Written by by Christina Chong, AA Pharmacist

Holidays such as Hari Raya are good opportunities for gatherings with loved ones, while enjoying seasonal treats. Feast smartly by making healthier food choices so you can enjoy the celebrations while nourishing your body.

How to have a healthier Hari Raya without slashing any flavor?

Use this substitution guide to help reduce the amount of fat, salt, sugar and calories as you prepare healthy recipes.

Healthy Cooking Oil

Newly popular oils like hemp and grape seed, and long time standards in Asian cuisine like sesame oil are showing up in supermarkets with their own good-for-you claims.

All Hari Raya snacks are unhealthy. or it is?

Here are examples of how you can tweak your recipe for a healthier treat! But remember, the key is still to eat in moderation.

Kuih Tart (82 kcal per piece)

Improvise: The traditional recipe requires you to use sweetened condensed milk. Substitute it with soy or rice milk instead. Combine 3 cups of soy or rice milk with half a cup of white sugar into a saucepan over medium-low heat, and stir till the milk reduces to 1 cup. Add a few drops of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Another healthier alternative is to replace a quarter of the flour with whole wheat flour.

Kuih Bangkit (23 kcal per piece)

Improvise: Replace a small proportion of the coconut milk with milk (about 10%). The texture and taste will be different but this healthier alternative is lower in calories. You may have to try out the recipe a few times before getting the right texture and shape.

Wajik/ Pulut Manis (63 kcal per piece)

Improvise: This treat is notoriously sweet so use less sugar, and swap the brown sugar with date sugar.

Kuih Makmur (55 kcal per piece)

Improvise: Instead of using ghee in this one, substitute it with canola or olive oil for better heart health.

Kuih Suji (80 kcal per piece)

Improvise: Reduce the amount of castor sugar and replace it with dried fruits like dates, prunes and apricots. Another modification is to substitute a quarter or half of the flour with whole wheat flour for added fibre.


  1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER); Healthy Lifestyle Nutrition and healthy eating; July 26, 2016 [online], https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-recipes/art-20047195
  2. 8 Alternative Healthy Cooking Oils; April 24, 2012 [online], http://www.myrecipes.com/healthy-diet/alternative-healthy-cooking-oil
  3. Calories in 9 Hari Raya Treats; May 23, 2017 [online], https://www.mountelizabeth.com.sg/healthplus/article/calories-in-9-hari-raya-treats-and-how-to-make-them-healthier#content