The Japanese diet may be responsible not only for helping you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, but it can also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. However, a main principle of the diet is eating small portions, so you may find yourself hungry throughout the day. When hunger strikes, try any of these Japanese snack ideas:
1. Fruit Salad
Fruit is welcome on the Japanese diet. You can enjoy any kind of fruit without additional toppings such as whipped cream or yogurt. Fresh fruit is better than frozen fruit. Slice up apples, tangerines, pears, bananas or strawberries and mix them with grapes, blueberries, blackberries or whichever kind of fruit you prefer.
2. Tofu with Sauce
Tofu is a fundamental part of the Japanese diet. Not only is it almost as filling as meat, but it’s rich in protein and calcium. Purchase firm or somewhat firm tofu and you can eat it in bite-sized blocks. If you don’t like the taste on its own, marinate it in a sauce that’s suited for Japanese food, such as soy sauce, ponzu sauce or sesame shabu shabu sauce. You can also purchase soft tofu and eat it with a spoon like yogurt. Again, you can mix it with sauce if you want more flavor.
3. Taro Potatoes
This snack takes a little more advance preparation than some snacks, but is worth the effort if you want a hearty snack that can fill you up. You can find taro potatoes (also known as sato-imo) at most Asian grocery stores.
The best way to prepare them for a snack is to peel them, cut them into smaller pieces and then boil them in a mixture of water (just a few inches deep in the pot) and a few tablespoons of soy sauce and just a teaspoon of mirin sweet sake. Boil just until the potatoes are soft, then drain them and put them in a container in your fridge until snack time.
4. Rice Balls
Rice is a staple of the Japanese diet. Although it may be high in carbohydrates, if you eat small portions, the carbs will give you a boost in energy without packing on the pounds. Rice balls, also known as onigiri, are a common snack in Japan. To make your own, cook Japanese-style rice for 20 to 30 minutes until it reaches a sticky consistency. One the rice has cooled, you can pack the rice together into small balls, wrapping each ball in a strip of seaweed (nori) around the rice ball.
5. Steamed Vegetables
Vegetables are a delicious highlight of the Japanese diet. If you’re looking for a snack with added nutritional content, wash, peel and slice your choice of vegetables and then cook them in a steamer or steaming bag. You can eat them as is or garnish them with Japanese sauces, such as soy and teriyaki.