1. Eat with your eyes
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 color 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 flavor.
2. Smaller portions
Break down your meal into smaller portions, this way you can enjoy a greater variety of foods.
Scientists in the University Of Illinois found that people tend to
eat up to 45% more when they are served bigger portions. They filled
their plates according to it's size. So bigger the plate, larger the
Lesson learned : Use dessert and salad plates.
3. Fill your stomach up to only 80%
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
Yes you will feel hungry after a few hours but that's ok. It means
lesser pressure on intestines and slowing down of the aging process of
cells which can help to prevent cancer, heart attacks and diabetes.
4. Light dinner or supper
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.
5. Rice is nice
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.
6. Eat more than 5 types of vegetables a day
Preferably of different colors if you are like a Japanese lady who has an OCD.
The Japanese incorporate about 4-5 types of vegetables in each meal
which make up the major bulk. They are sometimes eaten raw as a salad or
cooked in a broth which enhances its flavors. Stir fried vegetables
taste delicious but sadly their nutrients are gone.
Warning! Avoid salad dressings which contain mayonnaise, opt for yoghurt based dressings or vinaigrettes and lemon juice.
7. Eat vegetables first
Now that you're sorted with vegetables being part of your meal and are ready to dig in, beeline for the veggies first!
Why? Your mom would say save the best for last, but the real reason
is that vegetables absorb toxins that are already present. Vegetables
are full of fiber and when you consume them first, this fiber helps to
cover whatever is eaten after and inhibits insulin spikes and the speed
at which sugar is transported into the blood.
Proteins are harder to digest when they are eaten first and
everything else eaten after would take time making you feel bloated. Raw
vegetables contain a digestive enzyme that helps break down proteins.
8. Replace red meat with fish
Japanese favorites 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
9. Fermented foods
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
Try to make fermented foods a part of your meal or consume them after
you are done eating. A small bowl of dahi after an Indian meal works
10. Soy Products
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.
Recently, research has proven cows milk as not fit for human
consumption as it causes the body to produce mucous. Healthier options
are soy milk and almond milk. Soy milk contains vitamin B1, B2, B6 and E
which helps to rejuvenate the skin and prevent acne breakouts.
It contains 8 essential amino acids and has a fair amount of protein.
11. Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Desserts in Japan are usually beautifully decorated plates with
sliced fresh fruit of the season. Like vegetables, a variety of fruits
should be eaten.
Remember to eat seasonal and local produce.
12. Tea is key
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.
13. Indulge in moderation
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.
Junk food is eaten once in a while and when it is, it is forgotten with
healthy servings of broth, vegetables and green tea the next day.