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Tips for a well-balanced diet on Chinese New Year

One of the most important holidays of the Chinese lunar calendar falls on Saturday, January 28th in 2017. Chinese New Year is all about embracing good fortune and reuniting with loved ones, and many families will be holding large celebrations over the course of two weeks.

The festivities include exchanging gifts of red envelopes of money; eating delicious oranges, cakes, and candy; decorating the home with red paper lanterns and banners; incorporating Fu, characters that wish people good fortune; and having a dragon or lion dance to cleanse the home from ill fortune.

An integral part of the celebration is food, as certain foods represent prosperity, luck, and good fortune.

“With celebrations lasting until the Lantern Festival on February 11, it's important to make sure you have a well-balanced diet,” recommends Rowena Leung, registered dietitian at Loblaws. “By picking the right ingredients, it's easy to make a more nutritious meal that doesn't sacrifice flavor or symbolism.”

Follow these tips from Rowena to ensure you get these nutrients.

1. Don't forget the Pomelo. To reap the full benefits of this fruit, make sure to eat the pith and skin for a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, fibre, and heart-healthy potassium. Soak the skin of the pomelo the night before to remove bitterness and braise the skin, just like you would an orange, with the meat of your choice to add flavor and fibre to your entree. Available in pink and yellow, both have the same nutritional benefits but, like grapefruit, you may find that the pink one tastes sweeter.

2. Choose Shirataki noodles. If you're going to serve your guests noodles, Shirataki noodles are a great option since they're low-calorie and practically carb-free. It's important to add some protein to round out the dish so include Rooster brand firm tofu along with some of your favourite vegetables for additional vitamins and minerals.

3. Add lentils to your rice. Choose brown rice over white for this staple, as it has more magnesium, phosphorous, and fibre. Plain brown rice won't provide you with all the nutrients you need for a nutritious meal, so add some lentils to the mix, which help to lower cholesterol and help manage blood sugar. Lentils are also an excellent source of fibre that helps moderate digestion.

– News Canada

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