How to Order at a Japanese Restaurant

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
How to Order at a Japanese Restaurant

Dining out is an enjoyable social activity and not something you have to forgo just to maintain your healthy diet. That includes dining at a Japanese restaurant, which a lot of people assume is a healthy choice to begin with.

However, although many Japanese dishes are steamed, which certainly saves calories, that’s not to say that everything on a Japanese menu—even in the steamed section—is healthy. It really depends on what you’re ordering. For instance, a steamed vegetable dumpling is going to be a lot less calories than a steamed meat dumpling. There are definitely some rules of thumb that you can follow at a Japanese restaurant in order to try to remain as healthy as possible.

Order this…

Some of the best choices that you can order at a Japanese restaurant include salads, soups, fresh fruit, sushi and sashimi. Poultry, fish and shellfish dinners are also the better choices over beef or duck dinners—though the added sauces can make a huge difference in the health factor of the overall dish. Steamed dishes are always a safe choice, but you can also look for dishes that are braised, broiled, grilled or sautéed as these are obviously much healthier ways of cooking than frying.

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Ask for this…

Don’t be afraid to ask for changes. You can ask that the chef cook with less sauce in order to make the dish healthier. Thick sauces, such as teriyaki, tend to be high in sugar and sodium, depending on how they’re made. You might also ask for the sauce on the side so that you choose how much to add.

Avoid this…

Avoid anything that has the word “fried” or “battered” on the menu. “Tempura” also means that the dish was deep fried in batter and should obviously be avoided.

Plan ahead and practice good habits.

At Japanese restaurants, the portions are often quite large, so take some of it home for another time. You may even want to portion what you plan to eat and ask for the rest of it to be boxed up immediately so that it’s not sitting there tempting you—or so that you don’t accidentally eat more than you planned.

No matter where you’re eating, you can also get in the habit of slowing down and pacing yourself in order to avoid overeating. Make a point to notice the atmosphere—enjoying the sights, sounds and smells. Pay attention to your company and get involved in the conversation. Also take breaks from eating to take frequent sips of your water. If you eat fast, you may eat to the point of discomfort without even realizing it; That’s because it takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that your stomach is full. Stop eating when you think you’re about 80 percent full—chances are you may actually not be hungry at all anymore.

By practicing some of these simple tips you will have no trouble dining out at your favorite Japanese restaurant while still keeping your diet on track. Making smart choices will go a long way toward your success.

Check out this handy guide to better understand what you should order and avoid while out to eat:

Japanese food eating out guide

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