Japanese cuisine is widely seen as one of the healthiest options in the world. With famous dishes like miso soup, udon noodles, sushi rice, soba noodles and raw fish known around the world, Japanese food is often seen as a healthier option due to its focus on fresh, natural and healthy ingredients.
So, why does Japanese food tend to be healthier and what Japanese dishes can you try when looking for a healthier lifestyle? Read on to find out.
Why is Japanese food healthy?
If you're wondering why Japanese foods are often considered a healthier option, the answer lies in the approach to ingredients and mealtime culture.
A traditional Japanese diet is generally low in saturated fats and sugar, and tends to favour fresh, nutrient-rich vegetables, lean meats and fish & seafood dishes that are high in beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids.
Minimal amounts of artificial flavourings or processed ingredients are used, relying instead on natural flavours and techniques. This focus on fresh, minimally processed ingredients not only leads to tasty meals, but also healthier ones.
Many Japanese dishes also largely cooked without oils or unhealthy fats, with steaming, grilling or stir-frying the preferred cooking techniques
Along with this, meals are consumed in moderation, with smaller portions of various dishes, rather than overloading on one item.
Replacing sugary drinks with tea or other beverages further helps maintain a healthy balance.
Overall, Japanese food culture spells out balance, moderation and healthy ingredients which contribute to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Healthy Japanese dish ideas
When looking for healthy Japanese dishes to incorporate into your diet, there are plenty of options. Here are some idea to get you started:
1. Udon Noodles
Udon noodles are an incredibly popular noodle dish in Japan. They can be served hot or cold with a dipping sauce made from buckwheat flour, mirin, Japanese soy sauce and sesame oil. It's a great option if you're looking for something light yet flavourful and a much healthier option than instant ramen noodles that come with a lot of added salt in their flavourings.
Tempura is a popular fried food that is made from seafood (such as shrimp) or vegetables coated in a mixture of buckwheat flour and water then deep-fried until golden brown. Despite being deep fried, tempura is still a healthier option as the batter doesn't absorb as much oil, making it an excellent choice for healthier eating.
Traditional rolls like tuna, salmon, or vegetable sushi can be a great option for healthy eating. Sushi is low in calories and high in protein and nori seaweed wrap can help keep you full longer while also providing essential minerals and vitamins. The rice vinegar used in sushi also gives it a sweet-tangy flavour that will satisfy your taste buds!
Onigiri is a type of rice ball, typically served with nori seaweed wrap and filled with salmon or tuna. It can also be flavoured with pickled vegetables for added flavour. This simple dish can make a great snack or light meal when paired with miso soup.
5. Miso Soup
If you find yourself in Japan, most Japanese dishes and meals will come with mis soup as a side dish. This traditional savoury soup is made from miso paste (fermented soya bean paste) mixed with vegetables and tofu for added protein. It’s light yet filling, making it a great choice if you’re looking for a healthy option.
6. Takikomi Gohan
Takikomi gohan is a Japanese-style rice dish made with vegetables and other ingredients added to the rice while it's cooking. It’s a great way to get your daily dose of veggies, as well as essential B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
7. Soba Noodles
These noodles are made from buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour which makes them higher in fibre than regular noodles. They can be enjoyed hot or cold with a dipping sauce such as soy sauce or ponzu (a citrus-based sauce).
The Wasabi Company - buy Japanese ingredients online
It is not as hard as you may think to cook Japanese food at home - all you need are a few staple ingredients and the right recipes to get you started. The Wasabi company offers a wide range of Japanese ingredients to help you create authentic dishes at home. From miso paste and sushi rice for roll making, to soba noodles and dipping sauces - there’s something to suit every taste.
How to get started on Japanese cooking
The best thing you can do to get started with Japanese cooking is to buy Japanese cookbooks. This will give you access to hundreds of great Japanese recipes straight away. Another easy way to get started is with sets that provide everything you need to get started - options like a matcha tea kit or cookery gift sets are ideal for this and are also great as gifts.
Even if you don't have a local Japanese supermarket, you can easily access high-quality, authentic ingredients online - so what's stopping you? Start your new healthy journey by browsing our range and cooking your first Japanese dish today.