Healthy Ways to Enjoy a Hot Pot Meal in Winter
Hot pot (pinyin: huoguo, Chinese:火锅) is a perfect dish for winter entertaining when friends and families get together. Hot pot may not be appropriate for everyone, however. Some people may experience excessive internal heat, oral ulcer and indigestion after hot pot meals. In a more serious condition, sudden onset of gastrointestinal disease appears.
Hot pot certainly can be healthy, provided you choose your ingredients, base soup and dipping sauces carefully to avoid an overdose of sodium, saturated fats, and carbohydrates in your meal. Here are some expert tips to enjoy a healthy hot pot meal.
1. Increase the portion of vegetables
Vegetables are rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber and they can help maintain digestive health. But don't cook the vegetable for a long period of time, or the nutrients seep out of the veggies.
2. Choose light dipping sauce
When people have hot pot meals, it is a popular practice for them to dip the food in high-sodium seasonings such as sacha sauce or satay sauce. Prolonged excessive intake of sodium increases the risk of hypertension. So go for light dipping sauces such as fresh cut chillies with soy sauce, minced garlic, vinegar sauce instead of sambal, chilli oil, deep-fried garlic, and oil-based sauces.
3. Avoid eating undercooked foods
Many people dip their food in the hot pot for a short time so as to get the crisp taste. However, gastrointestinal infection caused by bacteria and parasites are associated with undercooked foods.
4. Don't drink hot pot broth
Some people like to drink the broth at the end of their meals. But repeated boiling of hot pot broth for more than 90 minutes may result in harmful levels of nitrite. So avoid drinking hot pot broth.
(By Jessie Huang, Louis Berney)