The Council of Agriculture yesterday announced the winners of its creative and healthy rice lunchbox competition, aimed at encouraging the public to eat more rice.
To increase the nation’s rice consumption, the council’s Agriculture and Food Agency held a online creative lunchbox competition and 194 photographs of lunchboxes were uploaded during the two months the competition ran.
After five first-round winners were determined by the public’s online votes, the agency yesterday announced the five that would enter the final round to be judged by doctors, nutritionists and other specialists, based on the creativity and balanced nutrition of each lunchbox.
The ingredients in the winners’ lunchboxes were all decorated with cartoon characters — Winnie the Pooh, an Angry Bird, a bear in a tub, a black cat on a piano and a smiling mushroom.
Yang Shu-hui (楊淑惠), an associate professor at Taipei Medical University’s school of nutrition and health sciences, said many people eat noodles or bread as a staple, but there are additives in those foods that are often unhealthy, so rice is a better staple for a nutritious diet and the feeling of fullness from eating rice can also help reduce high-fat food intake.
“The public seem to be less interested in eating rice, so we are trying to make children aware of the best food ingredient in Taiwan — domestic rice,” Council of Agriculture Deputy Director-General Chen Chien-pin (陳建斌) said.
Chen said that changes in the nation’s daily diet have caused Taiwanese to consume only about 45kg of rice each a year, about a third of the amount eaten in the past.
The agency said the winners of the competition have made their children interested in eating rice through their creative lunchboxes.
Huang Tsui-chin (黃翠琴), the creator of the Angry Bird lunchbox, said she used to have to run after her son to feed him, but after she made the lunchbox, her son would sit down at the table and eat by himself.