Just how unhealthy is your favorite quarantine food?

Published August 29, 2020, 6:51 PM

by Cheshire Que

Are they responsible for your Quarantine 15? The lowdown on sushi bake, ube cheese pandesal, and your kakanin favorites

This lockdown has successfully squeezed the creative culinary juices out of food enthusiasts that brought us an array of treats while on quarantine. What and how we eat, however, greatly impacts the state of our health—the most important defense we have against this pandemic. 

How healthy or fattening are your quarantineats? Here are the eight popular foods we consumed this quarantine

Sushi bake

This is like your regular sushi on steroids. Composed of rice, cream cheese, and topped with a variation of kani sticks or smoked salmon and mango slices, it is served in nori or seaweed wrappers that are low in calories and rich in iodine. The added cream cheese and mayonnaise in sushi bake, however, are very high in saturated fat. 

Health tip: Whether making your own version or ordering for delivery, add a good amount of sliced or shredded fresh cucumber and cabbage. Sushi bake can be a complete meal with ample amount of fibrous veggies added to it. 

Ube Cheese Pandesal


Bringing the Filipino’s staple bread pandesal to the next level with authentic ube halaya and cheese, this variation of pandesal offers more fiber content and calcium. These violet buns may be small but calorie packed and quite addicting.

Health tip: Whether you have this for breakfast or an afternoon snack, remember to take small bites. Pause to savor the flavor and texture. This trick will prevent you from eating more than two to three pieces at a time (which should be your absolute limit), thus controlling the calories you take in.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

A delicious disaster that can be disastrous for your figure when eaten in excess! This beautiful cake is bone friendly,calcium rich, but is also high in pro-inflammatory refined sugar, saturated fat, and calorie laden.

Health tip: Consume one-half of a slice with a cup of green tea, which has been proven to inhibit fat absorption and reduce inflammation.


A staple in Korean cuisine. Kimchi is made of fermented cabbage and radish with lots of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich vegetables like onions and ginger. Its spiciness from chilies can slightly increase cellular metabolism. Kimchi has probiotics or good bacteria, which aids in proper digestion and healing of “leaky gut.”

Health tip: Kimchi has salt. Individuals who have high blood pressure need to be cautious about the amount of sodium they consume. In addition, spicy kimchi can aggravate GERD or acid reflux and gastritis.

Samgyup Kit

Pork belly or thin slices of beef grilled the Korean way, served with lettuce and other side dishes.  A good combination of veggies and protein cooked in a healthy way. Pork belly, however, is high in cholesterol.

Health tip: Choose leaner cuts of meat if you are preparing your own Samgyupsal. You can also wrap your barbecued meats in more lettuce leaves to increase your fiber and phytonutrient intake.

Ramen Kit

That hot and richly flavored broth is such a comfort food during this pandemic. You get your noodles, chasu (braised pork belly), egg, some vegetable toppings, and voila! Your ramen fix is a meal on its own.  But beware of making this a staple dish as it is also high in calories, fat, and sodium.

Health tip: Avoid adding any more dishes (apart from vegetables) when you decide to have ramen for your meal. Best eaten for lunch so you will have more time to be physically active and burn those fats from the yummy and creamy broth.

Dalgona Coffee

This beverage took the internet by storm. Whipped, frothy coffee made from instant coffee and sugar over iced or warm milk. Bear in mind that a sachet of instant coffee is more or less equal to ¾ cup of rice in terms of calories. It also contains about one tablespoon or more of sugar! Not an ideal beverage for people with diabetes.

Health tip: Use coco sugar for a lower glycemic index (GI). GI gives us an idea of how a specific carbohydrate affects the blood glucose level of an individual. To make your Dalgona less sinful, substitute whole milk with nut or soymilk.


A myriad of sweet treats with glutinous rice as the main ingredient. Most, if not all, kakanins are gluten and dairy free. This is a good alternative to satisfy the cravings of people who have gluten intolerance and dairy sensitivities. Coconut milk and sugar are among the basic ingredients added to rice. 

Health tip: Portion control must be practiced as the relatively small servings of kakanin are caloric dense due to the rice, sugar, and coconut milk content.

Eating must be both healthy and pleasurable. Occasional treats are helpful for general well being. The mental, emotional, and social aspect of eating must always be considered. From this perspective, portion control and having a relatively balanced and active lifestyle must be adapted to achieve optimum health. Having occasional treats will prevent you from going into a cycle of deprivation and overindulgence, which is detrimental to one’s mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

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