Tips on healthy Chuseok diet

PHOTO: Tips on healthy Chuseok diet

Many people have memories of gaining holiday weight after days of feasting with their families over Chuseok.

Most holiday foods are fatty and high in calories as they are usually sweet, fried or roasted. In the old days when food was sometimes scarce, holiday feasts must have been a blessing. But nowadays, when food is plentiful, they aren't healthy in many cases.

With Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving Day, just around the corner, Cho Young-yeon, head of nutrition at Samsung Medical Center, offers the following tips on how to keep a healthy holiday diet.

1. Don't overeat: it will lead to weight gain, even when the food is fat-free or low-calorie. Take modest portions.

2. Keep vegetables near and meats far.

3. Beware of fruit sugar. Especially for those suffering from diabetes, fructose could negatively affect the blood sugar level and pose an overall health threat.

A. Eating the whole fruit instead of juice is better as it is higher in fiber.

B. Beware of portion sizes. About 19 grapes contain 12 grams of fruit sugar and about 50 kcal. Eating such a portion once or twice a day is enough. Also, about 1/3 of an apple, one little half-dried persimmon, eight dates, 1/4 of a pear, and a half portion of sweet persimmon are also measured to be around 50 kcal.

4. If you want to make a fruit cocktail, use sweetener rather than sugar to avoid calories. Eating 1-3 cups a day should be fine.

5. Boil, dissolve or steam rather than fry or roast ingredients. Minimize the amount of oil used when preparing foods and remove as much fat as you can when cooking meat.

A. When frying, minimize the amount of time food is in the frying pan. Fry hard foods first, then move on to softer ones.

B. When making pancakes, soak a towel in oil and gently rub it against the pan rather than pour oil directly into the pan.

C. Place napkins under the pancakes to absorb their oil and fat after cooking them.

6. Don't use oil in salad dressings: soy sauce or vinegar is a much healthier alternative.

"Try to eat as slowly as you can and refrain from binge drinking. Unless you feel good after overeating, skipping a meal or two will soothe your stomach," Cho said.