Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chinese New Year: The box of "health and harmony"

The Chinese New Year of the Tiger begins on February 14, 2010 and is celebrated for the next 15 days. More food is prepared and consumed during this holiday than any other time of the year, and much of the food has symbolic connotations.

The Box of Harmony
The box of candies traditionally offered at New Years is round or octagonal, the form resembling togetherness, and contains dazzling rows of fruit and candies to begin the New Year sweetly.
• Each candied fruit is symbolic—though highly sugared, so eat in moderation!
• Symbolisms of and prosperity – a good thing as we deal with current economic realities!
o Kumquat - gold, hence fortune, wealth
o Mango-Golden color symbolizes wealth
o Lotus seeds, crystallized - a full wallet, many (male) offspring
o Candied melon symbolizing good health and growth., having a large number of children
o Coconut: promoting togetherness and friendship
o Water chestnut – unity

The Box of Health and Harmony: A registered dietitian and making healthy recommendations.
• Modernized and updated fruit offerings to also reflect healthy choices.
• These are representative of a food group to encourage: Fruit food group
• Nutrient-rich. That is, they provide much more nutritional value in terms of vitamins, minerals and other healthful components, for the low amount of calories they contain.
o Tangerines are very popular as, among other things, they symbolize abundant happiness.
• Excellent source of fiber and vitamin C
o Walnuts- happiness of the entire family
• Source of omega-3-fatty acid for heart health
o Raisins - wealth, abundance, fertility, many descendants, family harmony
• Only ¼ cup of dried fruit like California raisins counts as one fruit serving and helps meet your recommended 4 servings of fruit/day.
• And try golden raisins-another symbol of gold and prosperity
o Walnuts- happiness of entire family + omega-3 for heart health
o Apricot, dried - gold, wealth
• With anti-oxidants beta-carotene and lycopene
o Apple - wisdom, peace
• Excellent source of soluble fiber and a kid favorite
o Banana - wish for education, brilliance at work/ school
• Potassium to help bone health

Chinese New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving.
• Events that take place during this time set the tone for the rest of the year.
• Take this opportunity to celebrate health, and happiness with your family, and focus on getting your four servings of fruit/day—even in the winter