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About Japan’s healthy eating philosophy

About Japan’s healthy eating philosophy

We’ve all heard before how the Japanese diet is meant to be one of the healthiest in the world. Sure, if we’re all eating sashimi and salad every day, then that’s 100% correct but I think there’s also some misunderstanding around all Japanese food being healthy. For example, sushi (sashimi on rice) contains quite a bit of sugar in the sushi rice and so obviously if you eat a lot of it, sugar and carbs aren’t good. 

It’s also a known fact that Japanese people generally have a long life expectancy, and while that’s true on the whole, this also totally depends on the person’s health. 

As it’s getting warmer and summer is fast approaching, and as we lean towards lighter eating and alfresco dining - we thought it would be helpful to share a series of ‘Japanese Healthy Eating’ articles.

Starting off with quick and easy healthy Japanese eating habits that you can start doing today.

“Hara hachibun” – 80% full

There’s a saying in Japan: “hara hachi bun” that means: to eat until you are 80% full. This behaviour of mindful eating, means you're still able to enjoy delicious food and not put on more weight. Many Japanese people follow this philosophy and may well be the reason why many are slim. 

I’m sure this feels like a palatable, achievable 1st step. 

Your well-rounded meal

You may have noticed (and please read this if you haven’t) that Japanese meals are well-rounded and by that we mean that it comes with a wide variety of small dishes. 

A typical Japanese meal will have a protein (commonly grilled fish but obviously a lot of different options here), rice, miso soup, salad, pickles and fruit to end. This traditional way of eating has meant that we naturally eat a wide variety of seasonal ingredients which are fresh and full of vitamins. 

Seasonal and colourful ingredients

Presentation plays a key part in Japanese cooking too and I think it’s fair to say many Japanese people, even at home on a weekday, will take pride in their home cooked meals looking good. As well as eating seasonally, having a wide variety of coloured food, specifically vegetables is said to be healthy and I think Japanese cooking prioritises this. 

As Japanese food is also served on small Japanese crockery it creates a more balanced meal that’s hard to overeat, which as we know, is essential for any healthy diet. 

Fermented things and pickles

Breakfast lunch or dinner we generally have something fermented like natto (fermented soy bean) for breakfast and pickles with any meal which are all, again, very healthy. 

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ll take away with you these small tips, subscribe to our newsletter for more!

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