Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate with loved ones and greet the new year with enthusiasm and hope! It’s a time we meet our families and connect with one another. More often than not, we bond with each other over food. Breastfeeding and pregnant mummies may be a little concerned about how to navigate during this festive season especially when there are so many foods to choose from. So here are some of this year’s favourite CNY goodies and maybe a few suggestions on how you may make them healthier or safer for you too!
Bak kwa is very commonly eaten and exchanged as a housewarming gift from one household to another. Essentially, it is a type of pork jerky. Yes, we all know that bak kwa is not the healthiest type of food to eat as it’s high in sugar, salt and calories. However, many of us do end up with some bak kwa to have during the festive season and may not know what to do with it. So how can mummies eat them more healthily since it is still a good source of protein?
One way mummies can have them is to have it in a sandwich, by adding some lettuce, tomato onions and two slices of bread! This would make a decent breakfast option from time to time. Another option is to incorporate bak kwa into your fried rice or noodles. Throw in some carbohydrates and vegetables to turn it into a more wholesome meal instead of merely snacking on just bak kwa.
Nowadays, it’s popular to serve yee sang with smoked salmon. This may not be suitable for breastfeeding and pregnant mummies as smoked salmon is a cold dish and many times are not heated. As breastfeeding and pregnant mummies are more susceptible to food poisoning, it’s important to avoid having raw foods during pregnancy. Besides that, there are many sweet plum sauces and syrups served in this dish too! If you are having some, a quick way you can manage this is just to make sure the smoked salmon is heated up until steaming before mixing with the rest of the ingredients in yee sang. This would make it safer for you to have.
One way you can modify it to make it healthier is to make it into a salad by incorporating julienne cut carrots, cucumber, rice noodles, crushed peanuts and non-sugar syrups of your choice. Ensure that all vegetables used are washed thoroughly before preparing to make it safer for you to have them together with your family.
Roasted pork is a great source of protein you can enjoy during this festive season! Pork is also rich in Vitamin B12, Vitamin B1 and also a good source of Iron. These nutrients are essential to provide mummies to build healthy red blood cells and prevent anaemia in mummies especially during the second and third trimester when the demands of these nutrients increase.
Furthermore, roasted pork is also a healthier way to cook pork as there is minimal oil used. Most of the time, roasted pork is the belly where it’s fattier in composition. So just be aware of your portion sizes! Pair it up with steamed fish or other lean meats on the menu or when dining with friends and family. Moderation is key and foods like roasted pork can be enjoyed during pregnancy and breastfeeding!
How can we forget pineapple tarts! It is the holy grail of all Chinese New Year snacks. What is Chinese New Year without having a few pieces of pineapple goodness! As much as many of us enjoy the richness and sweet-sour pineapple, as you have guessed it, it’s very rich in calories as well as sugar due to the pineapple jam made and butter for the pastry.
One way you can still enjoy your pineapple tarts is by keeping count of how many you’re taking a day. Keeping them to about two to three pieces per day is fine as a small snack. Making sure other snacks are avoided when you have some pineapple tarts is also another way to keep yourself in check and still enjoy these delicious goodness. We would not recommend changing the recipes of pineapple tarts as they can never taste exactly the same and may be less enjoyable too. So enjoy your pineapple tarts but be aware and have it in moderation.
Ngaku chips are made from a tuber called arrowhead. In recent years, ngaku chips have gained more and more popularity and have been a cult favourite during the festive season. Its popularity is due to its distinct taste and crispiness. It is less earthly tasting compared to cassava chips, yet not as salty tasting as your regular potato chips with a slightly bitter after taste. No wonder it’s so addictive!
If you’re doing it yourself at home, you can always explore ways to air fry ngaku chips in order to reduce oil. If making your own ones isn’t an option for you, then it’s always a good idea to portion out your snacks in a day to ensure you don’t over-indulge during this festive season. You can always portion out one small Chinese rice bowl of ngaku chips a day as a snack. If you’re enjoying it while visiting friends and family, keep it to at most two palm-size ngaku chips per day. Best to keep it one type of snack a day so that you can keep track of your intake.
Enjoying all these treats and snacks during Chinese New Year is all part of the festivity! We want mummies to enjoy this time with family during pregnancy and breastfeeding and not to get too overwhelmed and paranoid for you and your baby. All in all, it’s just about enjoying all foods in moderation while keeping in check a healthy and balanced diet throughout your breastfeeding journey. We understand how it can be too overwhelming during a festive season. Eating healthy and balanced meals consistently could be the last thing on your mind.
So, for breastfeeding mommies, signing up for a lactation menu plan can easily support you during this period. Furthermore, a breastfeeding meal plan like ReLacto will have special festive Chinese cuisine during the first few days of Chinese New Year so that you can easily have meals with your family without being left out! A lactation diet menu like this will help to keep one less thing off your mind during this season so that you can enjoy your time with your loved ones.