Healthier Alternative Snacks During Chinese New Year Gathering
Chinese New Year (CNY) is fast approaching and everyone is busy thinking about the goodies to serve your guests or to bring to gatherings as gifts!
It is always great to enjoy fragrant treats like pineapple tarts, peanut cookies, “kuih kapit” or bak kwa. But, there’s no secret that most of these snacks contain huge amounts of fat, sodium, sugar and some even with food additives. Overindulging ourselves with these sinful snacks may contribute to a higher risk of obesity and heart disease. After all, adding inches to our waistline and suffering a sore throat from excessive snacking is not cool!
But, fret not! Here’s how you can still enjoy snacking during CNY gatherings to prevent that guilt-trip!
- Whole Grain Crackers
There are plenty of crackers available in the market. But, the best options are the ones without the use of unhealthy oil, like palm oil; no added refined sugar and low sodium. When you are choosing your crackers from the shelves, a tip to identify if it’s made of natural ingredients is you understand the name of the ingredients, if it sounds too scientific to you, then it’s most likely to be processed. Whole Grain Crackers are packed with high fiber and vitamins, and also helps with lowering our cholesterol levels.
Nuts are good sources of protein, healthy fat, fibers, antioxidants vitamins, and minerals. There are also multiple studies show that eating nuts daily can lower the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. This is due to the high amount of healthy fats in nuts that helps in lowering the bad cholesterol in the body. Nuts like almond, walnut, cashew nut, pecan, brazil nut, pistachios and etc are highly nutritious! Always remember to choose food with least processing, choose trail mix to get a variety of it. Nuts that are lightly roasted with low temperature to sustain its nutritional value and nothing artificial is the best option! Instead of having buttery peanut cookies, choosing natural nuts will be the healthier option!
Similar to nuts, seeds are also packed with healthy fat, good quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and even antioxidants. Some seeds like chia seeds, basil seeds are very high in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids, this will help to regulate our bowel movement and to reduce inflammation in our body. Other seeds are also high in unsaturated fatty acids that will also bring health benefits to us, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and many more. A friendly reminder to choose foods with little to no processing.
- Dried Fruits or Raisins
Dried fruits and raisins are packed with a lot of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. They are also fat-free and cholesterol-free, providing a number of health benefits like lowering the risk of cancer and heart diseases, prevent anemia, and even helps in building and maintaining strong bones. So, consider swapping pineapple tarts that are high in fat and sugar with the natural dried pineapple!
Now you know the healthier alternatives, it’s time to take action! Making healthier food choices can help you enjoy the celebrations while nourishing your body.
Written by: Jasmine Lim
(Love Earth Nutritionist)
[Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietics (major) &
Food Science (minor) lowa State University, USA]