5 Rules For Eating Healthy in Japan: Tempura, a staple in Japanese cuisine, can be high in calories and fat. Bakery bread is another source of carbs that needs to be controlled. On the flip side, oden (savory jello-like dishes made from vegetables) is an excellent winter choice and is naturally low in sodium and fat.
1. Eat Rice
Japan’s every-man food doesn’t rate highly on the healthy scale at first glance; lots of noodles in salty broths, fried foods and plenty of sugar added to savoury dishes. A typical serving of Tempura can easily go over 700 calories, and even the lightest dish like Katsu Don is over a thousand calories for one small portion!
Thankfully, the Japanese are experts in portion control and balance. A traditional meal called Ichiju Sansai or ‘One Soup Three Dishes’ typically includes a bowl of soup, two side dishes and a main protein of either vegetables, fish, meat or eggs. Using seasonal produce is also a big focus as it’s usually cheaper and more nutritious than eating out of season produce.
Seafood is a huge part of the Japanese diet and probably contributes to their low rates of heart disease, stroke and respectable life expectancy. The Japanese also eat plenty of mushrooms, soy products and fermented foods like Miso and Natto, which are all rich in vitamins and minerals. The best part is that many of these ingredients are naturally low in calories!
2. Eat Vegetables
One of the reasons the Japanese live longer than most people is their diet. It is rich in protein and nutrients and low in fat, especially saturated fat which causes heart disease. Most meals will include vegetables, a soup, and rice, or fish. They avoid red meat which is high in saturated fats that clog arteries, and instead eat poultry, fish, and plant-based proteins like tofu.
Vegetables are often served as the first dish at a meal and many of them are eaten raw to keep their vitamins and minerals intact. Root vegetables such as daikon radish, carrots, and turnips are particularly healthy because they are rich in vitamin C. The Japanese also eat plenty of seaweed which is high in iron, calcium and folate.
However, despite the great variety of food, it is important to watch the calories. Bakery breads can have up to 20 grams of fat a slice and tempura dishes, katsudon and other fried foods are high in calories. Carbs and sodium should also be watched. If possible, avoiding these can help you lose weight and enjoy your trip to Japan even more!
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3. Eat Seafood
The Japanese have one of the longest life expectancies in the world and a diet that’s rich in fresh, unprocessed foods. They emphasize fish, vegetables and rice, while avoiding high-fat animal proteins like red meat.
Seafood is a key element of the Japanese diet because it provides an important source of protein and iodine, which are essential nutrients. It’s also a good alternative to red meat, which is high in saturated fat and can lead to heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity.
Those looking to adopt the Japanese diet should start by replacing white rice with brown, which is higher in fiber and contains less sodium. They should also choose lower-sodium versions of condiments like miso, soy sauce and teriyaki. Another tip is to replace high-calorie snacks with lower-calorie options, such as fruits, vegetables and broth-based soups. This will help people feel full with fewer calories and can aid weight loss. Finally, the Japanese practice hara hachi bu, which is a simple philosophy of eating until you’re 80% full. This will help people control calorie intake and avoid overeating.
4. Drink Green Tea
The Japanese drink plenty of green tea, especially match a – stone-ground powdered green tea. It is full of anti-oxidants and has many health benefits including lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system, slowing the aging process, fighting cancer and providing a source of protein.
The majority of proteins in the Japanese diet come from fish, seafood and plant-based foods (such as soy products). This is a great way to avoid red meat which is high in saturated fats and can lead to heart disease and obesity.
It is also important to limit portion sizes when eating out – the standard rule is that you should not eat more than 300 calories more than your body needs, as excess calories will be stored as fat. This may be difficult in restaurants where huge servings are served, but ask for smaller portions if you can! If you are able, plan your meals ahead of time and cook enough so that you have leftovers. This is a great practice to get into as it will help you save money and waste less food.
5. Eat Well Balanced Meals
The Japanese diet is generally fish, vegetable, and rice heavy. When meat is eaten, it is cooked with other ingredients so that it becomes a side dish rather than the main event. It is believed that this dietary change has led to a lower death rate from heart disease, cancer, and obesity in Japan.
Adding foods like tofu, fish, natto, green tea and milk products can help you get the protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need to stay healthy. Try to avoid high fat foods such as Tempura, fried chicken, and other fatty meats.
Watch out for Salt and Sugar too. Many Japanese dishes contain a lot of sodium, especially if the food is fried or cooked in oil. One tablespoon of Soy Sauce has almost half your daily allowance of sodium. It is also important to drink plenty of water with your meals. Most restaurants in Japan serve a large quantity of water with their meals, which is ideal for eating healthy. The key to success is controlling your portion sizes. This is easiest when eating with a group of people, as this prevents you from over-eating.