A gentle reminder on mindful eating this CNY by the Health Minister


After nearly three years of battling the pandemic, the Chinese New Year (CNY) this year feels a little bit more normal as we fully resume our celebrations.

And with CNY goodies all laid out, it’s naturally very tempting for us to stuff our faces silly when we go visiting. Hey, we are only human.

What we can do then is to practice mindful eating and portion control — a message brought to you by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

In a video, he, along with Ms Priscilla Darmawirya, Senior Dietitian from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, also went through several CNY snacks to find out — gasp — how much calories are in them and how much exercise one would need to do to burn those calories.

The calories and the number of steps

10 Hae Bee Hiam rolls: 228 calories. To burn 228 calories, one has to walk 4,560 steps or walk about 46 minutes.

2 Kueh Bangkit cookies: 40 calories. To burn 40 calories, one has to walk 800 steps or walk about 8 minutes.

2 Pineapple Tarts: 200 calories. To burn 200 calories, one has to walk 3,800 steps or walk about 38 minutes.

1 slice of Bakkwa: 300 calories. To burn 300 calories, one has to walk 6,200 steps or walk about 62 minutes.

Surprised that his favourite Kueh Bangkit is only 20 per calories, Minister Ong said: “I walked four minutes here, so I can eat one.”

The temptation is real

“The problem with CNY is that when you visit relatives, you sit there and they put all these [goodies] in front of you just eating non-stop. That requires a marathon to burn all the calories,” said the Health Minister.

What can we mere mortals do then?

Ms Darmawirya suggested mindful eating or portion control by putting the snacks on a plate instead.

Pro tip from Petir: use a smaller plate so that the portion looks more.

According to the Health Promotion Board, there are several ways to survive the CNY feasting.

– Exercise while doing visiting. For instance, take the stairs or walk a short distance to the next destination.

– Eat proper meals so that you don’t visit hungry.

– Give soft drinks or alcoholic drinks a miss. Check out the new Nutri-Grade.

“So this CNY, enjoy the food, enjoy the festivities but bear in mind how much calories you are taking and practise mindful eating and portion control.”

You can watch the video here.

Cover photo credit: Ong Ye Kung / Facebook