Chinese New Year: It’s not about the calories.

Chinese New Year: It’s not about the calories.

I’m not someone who gets angry very often. But lately, I’ve been rather annoyed by all the posts about calories and dieting during Chinese New Year.

Since when did Chinese New Year become about the calories? In fact, not just Chinese New Year… Nearly every celebratory occasion that revolves around food (Read: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years.. Even Birthdays for crying out loud) invites a whole slew of posts on how to cut calories, which foods to avoid, and the list of forbidden food and drinks.

Do these sound familiar?
‘Eat before you go to the party so you don’t arrive hungry, and feel tempted to eat everything’

‘Take the fruits, and veggies and avoid the __(every nice sounding food item)___’

‘Bring your own food’ – Seriously, this is just plain rude to the host who has kindly prepared food for you. Unless you have legit allergies, I think it wouldn’t kill to just enjoy what the host took the time to plan and prepare.


It angers me to see that holidays and festive seasons are being seen as diet derailers, occasions dieters dread because of the food that they’ll be faced with. Is there not more to food and weight? Especially during an occasion when you should be celebrating the beginning of a new year, and not fretting over the number of calories you’re going to eat?

Being conscious about what you eat and wanting to be healthy is great! I support that. But during occasions like this, I think it’s important to enjoy the moment and just celebrate. After all, it only happens once a year. I don’t think eating pineapple tarts, or kueh bangkit, once a year will kill you. It’s not like you eat an entire jar in one sitting. (If you do, maybe you want to cut back a little. Haha, moderation is important too.)

Chinese New Year can be a brilliant time for you to learn about traditions from your seniors, you could learn the history behind why we do certain things like not cleaning the house on the first day of CNY, or perhaps you could learn an age-old family recipe from your grandmother! Whatever it is, the focus should be on the people, the culture and the beauty of the traditions


In this day and age, we’re often consumed by wanderlust… We can go on and on about the beauty of other countries, and take the time to experience and enjoy their culture. That’s wonderful. I love travelling and exploring new cultures as well! But I challenge you to do something different this CNY. Come with an open mind and heart, and be like a tourist in your own country. Look at things with a new perspective, ask questions, capture the moments and pay attention to the details. Talk to the older folks in dialect. Wear a traditional costume. (When was the last time you wore a cheongsam?) You never know, you may leave with a great appreciation for Chinese New Year. Perhaps you were so caught up in life that you didn’t take a moment to pause and truly appreciate your very own culture. Perhaps you were too distracted admiring the glamour of life overseas that you forgot about the beauty we have here in Singapore.


Chinese New Year (and all other holidays/celebrations) are meant to be enjoyed, its a time of gathering with family and friends.

This year…
Thank your friends if they offer you homemade CNY goodies, instead of rejecting them because ‘you really couldn’t’

Give more than you take. Try making your own treats and sharing them with friends. In fact, why not have a baking session with your mother, she’ll be delighted to have this bonding time with you. Give your parents angbaos rather than just accepting angbaos. And you know what, don’t just accept angbaos, give a hug in return!

Pause and take a moment to engage in proper conversation with the people around you. Not just small talk. But a meaningful conversation. Don’t forget those who are easily forgotten too… Why not buy a drink for the cleaner uncle/aunty you see? Even just smiling and greeting them would make their day! It’s the small things that count.

Share your culture with others. Perhaps you could invite your non-Chinese friends to join you for a day of celebration! Or perhaps invite some exchange students for a chinese new year dinner. You get to share, while they learn, and you’ll both have loads of fun.


So no, this post was not about the calories in CNY goodies. Why take the fun out of enjoying these goodies by attaching a number to them and labelling them as good or bad? 

This post was written to encourage you to step away the labels, and to just enjoy this annual celebration. Celebrate family, celebrate life, celebrate friendships!

To kick off your Chinese New Year, here is some Link Love for you to check out 🙂

1. Crispy Baked Cod Fish Strips

crispy cuttle fish 065

Recipe here 🙂 

2. Step-by-step guide on how to celebrate Chinese New Year HERE.

3. Bakkwa Sandwich (A whole new level)

4. CNY Goodies with a modern twist

5. Weird CNY Superstitions

So if you didn’t manage to takeaway anything from my long post… at least remember this: Chinese New Year is about the company not the calories.

So go out, have fun and have a very happy chinese new year! 😀

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *