How to Eat Healthy Over Chuseok

      October 04, 2017 06:07

      All holidays have their own special foods, and Chuseok, marking the harvest moon, is particularly rich in seasonal dishes. But how to survive the holiday without upsetting your stomach and putting on pounds?

      Ko Kwang-suk at Ewha Womans University said, "The food that people eat during holidays, regardless of where they are in the world, is high in calories and fat. Festive seasons are greasy times." This brings psychological comfort but can also lead to stomach trouble. The best way to fight this is not to deny yourself any pleasures but eat less of everything, and think of lighter variations.

      Songpyeon, the crescent-shaped rice cakes that are a staple of Korean Thanksgiving, can be made in a healthier way. One way is simply to change fillings. Songpyeon are usually stuffed with sesame seeds, chestnuts or red beans, with sugar or honey added for sweetness. Just cutting down on the sugar can make all the difference.

      "Songpeyon with lots of sugar or honey quickly increases blood sugar levels, and they have much higher calories than you might think," said Ko.

      Beans are the healthiest filling as they are rich in fiber and protein and have all essential amino-acids. The protein in beans lowers harmful LDL cholesterol. Or think outside the box and use non-traditional ingredients. "Semi-dried persimmon or semi-dried berries are also healthy options," according to Ko.

      Once songpyeon are steamed, they are coated in perilla or sesame seed oil. Rice cakes in high-calorie oil are not healthy. And even though perilla or sesame oil is vegetable oil rich in unsaturated fat, it is fat after all. For people suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, or metabolic syndrome, avoid oil-coated songpyeon.

      You can also use barley or whole wheat flour instead of rice flour to make rice cakes as that will help prevent blood sugar from shooting up and reduce calories.

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