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Health Tips for Lunar New Year: Enjoying "Poon Choi" healthily

While some may cook for the Family Reunion Dinner and the New Year Feast, some may choose “Poon Choi” takeaway as an alternative. “Poon Choi” often contains lots of meat with little vegetables and hardly provides any grains. It is generally high in fat and salt since high-fat foods and considerable amount of sauce and seasonings are added during food processing and cooking. Therefore, when consuming, we should be aware of the nutrition quality of “Poon Choi” and avoid excessive intake of fat and salt so as to maintain a balanced diet. Below are some tips for you when ordering and eating “Poon Choi”.

Things to consider when ordering “Poon Choi”

  • Most of the ingredients are meat and seafood. Often, the quantity of these foods for each person on average exceeds what we should have in a day. It is thus recommended to order one in right portion size and consume meat, seafood, beans products in moderation. Sharing with more family members and friends would be a good idea.
  • Meat such as brisket, pork knuckles and goose feet added to “Poon Choi” is usually high in fat. When making an order, choose one with fewer high–fat items, deep-fried foods and textured vegetable protein. An alternative is to ask the restaurant to replace with lean meat and other varieties to limit excessive intake of fat.
  • Sauce and seasonings such as oyster sauce, fermented bean sauce, Chu-hau sauce are high in salt and usually added in large amount. It is recommended to keep the sauce separated from the foods and not to ask for extra sauce for “Poon Choi” in order to limit excess intake of salt (or sodium).

Things to consider when eating “Poon Choi”

  • Add blanched vegetables to the meal to ensure adequate daily intake of vegetables. Aim for 160g (14 catty uncooked vegetables) vegetables for each person when doing shopping.
  • Go with grains such as white or brown rice, udon, rice vermicelli. Remember, the most we eat should be grains, followed by vegetables and the least is meat.
  • Reduce intake of all visible fat from meat and skin of poultry.
  • Do not serve rice with sauce and gravy from “Poon Choi” or cook grains and vegetables in “Poon Choi”.
  • Choose fruit for desserts if desired.
  • People with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and gout should comply with dietary advices from healthcare professionals on “Poon Choi” consumption to avoid any undesirable effect to health.

Food safety when handling “Poon Choi”

  • Avoid early collection. Generally, half an hour to one hour before consumption is preferred. When collecting “Poon Choi”, make sure the “Poon Choi” is kept at above 60°C.
  • Consume the “Poon Choi” as soon as possible after it is collected or cooked. Don't keep it under room temperature for more than two hours. 
  • Before consuming “Poon Choi”, should reheat it thoroughly till the core temperature reaches at least 75°C.
  • Use communal chopsticks and spoons during consumption.