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Japanese fast food is just as bad for you, right?

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So I'm staying in Japan until July... but usually I cook at home because I LOVE cooking... and staying nutritionally balanced (carb + protein + veggie combo.)

But I feel like I should be eating out more and trying these 'fast foods' since I won't be in Japan for too long... like if you goto super markets or convenience stores, they'll sell these ready made bentos/lunch boxes.

usually, those ready made bentos just have a little bit of protein + lots of carbs so I tend to stay away from them... I also don't really like onigiri that much (rice balls) since its just... rice + something in the middle (just simple white carbs!) At home I eat only brown rice...


I mean I'm also going to try real good high quality foods (expensive sushi and what not) but I'm thinking should I try yakisoba pan (fried noodles in a bread roll.. I know atrocious sounding but it's apparently popular!) and lots of onigiri since I probably will never eat one again in the states? (I only bought it 2 times and I've been here 4 months already). I also get intrigued by some bento rolls... but I'm wondering if its full of preservatives and msg. :/

I'm also saving money right now cooking for myself while being pretty good nutritiously (I get ALOT of vegetables servings, fruit servings, brown rice, which is rare for students studying abroad here.. I eat 1-3 servings of fruit each day~) I cooked most of my meals at home and I only spent around 180 dollars, or about 15,000 yen one month. I've started making alot of japanese or japanese ingredient based dishes (like eating natto!) but should I try more of these convenient 'fast foods' while I'm here although its not super healthy?

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I think you should be able to enjoy yourself and try what you like. If you don't like onigiri, don't eat onigiri. Enjoy japanese foods while you can.

I love bentous, theyre not all bad. Usually they only sell them on the same day they're made (I think) so I would assume they dont have much preservatives, but I don't really know.

If I was in your situation, I would probably say SREW HEALTHY FOOD and eat whatever I want (which is what I did when I went to visit a friend in Tokyo). But maybe, instead of throwing all healthy food aside, aim to eat balanced while still eating what you want. I don't think white rice is that bad. Ramen, though usually huge in portions (and probably cals as well) is very yummy and I can't imgagine it really being unhealthy. It's got vegetables and meat(or tofu, something protein-y) and is overall pretty balanced.

If you are able to make more japanese foods, that's great. But if you are not, and if you want to try other japanese foods, then I say go for it. The 'fast food' you mention is not quite like mcdonalds or KFC, it is healthier. Atleast that is what I think.

i always believe in trying everything, at least once. u will forever thinking "i should have..." if u dont get that. just buy one and savour it as much as possible, make it last. just make sure it fit into your calorie intake.

if its me, i'll decrease the calorie for my breakfast n dinner, all made at home, thus having those fast food as lunch. if u know u'll be buying something with loads of carbs, so for ur bfst n dnnr, loaded them with protein. or something like that

...............really.............I say "bugger it" and enjoy the experience least a BIT.

You can eat healthy 2/3 of the time and go wild 1/3. That's what I usually do when I travel

Usually calorie count isn't too much of an issue, if its too much I leave half for later or balance with something else. I'm also 'try everything once' type of person (I allow myself to snack on one bad item a day! haha :D cakes/cookies/japanese sweets >_<) but I don't know why I had such negative feelings towards these things. I've had to eat out recently due to traveling and what not (and eating conbini food @ work) so I guess I'm more neutral towards it now...

Although I think japanese food in general has alot of msg (ajinomoto anyone??), esp these... I think I'm going to try them more often before I leave the country, but try not to eat it TOO much. I heard from someone that just like mcd's burgers... onigiri didn't rot for like a year;;;

Or at least I'm going for the fish/sushi bentos/roll bentos, those I can't make at home and they look good. yum. I don't like those fried meat ones (soggy...) or curry ones... (rather get instant ones if i'm gonna eat this one anyhoo) I wish the exchange rate would go down. sobs. 82 yen = 1.00

I don't like those fried meat ones (soggy...) or curry ones... (rather get instant ones if i'm gonna eat this one anyhoo)

 Hehe......yes, for all the fantastic things that Japanese cuisine can give us......curry is not one of them. I am afraid they just do not get the concept.....

yeah, I actually prefer thai curry, although its really fattening due to the coconut milk. I figured since I don't have it so often... haha.

I'm trying to wait and hold on until exchange rate goes up before I can take out some money... since I went shopping + traveling. sigh. I guess at least I'm eating cheaply + nutritionally so far, haha. (what i save in food goes straight into shopping fund)

It's a bit like, I'm sacrificing some of these foods (not nutrition but)... for shopping/traveling fees. I definitely think I'm going to eat out more and buy more ready made stuff, just to try it out.

yeah, one thing you can always save on when travelling is food if you are willing to do your own cooking (and have the facilities of course). I usually try to get a flat with full cooking facilities when travelling somewhere for a length of time- gives you the choice of eating in or out. AND puts money into the shopping fund. And shopping is what travelling is about. isnt it?hehe!!!

Where are you in Japan? I lived there from 1999 to 2000 and I had a bento box from 7-11 or Lawson probably every day. My favorite was the inari bento (sesame rice wrapped in these tofu pockets). It's a lot of rice, but it definitely filled me up until dinner.

Another thing I liked about Japan was that there were many activities to do there -- I felt like I'd never had such a great, fun workout routine! They have good skiing, great hiking trails, and I went sea kayaking several times (I was at the southernmost tip of Honshu, but I had friends in Kobe and Tokyo and they had sea kayaking places near them too). And after you're done hiking or skiing or whatever, treat yourself to onsen. :)

There are many, many foods that you will only find in Japan, and not all of them are great for you. I LOVE okonomiaki, which is like this vegetable and egg and batter pancake with BBQ sauce on it that you cook on a griddle set in the middle of your table. Is it "healthy?" Not really, but I don't regret eating it when I was there because I can't get it in the US.

I think you can still enjoy all the unique cuisine Japan has to offer and keep to your diet goals. It's all about moderation. Also, balancing out any extra calories -- or the extra energy those carbs give ya -- through exercise is a good idea. The skiing in Tottori is great! Look into it if you're near there!

I travelled regularly to Japan in the 90's for work and never once did I worry about my food intake or what I was eating - unless it was that delectable bread they make which is light as a feather and very very sweet!!!  Aside from that, just enjoy.  Loved Bento boxes, loved the soya-paste filled desserts.  Go for it.

I'm in tokyo :) I've been making okonomiyaki actually at home! :D I just balance it out by sticking some protein in there and giant servings of vegetables.. yum. Super easy to make, just need that okonomiyaki sauce (yay msg hahahaha)... magical.

Basically, i've been making alot of these japanese cuisine at home - soba noodles, udon, napolitan spaghetti, been wanting to make tarako spaghetti too! Trying to cook with unique japanese ingredients that'll be more expensive and harder to get in the states... so therefore skimping on 'ready' made foods alot of my friends have been eating (alot of onigiri and bentos). I'm figuring I'll be trying alot more of these before I go though... i haven't even been to skiya/matsuya/yoshinoya/ or mos burger yet! (I did try all the vegetarian line @ freshness burger! DELICIOUS!) I really don't eat too much beef or pork, but over here already I just started not caring too much - I'll stop eating them again prob when I go back to the states, lol.

I don't like reheating ready made foods, that's prob why... lol. Like in the states I never buy ready made anything, except occasional soup! (and I even made those often, trying to make it healthier since I like cooking.. hehe)

I've been eating sweets every day like I said though, I'm in maintenance so its not too bad eating some of these foods or I just leave some on the plate meh. (if I eat a big meal, I just don't have my sweets for the day! :D)


And I'm not traveling, i'm here for a year so.. :D haha only person gaining weight in japan I bet! oh wells! :) I'll blame it on all the delicious conbini sweets!

Sounds like you have a lot of unwarranted fears. Onigiri does not "last for a year" (mine goes bad if I don't eat it that next day). I'm not so sure whats scary about the "carbs" that japanese meals have in them (the Japanese seem to have been living just fine, slim, long lives on them). Bento, for example, is usually very balanced.

I personally think you're obsessing too much over white rice and brown rice. Eating one over the other won't make a difference in one lifetime, or two. I mean, have you seen the hordes of slim, non-overweight Japanese people eating their white rice/bread/sweets? You should really embrace this opportunity! Theres nothing inherently wrong with most of the foods here (in Japan).


Anyways, now that thats out of the way, I recommend you also try fresh-roasted sweet potatos (usually at the super markets, freshly roasted), Oden (fish-cakes. The convenient store Oden is very good, you just put what you want in the bowl and pay).

I personally like onigiri, and usually at the convenient stores theres nutrition facts on them so you have some idea of what you're eating. I also personally love Japanese curry, but I understand if its not your taste.

Manju is a good treat, cheap sushi places (kaiten zushi) are good/fun, theres lots of good ramen places in Tokyo (some heavier or lighter than others).

Try that Yakisoba pan! Also, the convenience store "peanut butter sandwhiches" are devilishly delicious as well. Their PB is sweeter and quite different than America's.

Udon (I love curry udon), soba, donburi (I'm a fan of oyako don, chicken and egg), all good. Japanese-style spaghetti is good as well. And Omrice (omelet-fried-rice)

Yoshinoya etc can have a lot of calories in their beef bowls, but they have other stuff that isn't quite as heavy as well.

Also, don't miss the opportunity to try the vast amount of other great Asian food here. Japan is a hub for great Asian cuisine, like Thai, Korean, Indian, Chinese.


Feel free to shoot me a message to talk more, because I have lots of foods and places of recommendation, and plus I just like talking to people about food in Japan. I also understand what its like to live here and want to continue to be healthy; I used to worry a lot more before, but really its better to enjoy (in moderation), and it hasn't made a lick of difference in my health


I'm not worried about getting fat, I'm in maintenance so lolz. I've been eating mostly white carbs here anyhow (white bread... pasta..). I guess I'll go back to super healthy me back in the states. :) I used to eat really clean, healthy diet and it's been getting a bit messier here but I guess that's life... :)


I never said there was anything WRONG with foods in japan, I just wasn't sure if I should be eating alot of processed mass produced food. (and oden.. is actually quite bad for you rofl... it's alot of artificial flavoring + parts of fish people on't want + soup + food exposed to the air for a long time... it's like hamburger of asia hahaha) Although I do use it in my cooking anyhow! hahaha) but no matter how cheap it is... I don't like buying it outside... for obvious reasons.

I bought japanese peanut butter, TOO sweet for me. I think I'll eat pb and j when I go back (it's more expensive here anyhoo) not worth it for me.. there's more cakes and sweets to try here :D

It's just more that I've been cooking with japanese ingredients rather than eating already produced/cooked stuff... like I bought some tarako today and ate it with fresh soba noodles + miso soup on the side... yummy.

But I do think I'll be eating out more and trying more ready made bentos and such! I usually don't finish the entire thing so it'll last me for like 1.5-2 meals so it should be cost efficient hahahaha. I got some onigiri (it's like a roulette for me since I can't read the kanji sometims) and rolled maki bentou and ate it with shrimp salad on the side :) I guess I'll balance it out... i mean I can't eat too much of this stuff outside of japan so I agree, I'm going to be eating more fish, more onigiri, more bentos etc. and besides, if you go late at night they are like 50% off and I just eat it for lunch.

waiting for 1.00 to be 84 yen so I can take out some money... sigh.

double post gah

Well not for nothing but how many obese asians do you see???

Original Post by mariooch3:

Well not for nothing but how many obese asians do you see???

^once again, its not really about getting fat (since everything has calorie info on it anyhoo) since I eat like 1600-2000 cal anyhow but more about nutrition for me. Oh well :)

isn't life expectancy a pretty good measure of health? ;)

Original Post by ajaro:

isn't life expectancy a pretty good measure of health? ;)

Still, I'm against eating too much ready made food in general. Eck. Like I really like the challenge of making it myself... save maki rolls. because I can't make those to save my life.

but I'm convinced. One year can't harm me I figured. eh. And I'll be packing giant packs of furikake back home... lol...

but goodness I'm in maintenance in japan. ahhahahaha. 

Jan 06 2011 17:39
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The two unhealthy things to pay attention to are sodium and white rice.  Watch how much of that soy sauce you use. And don't take up smoking those Mild 7's either.

Beyond that, eat up.  I used to snack on mandarin oranges and smoked chestnuts when riding on the shinkansen.  You can eat all the Yoshinoya you want back in LA, and pile on the pickled ginger.  Japanese chocolates and candy are so bland I never had a problem overeating them - or eating them at all for that matter....well maybe a few mens pocky sticks every once in a while....

A raw egg on top of some hot rice with a little smoked salmon and dried seaweed on the side would really hit the spot for breakfast.  As would some natto sushi for lunch, with a can of UCC out of the machine. Drinking bad green tea with the salarymen. Dive bar karaoke and pachinko at night.

And shabu shabu.

Oh man, I've gotta get back there some day.

Original Post by thhq:

The two unhealthy things to pay attention to are sodium and white rice


Jan 07 2011 01:52
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For me anyway ajaro. White rice is fine in moderation but I used to eat it to excess. I used to stuff myself on it eating Yoshinoya bowls and at Mongolian BBQ's.

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