We all know we are what we eat, but on Chinese New Year, what we eat—according to Chinese superstition—can impact how our year turns out. It's always better to be safe than sorry, so here's a list of foods you should eat on Chinese New Year to guarantee luck and prosperity during the year of the rooster. 

1. Long-Life Noodles

In Chinese culture, bowls of cháng shòu miàn, which literally translates to "long life noodles", are eaten on new year's day to ensure happiness and longevity. These noodles are often just one long uncut noodle, served fried or in a light broth, to bless the eater with a long life that won't be cut short. Often, toppings such as bok choy, soy sauce, mushroom, and chicken or pork are also added to the noodles.

2. Fish

A common lucky saying in Chinese is "nián nián yǒu yú", which means something like "may you always have more than you need". "Yu", which is the word for "excess" or "surplus", sounds similar to the word "fish" in Chinese. Because of this homonym, it's tradition to eat fish every new year to bring forth another year of abundance.

Another saying, "Yú yuè lóng mén" directly translates to "fish leaping over the dragon's gate". This phrase means successfully passing a difficult exam (listen up, college students). If you're feeling a little anxious about doing well on upcoming exams, make sure to eat some fish on the luckiest day of the year.

3. Glutinous Rice Cake (Nián Gāo)

Nián gāo is a cake made from sticky rice, sugar, and dates. The name "nián gāo" sounds like "year higher", and expresses hope for a higher—or better—year in terms of income, position, or general improvement in life (can't you tell the Chinese love their homonyms?) This sentiment also applies to promotions, business success, and higher grades. The takeaway? Eat this, because it could very well give you that 4.0 GPA you've been desperately hoping for.  

4. Dumplings

Dumplings are eaten frequently in Chinese households, but it's especially important to eat them on Chinese New Year. Families can bond over the dumpling-making process, which involves stuffing tender dumpling skins with a variety of fillings such as pork, shrimp, Chinese cabbage, scallions, spices and much more. It is believed that dumplings, which resemble traditional Chinese gold ingots, can bring people wealth and prosperity in the new year. 

5. Good Fortune Fruit

The Chinese like to gift and eat "good fortune fruit" on Chinese New Year, which includes mandarin oranges, tangerines and pomelos. Because these fruits are round and golden, they're said to bring good fortune to those who eat them. In addition, the Chinese word for oranges and tangerines sounds like "success", and part of the Chinese character for tangerine contains the character for "luck". Forget eating your veggies on Chinese New Year—focus on eating your cuties instead.  

6. Sweet Rice Balls (Tāng Yuán)

These sweet rice balls, or "tāng yuán", are made of glutinous rice flour and filled with either sesame paste, fruit preserves, chopped peanuts with sugar, or azuki bean paste. They're then boiled and served in a sweet ginger soup. This dessert is typically eaten with family members, as the round shapes and the way the rice balls crowd together in the bowl signifies a circle of unity and family togetherness. 

We should always be mindful of what we're eating—but on Chinese New Year, our luck depends on it. Make sure you're getting seconds of these extra lucky foods, and Happy Year of the Rooster!