Start the new year right! As we indulge ourselves this season with a wide array of festive delights, it is also timely to consider how we can stay healthy and take charge of our health. As they say, prevention is better than cure. Do not wait till it is too late! Here are some tips for you to stay healthy this new year.

Healthy gut microbiome with pre and probiotics

Celebrating occasions like Chinese New Year becomes even more vibrant when incorporating a diet rich in prebiotic and probiotic foods, aligning with diverse culinary traditions. Prebiotics, found in fruits like lychee, and vegetables such as garlic, provide essential nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria, promoting digestive well-being.

In the festive spread, fermented treasures like kimchi and miso take centre stage, offering not only a burst of flavours but also live beneficial bacteria that contribute to a balanced gut microbiome. This delightful combination not only supports digestion and nutrient absorption but also honours a variety of cultural traditions, making it a flavourful and health-conscious choice during special festivities.

Eat hot pot while staying hot

Every household celebrates this festive season differently. For some, hot pot may be a yearly festive meal, but for some families hot pot could be a norm on the dinner menu.

Eating hotpot

Here are some ways you can incorporate healthy eating while enjoying your favourite hot pot.

  1. Opt for a lighter soup base. A lighter soup base with reduced sodium levels are healthier and just as tasty.
  2. Go for leaner protein options such as lean pork collar, chicken, fish, and seafood. Other meats such as internal organs, and belly meat have more fats and added calories.
  3. Increase your intake of vegetables that are high in fibre. Some examples include cabbage, spinach, mushrooms, and carrots.
  4. Reduce intake of processed food such as fish balls, crab sticks, sausage. These must-have hot pot ingredients are packed with sodium, saturated fats, and preservatives. Last but not least, avoid dipping your food in heavily flavoured sauces. Some suggestions for light dipping sauces include fresh cut chillies with soya sauce, and vinegar sauce.

Healthy snacking

Aside from munching on leftover Christmas chocolates and yummy Chinese New Year goodies, consider eating alternative healthier snacks to rack up lesser calories.

CNY snacks

Some alternatives can be fruits, nuts, or vegetable sticks and hummus. A tip to healthy snacking is to make it easier by keeping healthier snacks accessible and convenient, such as placing them on the kitchen counters or at eye-level on the shelves.

Move when possible

Every step counts. No matter how long the distance or how rigorous the activity, any form of activity is better than none.

The recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, which is equivalent to 30 minutes of exercise for five days each week. Do not give up if you find it hard to commit to this amount of exercise.

Find ways to incorporate movement into your daily life. They include taking the public transport, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, and going for daily short walks to clock steps.

Stay hydrated

The healthiest beverage one can consume with ease is none other than plain water. With no calories, not only does it help with weight management but also in reducing overall calorie intake when substituted for drinks that contain calories.

The benefits of drinking water is simple, yet commonly overlooked. Water helps prevent dehydration, a condition that brings about signs such as fatigue, tiredness, or even headaches. This in turn impacts your daily life.

Sometimes, your cravings for an afternoon snack could also be due to thirst and not hunger. Drinking enough water prevents you from over-snacking in office, keeping your waistline in check.

This article was contributed by: Bibi Chia, Principal Dietitian, Raffles Diabetes and Endocrine Centre