Chinese New Year, is as great a holiday for eating delicious food as are Thanksgiving and Christmas. Instead of Turkey and Ham, you are more likely to chow down on Peking duck, General Tso’s Chicken, dumplings, and springs rolls. Indeed, if you eat dim sum style or at a buffet, you are just as likely to enjoy a great variety of Asian cuisine.
Despite Asian food’s reputation of not being fattening or filling, it is possible to overdo eating it. So how do you enjoy a good Lunar New Year dinner and still be kind to your waist? The trick, as in all things, is moderation.
What is moderation, exactly?
Writing for the Food Network, Kerri-Ann Jennings, a dietician, examines the meaning of moderation where it comes to eating. The opposite of moderation is extreme eating, where you just devour everything on the table, including the plates and utensils. Moderation means adhering to healthy foods, which Asian cuisine has in abundance, and eschewing unhealthy food, rich in sugar, fat, and salt.
Unfortunately, we tend to love the taste of the very foods that turn out to be unhealthy and hence expands our waistlines. Many people are able to have the will power to stick to fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. Most people just wind up feeling deprived.
Is there a middle ground between extreme eating and extreme moderation? As it turns out there is. Call it sensible moderation.
Knowing what you’re eating
The human body requires a remarkable variety of minerals, vitamins, protein, fiber and, yes, even a variety of fat, sugar, and salt in order to keep functioning properly. If you make yourself aware of what sorts of foods provide these things and it what amounts per portion, you can plan what you eat in advance and, sticking to the plan, not overeat. That includes some food that many people overindulge in, but in smaller portions. And that leads us to portion control.
Portion control with dim sum
Many dieticians preach the value of portion control. The idea is that you don’t avoid fattening foods, just eat less of them alongside the healthier dishes. Going to a dim sum style restaurant for a Lunar New Year dinner is a perfect way to practice this discipline. Dim sum dining involves wait staff rolling bite-sized portions of various foods in steamer baskets through the dining area. You can choose a selection from the cart or let it pass by. Dim sum is an excellent way to sample a variety of Asian dishes without overdoing the portions.
Drinking liquid can help suppress appetite
One well-known trick to keep from overindulging is to drink a lot of water to give the sensation of being full without ingesting the sorts of food that add to our weight. One suggestion, when eating a Lunar New Year dinner, is the supplement your water glass with a cup or two of green tea, which is filled with antioxidants and has a variety of health benefits.
Take home to keep from overeating and stretch your food budget
Many savvy diners will order a big meal and then arrange for a portion of it to be taken home. The idea is that instead of eating a single, big dinner, you will have bought dinner and lunch for the following day.
Conclusion: Everything in moderation, including moderation
Holidays like Lunar New Year are times for good fellowship, taking stock, and good eating. A holiday does not have to be a choice between guilt and deprivation. You should practice moderation in all things, but that includes moderation. Eat wisely and you will not only derive joy and satisfaction from your Lunar New Year dinner but will not have to live with regret later when contemplating the bathroom scales.