Exactly how calorie dense are mooncakes?
Traditional mooncakes are baked with lotus or red bean paste, melon seeds and salted egg yolk filling. Seems pretty healthy right? Baked, red beans and eggs. Don't be deceived by their size, these tiny delights can pack up to 800 calories each! That’s equivalent to eating 80 apples or 5 mango puddings or 3 and a half portions of Rojak! More luxurious mooncakes like snowskin durian or truffle filled may contain up to 1000 calories each!
In this case, the softer snowskin and the traditional baked mooncake crusts are “healthier”. Teochew style flaky crust mooncakes can also affect your waistline, containing more fat as the crust is made from alternate layers of oily, stir fried dough.
Get to know the ingredients!
- Many mooncakes tend to contain high amounts of sugar especially the ones containing truffles or alcohol. There are some mooncakes offering low sugar alternatives such as Maltitol, giving it the same sweetness with half the calories! These are more suitable for Diabetics
- Watch the yolk! Salted egg yolks are a delicacy but high in salt, fat and cholesterol
- A single egg yolk can contain up to 80% of your daily cholesterol limit.
- Opt for single yolk or without yolk to reduce your sodium intake. A diet high in sodium can cause hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Indulgent fillings such as chocolate tend to have a higher saturated fat content
Share the mooncakes with friends and family!
This can help portion sizes and prevent overeating. Plus MAF is a time for reunion and get-togethers. Optimal snack portions are between 100-200 calories, which is roughly 1/8 of a mooncake.
Burning those extra calories off by exercising can be a effective way to stay trim.
The calories in a single lotus mooncake with 2 yolks can be burned off doing 125 minutes of cycling or 2 hours of kickboxing. A dark chocolate mooncake would be the equivalent of 85 minutes of cycling or 90 minutes of swimming.
For the busy office workers, check out some in-office workout suggestions!
6 cardio exercises to do in the office.
8 Legs and Butt Exercises to do in the office.
9 Shoulder and Arm Exercises to do in the office.
Bake Your Own
Although some might argue that baking is a huge hassle, it may not be so! There are many variations of mooncakes available that are simple and easy to make such as agar agar mooncake or snow skin mooncake. In these recipes, swap calorie dense fillings like lotus paste for healthier alternatives like sweet potato or yam. They provide an antioxidant boost as well as a lower fat and sugar content.
Alternatively, sugar substitutes like stevia can add sweetness with fewer calories or try dried fruits and nuts for sweetness with extra vitamins and fibre.
Baking your own mooncakes also mean easier portion sizes! Shape your mooncakes to smaller snack sized portions for easier control.
On a side note, the introduction of healthy superfoods in the mooncake season has been seen. Snowskin Chlorella and melon seed mooncakes to mooncakes with bird's nest and custard. Although they may be marketed as "healthier", do watch your portion sizes still! As with all other mooncakes, they contain a significant amount of calories and can result in weight gain and other issues associated with excessive caloric intake.
Healthy Mooncake Recipes
The Straits Times
Certified nutritionist with sports and fitness in my blood. Basketball is my passion and I live by Ali’s saying “don’t count the days, make the days count” View all articles by Sara.