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Celebrating Moon Festival – Tips for Healthy BBQ

Healthy ways to enjoy barbecue during Moon Festival As families reunite under the full moon during the Moon Festival, barbequing has become a household pastime. While enjoying delicious grilled food, how do you prevent high-oil and high-calorie foods from affecting the health of your digestive system and figure?

This year (2019), Taipei City Government’s Department of Health (DOH) invited nutritionist Tu Ming-hui from the Renai branch of the Taipei City Hospital to offer citizens culinary tips on barbequing during the Moon Festival.

High fiber, low fat, and less sauce:
Choose fresh ingredients such as lean meat (pork loin), fish, and vegetables (king oyster mushroom, baby corn, and sweet pepper) to replace processed foods. Moreover, people should eat more vegetables to stimulate bowel movement and increase the feeling of satiety; minimize the intake of meats or staple food (such as toast) in order to lower the burden on your digestive system. Additionally, excessive sauce will lead to excessive intake of sugar, sodium, and calories, therefore diluting it with water or using homemade sauce prepared with fresh vegetables and fruits will help to control the amount of intake.

Change the way you cook and drink lots of water:
Marinated meats should not be garnished in barbeque sauce. Thicker cuts of meat can be blanched or boiled in water before grilling to prevent food poisoning from undercooked meat. This method also helps to prevent the generation of carcinogens due to charring of food. Beverages are often required to quench thirst while barbequing, but drinks with excessive sugar content will only make you thirstier, therefore it is advised that you drink water or non-sugary beverages such as tea in order to really quench thirst. The refreshing jelly drink offered this time is made from fresh pitaya and agar-agar. Rich in dietary fibers, the drink facilitates bowel movements, increases the feeling of satiation, and decreases excessive meat consumption.

Only grill what you can eat and eat in moderation:
The concept of only grilling what you can eat and eating in moderation should be observed. Avoid excessive calorie intake to enjoy the festive ambiance while minimizing kitchen waste and food waste. In particular, chewing carefully and swallowing slowly is another important concept because slow-eating allows you to savor the food, and appreciate its delectable flavor.

DOH urges the public to clean all the ingredients thoroughly before barbequing, and it is imperative to separate cooked food from raw ingredients by using different containers and tongs in order to prevent cross-contamination. On the other hand, raw food cannot be exposed to room temperature for too long and its temperature must be monitored; also, it is important to make sure food is cooked thoroughly to avoid food poisoning. Remember to keep a habit of exercising 150 minutes every week in order to maintain physical health. All of the abovementioned information is published on the DOH’s website.