Tue, May 03, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Health bureau gives tips on eating right on Mother’s Day

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

With Mother’s Day approaching, the Department of Health yesterday urged the public to avoid foods that are high in fat and cholesterol content as a way of honoring mothers in a healthy way.

To help people choose the right types of food to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, the department’s Bureau of Health Promotion provided some advice for healthy feasting.

Bureau Deputy Director Kung Hsien-lan (孔憲蘭) said popular choices for Mother’s Day meals, such as a 10-course meal of traditional Chinese dishes, could be equivalent to consuming at least 1,600 calories per person.

Considering that a woman who weighs about 60kg and does mild exercise or daily activities such as walking only needs about 1,800 calories per day, a 10-course meal would mean consuming almost an entire day’s worth of calories in a single meal, Kung said.

Other common ways of overeating on holidays include large steak dinners or all-you-can-eat buffets, all of which can boast of calorie intakes of up to 1,500 or even 3,000 calories per meal, Kung said.

The meals are often followed by Mother’s Day cakes, which can contain as many as 2,500 calories, she said.

Citing data from the bureau, Kung said two out of five women between the ages of 50 and 64 may have high blood pressure.

Between 9 percent and 20 percent of people in this age group are also believed to have diabetes, while between 26 percent and 34 percent have high blood lipids.

To celebrate and give thanks to mothers in a way that is healthy, people should choose foods that are low in oil, salt and sugar and to eat small amounts over a longer period of time, such as snacking between meals rather than eating a very large meal all at once.

The bureau hoped to correct a common misconception that avoiding rice — a form of carbohydrate — would help people lose weight. In reality, not eating rice may cause a person to consume more dishes that are high in fat to fulfill their hunger pangs, it said.

Carbohydrates are also an important source of energy for the body, so people are advised to consume rice in moderation, it said.

The bureau added that children should be encouraged to take a walk with their mothers after celebrating with a meal to aid digestion.

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