To tackle that, you could plan your workout schedule ahead and try to stick to a routine. For example, set apart 30 minutes of your morning so that no distractions would come up and get your body moving to kick-start your day.


If you keep hydrated, your body would not mistake the thirst you need to quench, with hunger. As is the case with any other day, remember to drink at least 8 glasses or 2 litres of water. Also, instead of having sweetened beverages like soda that can significantly contribute to the amount of sugar you consume, opt for water. Did you know that a 12-ounce can of soda contains 125-180 calories which equates to about 8-11 teaspoons of sugar? This means you could be easily exceeding the recommended sugar intake limit of ~6-9 teaspoons per day too!

Instead, go for healthier options like Chinese tea or simply just water, to flush out wastes and detox your body.


It’s been shown in studies that eating slowly leads to an increase in fullness hormones which in turn, leaves you feeling more satiated. The hormone, ghrelin, is in charge of controlling hunger and regulating the fullness hormones. Once the hormone sends signals to your brain and reports that you have eaten, your appetite is reduced and you end up feeling full. This signalling process takes ~20 minutes and hence, eating slowly would be in your favour as your brain would have time to receive the signal and act accordingly!

Not only that but taking your time while eating also allows more time for proper chewing of food. According to a study, the more you chew your food to the point where it is lump less, the less the calorie intake and hence, it can help with weight loss too.

Hopefully, these approaches are of use and we hope you have an “Ox-tra” special time celebrating the New Year with great food and your loved ones, at home or virtually (Movement Control Order Edition)! Stay safe and have a great year ahead!


1. 20 Tips to Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays

2. Does Eating Slowly Help You Lose Weight?

3. Drinks With as Many Calories as Soda

4. Recommended sugar intake: How much should you have per day?

5. The number of chews and meal duration affect diet-induced thermogenesis and splanchnic circulation

6. The Delboeuf illusion: Why expanding dinner plates are expanding our waistlines

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