Chinese New Year, or some may call it the Lunar New Year, is right at our doorsteps. For the Chinese around the world, including myself, it is the time of the year to be in the company of our immediate family members, relatives, and friends.

In our midst, there will never be any shortage of delicious snacks and delicacies. Undeniably, these are one of the main things that we can never do without! As such, it is so easy to be tempted and indulge in whatever is presented to us.

Also, because it is a relatively long holiday, lifestyles may change and some of us may lose our discipline in staying healthy and slim during this festive season.

Here are 8 tips to stay healthy during Chinese New Year:

1. Hydrate Yourself

Remember to hydrate yourself. Always remember: water is the real thirst quencher. It contains zero calories and keeps your weight in check. It prevents you from dehydration during home visits and helps you flush out wastes and toxins accumulated from the feasting. As often as you can, choose plain water over fizzy drinks and alcohol.

2. Eat Moderately

It is indeed very tempting to reach out to those Chinese New Year goodies, but remember to snack in moderation. Many Chinese New Year snacks are either too oily, fatty, salty, fried, or sweet, which can be bad for your digestion and health.

Still, it is impossible to inflict a total ban over these snacks during this festive holiday. I’m sure that would be too agonising to yourself. So, I’d say, go for it, but don’t forget to keep to your balanced diet of fibres, proteins and vitamins.

3. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

Stick with high fibre, high protein, and low-carbs diet by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables (and if you like, chicken breast). Not every Chinese New Year food is bad. Here are some of the dishes that you can have more of during Chinese New Year:

(i) Fatt Choy (black hair moss) for its fibre.
(ii) Spring onion for its rich source of vitamins and minerals.
(iii) Lettuce wrap for its fibre and low carbohydrates.
(iv) Unsweetened dried fruits (e.g. cranberries, apricot, persimmon) for its moderate amount of calories and sugar we need for the day.
(v) Nuts and seeds for their unsaturated and monounsaturated fats, as well as vitamins and fibre.
(vi) Mandarin oranges for their rich source of vitamins and antioxidant properties.

4. Do Not Visit Anyone On An Empty Stomach

It is important to make sure that you have a light meal before visiting or in between visits so that you will not feel hungry during your stay at your friends’ or relatives’ house. When you are hungry, everything and anything will look good and taste delicious, including those oily and fatty Chinese New Year snacks.

5. Stay Active

Just because it’s Chinese New Year, that does not mean that you make it easier on yourself. If you have made a New Year resolution to lose some weight or lead a healthier lifestyle in general, then it is super important for you to fight the temptation of slacking off your exercise regime for that week itself.

It is inevitable that you will be eating more during Chinese New Year and putting on more calories. So if you do not burn them off with exercise, they will be stored as fat.

6. Unplug and Recuperate

Before the Chinese New Year holiday, we are usually consumed with loads of distractions and work. Those are sufficient to keep us busy, and sometimes, stressed out. This festive season is not just a time for us to pay our friends and relatives a visit, but to reconnect with ourselves and retrieve back our emotional peace.

Here are some ways you can do it:

(i) Unplug yourself from all electronics and gadgets
For an hour a day, learn to enjoy the freedom of doing something without your electronic devices. The best way is to close your eyes and let your mind focus on whatever that comes into your mind. This mindfulness exercise is especially important before bed to promote a deeper sleep.

(ii) Do something you have always love to do
Perhaps you would like to let your creative juice work for you by painting a picture, or cooking and creating your own dish. At least, for a short moment, do something that you would like to do to reconnect with your long lost hobbies.

(iii) By exceptionally nice to yourself
Perhaps you would like to take this opportunity enjoy a long, hot shower or bubble bath. Perhaps you would like to splurge on a new perfume, or start reading a new novel. Give yourself a good break because you truly deserve it!

7. Get Enough Sleep

Playing mahjong, video games, and card games to the wee hours of the morning could have been your annual Chinese New Year ritual, but the problem with not having enough sleep is that it can lead to poor food choices and procrastinated workout plans.

When you are tired and yet you want to stay up late to finish that game of yours, the chances of you eating more snacks to sustain your energy is very high. This can likely lead to weight gain.

Moreover, if you are the type that does not get enough sleep during the weekdays prior to the holidays, getting enough sleep during Chinese New Year can be one way to catch up on your sleep debts. You may need to re-energise yourself so that you can return to work feeling rested and refreshed after the holidays.

8. Plan Your Day, and Plan Your Year Ahead

To avoid unwanted exhaustion and stress during Chinese New Year, plan your day well!

Have a clear plan beforehand in order to accommodate enough time for hosting guests, visiting your relatives and friends, and also preparing food for guests. Avoid last-minute shopping and last-minute crowds.

Remember to prepare the red packets in advance so as to avoid unnecessary embarrassment.

During the holidays, remember to take the time to plan for the year ahead. The year may have begun a month ago, but it is still new. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt a bit to start planning your year by setting measurable and achievable goals for yourself!

With these 8 tips to stay physically and mentally healthy during Chinese New Year, I hope you have a joyous and blasting good time soaking up all the goodness!

Here’s wishing everyone a Prosperous and Happy Lunar New Year!