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Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT



Festive holidays are a time for joy, reunions and stuffing our faces with delicious, mouthwatering sweets.

One such festival is just around the corner. It is known for its traditional delicacy, which is a dream-come-true for someone with a sweet tooth. I am talking about the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Along with this festival comes the tradition of eating mooncakes. The super-sweet pastries filled with dried fruit, red bean paste, egg yolk, lotus seeds, pork, duck eggs and other fillings make one drool just by thinking of them.

The filling and the dough of mooncakes vary from province to province, but a couple of ingredients that remain the same are lard or vegetable oil and loads of sugar.

It makes them extremely unhealthy, but we keep eating all that irresistibly delicious food and tell ourselves that we will take up jogging after the festival to burn it all off.

A regular-sized mooncake of about 3.9 inches has about 1,000 calories, a minimum of 40 grams of fat and 60 grams of sugar. To burn the calories consumed in one mooncake, one needs to do rigorous cardio exercise, and let's not forget that these calories are consumed in addition to three regular meals.

If one looks at the ingredients separately, they are actually quite good for your health. Lotus seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. It is low in sodium and cholesterol, making it ideal for people with obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or heart problems.

Duck egg yolk has twice the nutritional value of a chicken egg and is high in omega-3 fatty acids, but it is also high in cholesterol.

Dates are a good source of various minerals and vitamins, and walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. But all the nutrients are destroyed when all the ingredients are mixed with huge quantities of sugar, oil or butter and consumed in large quantities.

Does that mean we should stop eating mooncakes altogether? Hello no! We can't let an age old tradition die, but we can always alter it a little to make it less harmful, maybe even beneficial for our health.

Use less sugar or use healthier sweeteners or honey. Put less icing on the cakes and more fruits and veggies inside them. Devise your own recipe and make them at home, maybe use egg whites instead of the yolk? Most importantly, don't eat the entire cake in one sitting; share it with friends and family.

You will be receiving mooncakes from almost everyone you know.

Keep as little as possible for yourself and re-gift the rest. Giving away someone's gift might sound like a horrible idea, but think of it this way, it's better to re-gift it than let it clog your arteries or give you tires around your waist, and you are also recycling.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.