Sun, Oct 26, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Three chefs receive kudos for low-salt, low-fat recipes

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Three people received cash prizes for their healthy, low-sodium dishes at a cooking contest organized by the Bureau of Health Promotion yesterday.

The first-place winner, Chen Cheng-wei (陳正緯), received NT$50,000 for his low-salt, low-fat spring rolls.

“I used everything I learned and put it into this dish,” Chen said, beaming with pride upon receiving his award.

Of the 72 people who entered the first round of the contest by submitting their low-sodium recipes, five made it to the final round for nutritious meals that contained very low levels of sodium and fat.

During the final round yesterday, the five finalists prepared their dishes before a panel of judges, which consisted of chefs, bureau representatives and nutritionists.

The activity also featured magic shows and health-related trivia games, attracting hundreds of families.

Chef A-gi (阿基師), a famous chef in Taiwan, was among the judges who tasted the finalists’ dishes and evaluated them based on various criteria including taste, creativity and healthiness.

“You don’t have to add a lot of salt to make food taste good … Eating less salt is also better for your health,” he said.

The bureau recommends less than 6g of salt, or 2,400mg of sodium, per person per day. A diet high in sodium can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, it said.

Chang Hsing-chen (張幸真), a researcher at the bureau’s Division of Adult and Elderly Health and also one of the judges, offered many tips on lowering sodium consumption

Although it may be difficult to calculate the exact amount of sodium consumed during a meal, a good way to start is by adding less sauce or spices when preparing the foods, she said.

Chang said that when eating out, one can still lower the amount of sodium consumed by dipping food into a cup of water first.

Sauce or juice made from fruits such as mango, lemon and orange are good substitutes for salt, soy sauce, vinegar and MSG, which are less healthy as they contain high amounts of sodium, she said.

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