In the Chinese culture, we believe that the more food there is on a plate, the more auspicious it is. And Chinese New Year is the time when many people tend to eat or snack a lot more than usual.
With CNY comes the joy of eating but also the guilt of knowing that your food choices aren't exactly healthy. Here's a list of some common CNY snacks and how much exercise you'll need to burn off those calories.
1 slice of Bak Kwa = 30 mins Jogging
One of the most popular snacks during the festive period is Bak Kwa. This delicacy is made with pork meat, honey, and other seasonings; it is then cut into slices and baked or barbecued. One slice of Bak Kwa has 301 calories, 4.1g of saturated fat, 32g of sugar, and 732mg of sodium (33% of daily intake). To burn off those calories, it takes 30 minutes jogging at a moderate pace or 45-50 minutes doing heavy-duty household chores like moving and carrying boxes.
2 pieces of Pineapple Tarts = 25 mins Jumping Jacks
Eating 2 pieces of Pineapple Tarts will help you “earn” 186 calories, 4.6g of saturated fat, 12.4g of sugar, and 116mg of sodium. If you’re a fan of pineapple tarts, do jumping jacks for 25 minutes, you'd burn 186 calories.
3 pieces Kuih Bangkit = 14 mins Brisk Walking
If you love Kuih Bangkit, it is not a bad snack. It is made of flour, coconut milk, and sugar. This sweet snack may be delicious but may spike your insulin levels due to the sugar content. Its consumption should be limited, especially if you are trying to lose weight or control blood sugar levels. The good news is that three pieces of kuih bangkit has just 45 calories and can be easily burned off by doing a simple brisk walk for about 14 minutes.
1 slice of Kek Lapis = 30 mins Swim
The iconic Kek Lapis Sarawak is not to be missed in almost every household during a festive season, including CNY. But before you grab another piece of Kek Lapis, know that one slice of Kek Lapis has 237 calories, 10.5g saturated fat, 12.1g sugar, and 160mg sodium. To burn off those calories and get back to your regular weight, you can swim for 30-40 mins, jog for 20-25 mins or sweep the floor for 90 mins.
5 pieces of mini fried shrimp rolls = 15 mins Skipping
The mini fried shrimp roll or Hae Bee Hiam roll is also an important staple of CNY. However, 5 mini fried shrimp rolls contain 115 calories, 5g saturated fat, 1g sugar, and 206mg sodium. This snack alone can take 15 minutes of skipping or 40 minutes of vacuuming to burn off.
3 pieces of Love Letters = 25 mins Stair Climbing
If you eat 3 love letters during the Chinese New Year festival, it will take you about an hour of scrubbing the toilet or 25 minutes of climbing the stairs to burn it off.
1 piece of Fried Nian Gao = 50min Sit-Ups
Eating 1 piece of fried nian gao will only set you back 380 calories but it also contains 15g fat & 17g of sugar. Meaning you'll have to do 50 minutes worth of sit-ups to burn off that guilt from eating too much fat and sugar.
6 pieces Peanut Cookies = 12 laps Swim
The best peanut cookies with a melt-in-the-mouth texture! But every delicacy comes with a price too. *Yeiks* If you take 6 pieces of peanut cookies, that’s about 306 calories, 16g fat, and 12g sugar. Be prepared to swim for 12 laps after munching on them!
3 pieces Crispy Honeycomb = 20 mins Cycling
Honeycomb cookie (beehive cookie) is a thin and crispy deep-fried pastry. It’s said that Chinese New Year is incomplete without this Traditional Flower Molded Snack. But if you eat 3 pieces of this Crispy Honeycomb, you'll need to cycle for 20 minutes to burn off this 150 calories of Crisp. *gasp*
It's Chinese New Year and everyone's favorite snacks are in abundance, it’s okay to enjoy the snacks in moderation. But if your New Year Resolutions is to lose weight, one of the best ways to burn off that extra weight is to increase your physical activity. Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle will help you lose weight, improve fitness, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Written by: Jasmine Lim
Love Earth Organic Nutritionist
Bachelor of Science Degree in
Dietetics (major) & Food Science (minor)
Iowa State University, USA