Fattening CNY foods to avoid at all cost

SINGAPORE - Chinese New Year is a once-a-year occasion where goodies can be still be enjoyed, but in moderation and noting portion sizes.

Listed below are the common dishes consumed during CNY that needs portion control:

Bak Kwa

Bak kwa is generally high in energy, fat and sugar. Two slices of bak kwa contain about 600kcal of energy or comparable amount of energy to a plate of chicken rice. About 75 per cent of energy is provided by the fat in meat and sugar or honey, added for flavouring.

A considerable amount of salt is also added both as a flavouring agent and as a preservative. Two slices of bak kwa contain about half the recommended daily level of salt.

If you really have to...

Half a slice each time and not more than one slice a day

Pineapple tarts

Pineapple tarts are high in fat and sugar. Three pieces of tarts can contain as much as 300 calories, and is equivalent to about one bowl of rice, but with far more fat and sugar. The sugar content is equivalent to about five teaspoons of sugar.

If you really have to...

Two tarts each time and not more than four tarts a day

Preserved meats (e.g. chinese sausages and waxed duck)

Preserved meat such as Chinese sausages and waxed ducks are generally high in fat and salt. For example, two pieces (40g) of waxed duck contain about 880 mg of sodium (2g salt).

This is about half the recommended daily limit of 2,000mg sodium (5g salt). One small link of Chinese sausages contains almost the same amount of fat as half a plate of fried kway teow.

If you really have to...

Use preserved meat ingredients in moderation to add variety and interest to a dish rather than eating them as a main dish. Also, reduce the amount of salt used in the dish as the preserved meat will impart saltiness to the dish.

Sweetened beverages

A can of soft drink typically contains about six to eight teaspoons of sugar. Carbonated soft drinks tend to have about 20 per cent higher sugar content compared to non- carbonated soft drinks.

It is recommended that our daily sugar intake should not exceed eight to 11 teaspoons of added sugar, as excessive sugar intake can lead to weight gain.

If you really have to...

Choose healthier versions such as plain water, sparking mineral water, reduced sugar drinks or sugar-free soft drinks.

You can also choose beverages with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) as HCS products are about 25 per cent lower in sugar compared to other drinks without the HCS.


Alcohol is calorie dense, containing 7 kcal per gram as compared to 4 kcal per gram of carbohydrate or protein and the extra calories from drinking may eventually lead to weight gain.

For example, four cans of beer would provide the same amount of calories as a plate of chicken rice.  Prolonged excessive drinking also leads to increased risk for heart and kidney disease, stroke and liver cirrhosis.

Excessive alcohol may also cause motor and industrial accidents, violence, and social and psychological problems. You wouldn't want to get into a car crash or a fight on CNY would you?

If you really have to...

If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Not more than two standard drinks per day for women, and not more than three standard drinks per day for men.

Or you can try mixing fruit juice and sparkling water with some alcoholic beverages like white wine.

A standard drink is defined as 10g of alcohol and may comprise of:

- 2/3 regular cans of beer [Ave: 5% alc/ vol] (220ml)
- 1 glass of wine [Ave: 12%alc/vol] (100ml)
- 1 nip of spirit [Ave: 40% alc/vol] (30 ml)

Nutritional information and caloric counts provided by the Health Promotion Board (HPB).