How to enjoy your mooncakes more healthily
Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Mooncake Festival, is coming up on October 1, 2020. Hear from a dietitian on how you can enjoy the tasty treat in more sensible and healthy ways.
Mooncakes are almost synonymous with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th of the eighth month in the lunar calendar. Although mooncakes come in a wide range of flavours nowadays, they are similar in that they generally contain high calories, carbohydrates and fats, while being low in fibre, protein or vitamins.
Take a glance at the recipes for mooncakes and you will find ingredients like flour, sugar and golden syrup – which are refined carbohydrates. The excess sugar we consume will be converted into fats and may cause unhealthy weight gain. Sometimes, unhealthy fat such as palm oil, lard and shortening are used in commercially-produced mooncakes, which can raise the bad cholesterol level in our body and increase the risk of heart disease.
“In short, mooncakes overload our body, while providing little nutrition,” said Javier Won, dietitian from Sengkang Community Hospital (managed by SingHealth Community Hospitals). “I would recommend that we eat them as an occasional treat but not regularly or as a main meal, especially for those with diabetes.”
He shared more tips on how to enjoy mooncakes sensibly:
• Share & care – Practise portion control by limiting yourself to one-eighth of an average size of mooncake each time and sharing the rest with your family and friends. You can also take the mooncake as a dessert after your main meal so that you will not be too hungry and end up overeating. If you plan to have mooncakes, cut one quarter of rice or noodles from your bowl for your main meal so that you will not consume too much carbohydrates or have a hike in your blood sugar level.
• Make smart choices – Not all mooncakes are equal. Snowskin mooncakes usually have fewer calories than the traditional baked ones. Of course, this also depends on the fillings! You can make smart choices by reviewing the nutritional values and ingredient list before your purchase and opt for the healthier low-sugar/ low-fat choices.
• Pair the treat with tea – As mooncakes are already a sweet treat, pair them with non-sweetened beverages like the traditional Chinese tea or green tea. Tea is not only fragrant but also contains antioxidants.
This article has been adapted with permission from the original article which appeared on HealthXchange.sg by SingHealth.
(** PHOTO CREDIT: SingHealth Community Hospitals)