7 good luck foods for the new year - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

7 good luck foods for the new year

Updated: Dec 23, 2013 05:17 PM
© iStockphoto.com / Michael Krinke © iStockphoto.com / Michael Krinke


By Ashley Henshaw

New Year's Day brings a refreshing feeling of renewal that many people look forward to. It's a time when people are making resolutions, setting goals and dreaming of what may come in the next 12 months. With all the feelings of hope and inspiration, why not add some good luck into the mix? The following are some of the foods that are associated with good luck in the New Year. Read this list and start preparing your grocery list to make this year one of your best ever.

1. Grapes

In Spain, grapes are thought to be a great way to guarantee good luck. This tradition originated in 1909 when grape growers wanted to get rid of a surplus of their product. They had an original idea to encourage people to eat 12 grapes at midnight, one for each month of the year. Those following the tradition should pay attention to the taste of each grape – if the fourth grape is sour, then April might be a rough month. This popular practice has spread to other countries as well, including Portugal, Cuba and Mexico. Best of all, grapes are great for your health. They can help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and improve the function of blood vessels.

2. Fish

Fish was a food fit for a feast ever since the Middle Ages. In more recent times, it has been a popular holiday food in both Danish and Italian homes. Herring in particular is traditionally eaten at midnight in Germany and Poland, with the fish scales being kept in their wallets for good luck. Meanwhile, the Japanese sometimes eat herring roe for fertility, sardines for a good harvest and shrimp for long life. The great thing about these traditions is that fish is great for your health. It is a very healthy source of protein that is packed with healthy vitamins that lower your risk of heart disease.

3. Greens

Various greens are often cooked and served for New Year's for the simple fact that they resemble folded money, thereby symbolizing the hope of economic success in the new year. The foods in this category include stewed kale, cabbage and collards, with many cultures advising that the more greens you eat at New Year's, the greater your fortune will be next year. The great thing about this tradition is that these vegetables are a great source of vitamins, fiber, potassium and lots of great vitamins. Plus, they can help reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

4. Legumes

Several countries consume various types of legumes for good luck in the New Year. In Japan, the traditional meals during the first few days of a new year often include sweet black beans. In Italy, green lentils and sausages are eaten just after midnight on New Year's Day. Brazilians tend to have a dish with lentils as their first meal of the new year. In any case, the association between legumes and good luck has to do with the fact that they resemble coins, thereby signaling good fortune. The great thing about legumes is that they are wonderful for your health. They are a great source of fiber and are packed with disease-fighting vitamins and nutrients.

5. Pork

In some cultures, pigs symbolize progress, making pork a great good luck food for the new year. In several countries, including Portugal, Hungary and Austria, suckling pig is served on New Year's. Although pork should be eaten in moderation, it does offer some great health benefits. Like many other meats, pork includes healthy proteins, B vitamins and a range of nutrients which are great for building stronger muscles and bones and having healthier blood.

6. Noodles

In Asian countries like Japan and China, long noodles are often eaten on New Year's Day because their appearance is a symbol of longevity. Traditionally, the noodles are stir-fried so that they won't break during the cooking process. The great thing about this particular good luck food is that noodles contain fiber, B vitamins and minerals. For the best health benefits, get noodles made with whole grains, which are more filling and therefore help you to avoid overeating and consuming too many calories.

7. Round Fruit

Eating round fruit is suspected to bring good luck due to both the sweet flavor and the resemblance to coins. In the Philippines, 13 round fruits are traditionally are eaten on New Year's Day since 13 is considered a lucky number. In Europe and the U.S., 12 are eaten – one for each month of the year. The best part is that fruits are filled with lots of vitamins and nutrients and can also protect against certain types of cancer.

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