Hello, Chinese New Year – and unfortunately the calories in Chinese New Year snacks. That little plate of cookies and mini spring rolls can easily add up to over a thousand calories. Add those second servings, multiply with the number of homes you visit, and the wine to toast to New Year and… well, it’s a lot. Manage your CNY goodies calories with our guide!
Brace yourself: each tart contains 93 calories. It takes 15 minutes of running on a treadmill to burn 100 calories, so imagine how many gym sessions you’ll need to burn off the calories after eating a plate.
But the pineapple tart calories isn’t the only problem. It has 2.3 grams of saturated fat, 6.2 grams of sugar, and 58 mg of sodium. Actually, any CNY pastry that has a crust will have similar numbers because of the butter and sugar they put in the dough. So choose which pastry you want to binge on: will it be a tart or a cookie?
Another way to control pineapple tarts calories: make them at home so you can control the sugar, or look for eggless or low-sugar pineapple tarts (try Delcie’s Desserts.) Pineapple tarts also has about 3 times more sodium than other CNY snacks, so drink a lot of water to prevent bloating!
It’s easy to eat an entire plate of this popular Chinese New Year snack, since they’re so small and so light! But just one piece has 56 calories, 4.7 grams of sugar, and 4.4mg of sodium. The good news is that it’s low in saturated fat – at just 0.9g, it’s a slightly “healthier” alternative to pineapple tarts for someone with high cholesterol.
That being said, you really have to be careful how many Love Letters you eat. Three of them is the equivalent of a fried chicken wing, and five of them is a slice of kueh lapis.
Cashew or Almond Nuts Cookies
The average cookie is about 62 calories, but that can shoot up if they’re bigger or if the cashews were sugar-glazed. If you’re nuts about nuts, satisfy your craving by eating a small handful of roasted nuts instead.
These peanut puffs are a little bomb of flavour – and fat. Aside from being made of butter or lard, they’re deep fried in palm oil. Four puffs are already 156 calories, but most of that is fat and harder to burn.
With all the CNY goodies calories you’ll already be eating during the weak, you may want to stay away from this. Or, make a trade: kok chai or a spring roll (both have a lot of crunch) or kok chai or a cashew cookie (for that nutty taste).
If you’re watching your CNY goodies calories, just stay away from this – or just take a tiny bite and savor it! One slice has 275 calories – which takes about 35 minutes of vigorous exercise, or 90 minutes of heavy household chores to burn. Another way to imagine the effect of those Kueh Lapis calories: with that little slice, you could’ve had a bowl of curry, a slice of grilled pork, or 5 pieces of mini spring rolls.
If you’re comparing CNY goodies calories, these cookies are actually a smart choice. They’re only 23 calories each, so it’s like having 3 kueh bangkit for every pineapple tart. They also have only 2 grams of fat and 2 grams of sugar, and the coconut cream is generally a considered healthier oil than the butter in other CNY pastries.
Rose Cookies / Honeycomb Cookies / Beehive Cookies
These beautifully shaped morsels of buttery goodness are hard to resist, and they’re not so bad when it comes to CNY goodies calories. They’re about 45 calories each – less than cashew cookies, Love Letters and pineapple tarts. But like all pastries, they are high in sugar.
Technically, this Chinese sticky cake doesn’t pack a lot of calories. A steamed slice is about 46 calories, and just 0.1 grams of fat. But it’s a rice cake, so it has 7 grams (or nearly two teaspoons) of sugar. (Here’s how to convert grams of sugar into teaspoons.)
The calories and fat go up when the nian gao is dipped in egg and then pan-fried. If you’re watching your CNY goodies calories, just eat it steamed.
Mini Spring Rolls
The savoury snack balances off all the other sweet CNY goodies, and it’s tempting (and easy) to finish off an entire plate without realizing it.
But do count those rolls! Each roll is about 23 calories, and since it’s deep-fried in palm oil you know it’s loaded with saturated fat. They’re also very high in salt, and if you dip them in a sweet sauce you’re adding to your sugar and calories too.
IF you can’t say no to their crunchy goodness (we can’t blame you), just watch the fat and salt on the other CNY snacks you pile on your plate. A high-fat savoury dish like spring rolls and a high-fat pastry like Kueh Lapis and several pineapple tarts in just one sitting are going to wreak havoc on your blood pressure and cholesterol. Instead, pick CNY pastries with lower fat, like Love Letters.
No Chinese New Year table is complete without this savoury snack! This barbecued pork jelly seasoned with soy sauce, sugar and honey is oh so good – but oh so bad, too. One slice is 229 calories (the same as a plate of chicken rice or a bowl of noodles) and has a whopping 7.8 grams of fat, and 24.5 grams of sugar.
But you can say, “It’s only once a year!” and indulge. Just be ready to burn those Bah Kwa calories off. For every slice of Bah Kwa, do 30 minutes of exercise like running, dancing, swimming.
Tips for Managing your CNY Goodies Calories
- Make trades. You can stay within your calorie count and still indulge in your favorite CNY snacks. Just think, “I can have 1 more Bah Kwa if I skip out on the Kueh Lapis.”
- Avoid mindless eating. If you’re going to eat, savor what you what so those calories COUNT. The worst kind of eating is when you’re just popping things in your mouth — like whatever nuts or candies happen to be in front of you.
- Don’t drink your calories. You’re already getting a lot of sugar in your food, so avoid them in drinks. Aside from alcohol, beware of sugar in fruit smoothies. And for now, take your coffee black and skip out on the cream and sugar.
- Drink a lot of water. It helps you feel more full (so you’re less likely to overeat) and you flush out salt and prevent morning-after bloating.
- Watch the portions. It’s okay to try everything, but just control the amount. Take one pineapple tart and stop; or cut a thinner slice of cake.
- Move around. Aside from regular exercise, seek ways to keep moving. Carry your baby cousin for 30 minutes (100 calories burned — yay, that’s two spring rolls!), take the stairs instead of the elevator, offer to help clean the house for the guests (30 minutes of housework burns 200 calories).