It is always difficult to get around eating a few mooncakes, or yuebing, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, but the crust and filling of traditional mooncakes are typically high in fat and sugar, making them potentially quite unhealthy. The Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP) under the Department of Health is promoting healthy improvements made to traditional mooncakes in hopes of providing people with healthy alternatives.
Chiou Shu-ti, Director-General of the BHP, suggests that people cut their mooncakes into smaller pieces and share them with family members and friends, eating them with fruit and sugarless hot tea. Chiou also says that people should eat less rice and noodles and exercise more if they are eating mooncakes. Taking a stroll to enjoy the moon is always a good choice, she says.
Local health bureaus across Taiwan have selected 16 different kinds of improved mooncakes, which they are recommending to the public. Among the mooncakes is a 50g “golden red treasure mooncake,” which only has 161 calories. The maker of the mooncake, Liu Jui-chi, says that he mostly uses local golden yams from Hualien County and roselle, or hibiscus flower, from Taitung County, giving the mooncakes the sweetness of yams and the mild sourness of the roselle, which makes for a healthy and refreshing treat indeed.
Shaddock cookies available from Douliou in Yunlin County each weigh 72g and have 216 calories, which is less than the 280 calories found in the average bowl of rice.
If you would like to know more about healthy mooncakes, you can visit the BHP’s Web page, “Improving Mooncakes and Enjoying the Moon with Ease” (https://obesityap.bhp.gov.tw/Festival/list.aspx?G=101%E4%B8%AD%E7%A7%8B).
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)