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bullet Bulge-free binge
 Source: Asiaone
Tuesday,  2 | 2 | 2010

The Chinese New Year is two weeks away, and traditional treats such as pineapple tarts and bak kwa (barbecued pork) will be on offer at every home you visit.

And it would be a persnickety partypooper indeed who could resist gorging on these goodies. Trouble is, once the festivities are over, the results of all that snacking still linger - in the form of a bulging waistline.

But the good news is that with a bit of planning ahead, you can binge - well, sort of - without ballooning.

Take the example of health-conscious civil servant Fiona Lee, 27. She plans to eat more steamed foods rather than calorie-laden fried fare during the festive period.

'I definitely won't abstain from eating CNY goodies, since it's a family bonding thing, but I will eat in moderation.'

She also plans to work out more at the gym and 'detox' her digestive system by eating more fruit and vegetables after the festivities.

Indeed, dietitians who LifeStyle spoke to say that it is possible to snack healthily through a combination of realistic goals, moderation and discipline.

A senior dietitian with Raffles Hospital, Ms Nehal Kamdar, says that planning to lose weight during the holiday season is 'self-defeating'.

Instead, the plan should be to maintain your weight and resume your projected weight loss after the festivities are over. Her advice: 'Rather than binge throughout the season, feast on a few special days.'

Mrs Magdalin Cheong, chief dietitian at Changi General Hospital, also advises planning your time wisely to maintain your regular exercise regime.

Even visiting relatives can become an opportunity for exercise - take the stairs instead of the lift or walk to the destinations instead of driving there.

Dieticians advice

  • Do not leave home on an empty stomach as this may lead to overeating. Have a healthy snack such as wholemeal crackers or a low-calorie barley drink beforehand.
  • Spend your time chatting with others rather than focusing on the food.
  • If you cannot resist the goodies, sample a little and put the rest away.
  • Try healthier snacks such as oranges, which are especially beneficial for the immune system, and pistachio nuts, which may help lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Ask for low-calorie drinks such as tea without sugar or diet soft-drinks.
  • When meal-time starts, watch the fat by limiting fried foods and avoiding rich sauces, gravy and salad dressing.
  • Load your plate with vegetables, which are high in fibre and low in calories.
  • Keep your first helping small, especially if your host expects you to have seconds.
  • Eat slowly - putting your utensils down between each bite helps - to know when you are full.
  • Always leave some food on your plate so the host does not top it up.
  • Watch your alcohol consumption - keep within the recommended three standard drinks a day for men and two for women.
  • Finish your meal with fruit or fruit agar agar. 
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