Mon, Feb 11, 2013 - Page 9 News List

How to avoid putting on the pounds over the Lunar New Year
過年狂吃 近半民眾胖了一點七公斤

A doctor holds a plate of food from a suggested meal for diabetics at a hospital in Greater Taichung on Jan. 17.

Photo: Tsai Shu-yuan, Liberty Times

The number of calories in a Lunar New Year’s Eve meal is exorbitant. One meal could have up to 1,880 calories, meaning you would have to jog for more than two hours to burn them off. After a nine-day holiday filled with languidness and gluttony, as well as gourmet meals, cold weather and the desire to stay sedentary, roughly 45 percent of us will still be surprised to find that we have gained around 1.7kg.


The Bureau of Health Promotion under the Department of Health estimates that a takeaway Lunar New Year’s Eve meal consisting of six courses can have as many as 11,000 calories. Even if six people share the meal, each person would consumer up to 1,880 calories. An adult who weighs 60kg actually only needs 600 calories per meal, so a typical New Year’s Eve meal is equal to three regular meals. If one eats like this every day over the holiday, it would be nearly impossible not to gain weight.


For the survey, the bureau interviewed more than 1,000 adults over the age of 18 by telephone. Around 45 percent of them said they gain weight during the Lunar New Year — 1.7kg on average.


Bureau of Health Promotion Director-General Chiou Shu-ti proposes four New Year’s meal tricks, including the labeling, ingredients, cooking and the staple foods for a Lunar New Year’s Eve meal for people to follow. First, prior to buying food for your New Year’s Eve meal, be sure to look at the calories listed on labels, and then purchase the amount of food according to the number of people in your household. Chiou also suggests replacing fatty meats with lean meats, eating seafood instead of red meat, and when it comes to how the foods should be cooked, she recommends steaming, stewing, heating in hot water, or eating cold foods dressed with sauce instead of fried foods. For staples, she says that grain rice or steamed turnip cakes should be used instead of glutinous oil rice.


Nutritionist Huang Li-ting says that by following the principles outlined above, you can significantly decrease the amount of calories in a meal without changing the portions and eat your fill without having to worry about gaining weight. The amount of vegetables included in readymade New Year’s Eve meals is also insufficient, so Huang suggests preparing extra veggies to increase the amount of fiber and one’s overall feeling of satisfaction.


For smaller households, Huang suggests dividing the meal into smaller portions and only heating up just the right amount of leftovers to avoid overeating. When getting together for a chat, she also suggests eating fresh fruit as a snack along with hot sugarless tea to replace sugary drinks, allowing you to avoid consuming too many calories.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)



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