One of the key points of traditional Japanese diet is serving the food. Japanese food is often served in small-sized bowls rather than a large size of a plate. Usually, dishes are placed in several bowls and eaten within an order. Also, Japanese people have a saying "hara haci bu", which means only eating until you are almost full. This saying is very common in families with children as well.
If you would like to keep yourself in control and count the calories of Japanese food, you may order a starter as a main dish or a few pieces of sushi as a starter. But still, when ordering sushi, you have to be conscious about the ingredients and cooking techniques. If you are currently following a diet, you should stay away from “tempura” named sushi, as they are the “fried” ones. If you are not sure which one is healthy when dining out, you should ask the waiter. But still, you can always keep in mind that healthier ones can be nigiri and sashimi. Sashimi is raw fish without any rice or other ingredients, and nigiri is fish over rice and usually served with wasabi.
Not surprisingly, like sushi, other Japanese foods contain mostly fish-related products a lot more than other Asian countries. This is a natural consequence of thousands of Japanese islands' geographical location. The traditional Japanese diet plan mostly is formed of rice, cooked and raw vegetables, fish and meat. To be more specific, it is a diet which is high in vegetables and grains, contains a moderate amount of protein and soy, and a low intake of dairy products and fruits. Also, in Japanese culture, snacks are rarely consumed and preferred in smaller portions. By this way, the country’s obesity level and risk of having heart disease or stroke are minimized automatically.
As Japanese style sauces may contain sugar or salt, it is better to pay attention when consuming. For example, a typical eel sauce may contain 5 grams of sugar in each spoon. Instead, you may prefer reduced sodium soy sauce. If you are controlling your blood pressure or salt intake, you may also ask to put the sauce on the side or not having it all.
If you are following a gluten-free diet, Japanese cuisine might not be easy to adapt but it can be a good choice when alternative ingredients are concerned and applied. As a typical Japanese meal consists of soup, rice, salad, meat/fish, and vegetables, it is very easy to find a way of your own. But still, it is very important to be careful about staple ingredients of Japanese cuisine such as soy sauce, rice vinegar and wine, sesame seeds and oil, soybeans and soy products, seaweeds like kombi, nori or wakame, and vegetables like ginger, daikon radish, Japanese eggplant, shiitake mushrooms, and scallions. The list might seem too much but it is possible to find the alternatives easily for each.
White coloured foods like white rice, white bread, and white noodles should be avoided if you are planning of getting low carbs. Instead, the advantage of countless vegetables can be used and preferred. For example, you may enjoy having oshinko (pickled vegetables) instead of edamame. Or eat sashimi instead of sushi as it does not contain rice. Basically preferring steamed and grilled food items along with low-carb soup alternatives, and staying away from white-coloured food items are always better for human health rather than having tempura or any kind of deep-fried dish. Also, you may enjoy drinking green tea along with your meal instead of other beverages as green tea contains natural antioxidants.
If you are a diabetic and still want to enjoy the beautiful Japanese cuisine, you should look for low-fat and high fibre dishes. Beans, peas, lentils, and green vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and spinach can be good options. Other than these, limiting batter fried food items, and having grilled meats or seafood instead should be considered as well. Miso soup, teriyaki and yakitori dishes, sushi, sokiyaki, somen, and desserts that include fresh fruits are commonly consumed among diabetics. Nonetheless, be careful about daily salt intake even consuming above items.
It is important to remind that eating healthy when having a meal outside depends on your choices. It always feels good to try new dishes and cuisine which can also affect the calorie intake. You may keep in mind above tips that we just shared, and still enjoy having tasty meals of Japanese cuisine.
If you would like to read more about Japanese cuisine, please click here.