Beware of extra calorie intake during Lunar NY festivities, HK dietician warns

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Beware of extra calorie intake during Lunar New Year celebrations.

These words were kind reminders from the Department of Health dietician,  Mr. Lo Ting-wai, Kurtus as people gear themselves up for the said festivities.

With Lunar New Year fast approaching and having days off to rest, Hongkongers will either prepare special New Year treats at home for their guests, or eat out with their friends and family members.

But Lo said most of the traditional New Year treats are high in fat and sugar contents.

That’s why be reminded the public to be cautious of their extra calorie intake.

Lo said that another trap of extra calorie intake comes from the celebration meals themselves.

This is given that the dishes made to celebrate the Lunar New Year are mostly high in fat.

To reduce fat intake, people are advised try to trim away visible fat and skin before cooking or eating.

They should also consider preparing dishes by low-fat cooking methods such as steaming, stewing, blanching, baking and stir-frying in less oil.

He also advised people to be aware of sugary drinks. Plain water is always the preferred choice as it provides zero calorie.

Adding fresh lemon, lime or herbs (such as basil, rosemary or mint leaves) likewise gives a refreshing taste.

The HK dietician said that the public may also consider making homemade sparkling drinks by using soda water and fresh fruit juice at home.

“If need to purchase drinks, remember to read the nutrition label and opt for “no sugar” drinks (drinks containing not more than 0.5 g of sugars per 100 mL) or “low sugar” drinks (drinks containing not more than 5 g of sugars per 100 mL). When dining out, you may also consider ordering tea or flowering tea without added sugar,” Lo added.

“Overconsumption of sugars not only increases the risk of dental caries, but also leads to weight gain and eventually increases the risk of being overweight and obese. Turnip pudding and taro pudding are usually made with Chinese preserved sausages and preserved meats which are high in saturated fat. Excessive saturated fat intake leads to extra calorie intake and increases low-density lipoprotein (“bad”) cholesterol and the risk of heart disease,” he stressed.

“When dining out, you may patronise the EatSmart Restaurants and order “More Fruit and Vegetables” dishes (dishes with either fruit or vegetables as the main ingredients) or “3 Less” dishes (dishes with less fat or oil, salt and sugar), Lo added.

NOTE: To look for EatSmart Restaurants, simply visit the thematic website of the “EatSmart Restaurant Star+” Campaign (https://restaurant.eatsmart.gov.hk) for the restaurant search engine. This website also provides healthy recipes in different languages (https://restaurant.eatsmart.gov.hk/links/esr0082_html_en.html) and some of them are accompanied by cooking videos, which facilitate you to prepare healthy dishes at home.