There’s a proverb in Japan that literally translates as “Not dressing up the meal with color is like sending someone out of the house without clothes.” Traditional Japanese meals use food items that are red, green, yellow, white and black in colour to give the food an aesthetic appeal and reflect the nature of the seasons. Compare a platter of sushi or a bento box to a hamburger and fries (although the latter is perceived as delicious and can be wolfed down) the former is a work of art that has to be appreciated like art. Go slow, take small bites, relish every flavour.
Break down your meal into smaller portions, this way you can enjoy a greater variety of foods.
Or Hara hachi bunme as it is said in Japanese. The idea is to reinforce the eating of smaller portions. We have been raised to eat until we are absolutely full so that we don’t feel hungry later. However it’s better to not stuff ourselves and only eat until we feel adequately full.
Following the 80% rule discussed above, a light dinner puts less pressure on your intestines and allows you to digest your food in your sleep. Heavy meals can sometimes make you wake up feeling full in the morning and this upsets your routine when you skip breakfast.
Rice is a low fat complex carbohydrate that helps fill you up on lower calories (small bowl of rice has lesser calories than two slices of bread) This will not keep you hungry and craving for snacks right after your meal.
Preferably of different colours if you are like a Japanese lady who has an OCD.
Now that you’re sorted with vegetables being part of your meal and are ready to dig in, beeline for the veggies first!
Japanese favourites like salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, sardines and herring are a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are known for their heart-health and mood boosting benefits. The island nation accounts for 2% of the worlds population but consumes 10% of the worlds fish.
Fermented foods such as Yoghurt, dahi, Miso (fermented soy bean paste) and Tofu control high blood sugar levels. They support and strengthen immune and digestive systems, preventing diseases such as cancer.
When consumed in moderation, soy products like Tofu and Edamame beans which are rich in protein are a good vegetarian alternative for red meat as they have little or no saturated fat.
Desserts in Japan are usually beautifully decorated plates with sliced fresh fruit of the season. Like vegetables, a variety of fruits should be eaten.
Green tea is low in calories and caffeine which makes it an excellent alternative to coffee and other creamy beverages. It aids digestion and the anti-oxidants it contains helps to clear the system of any toxins.
The Japanese diet seems to be very strict and you might think its a routine for skinny supermodels, but there is always room to indulge. The Japanese love western sweets and dark chocolate but if you notice, they are very small.