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Anyone know Japanese food?

Monday, January 21, 2013

I'm going out for dinner tomorrow night.

Normally, I don't worry too much about difficult-to-track items when I'm dining out, but this week I've ramped things up in the tracking and nutrition department, and I'd like to at least try to be somewhat accurate with what I'm eating tomorrow (mostly so I can balance the rest of the day around it).

I'm not terribly familiar with Japanese food beyond the usual sushi rolls and fast food/generic fusion stuff. Any tips on what to look for and what to avoid in a more traditional Japanese restaurant?

All I know is that the menu is making my stomach growl right now. emoticon

Restaurants aside, I'm kicking the nutrition thing into high gear this week... or attempting to, anyway. I start my clinic on Thursday and run my race in 19 weeks, so it's time to move into phase two (training-training mode instead of pre-training mode).

Today is the first full day of tightening the dietary leash, but I did kick things off with an awesome dinner last night (after going in the opposite direction with pizza and wings on Saturday to celebrate the return of hockey). I did steaks (cut to a proper 3oz portion) with onions and mushrooms, baked sweet potato fries, and a gigantic salad with a stupidly simple honey mustard dressing:

5 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp cider vinegar

Shake and done. I haven't bought salad dressing in months because I'm having too much fun making my own.

I also chopped up the boatload of fresh veggies we bought from the market on Saturday (We now have TWO big box-o-veggie boxes in the fridge) and made a nice fruit salad (strawberries, kiwis, mangos and blueberries). I finished off the last of my jarred fruit last week and the fruit salad is my effort to healthy that up a bit. No syrup or other stuff, just good old fruit in a bowl.

Today's menu was a puzzle. The parameters:

- Stay on the lower half of my range for carbs
- Stay within range (preferably higher) for protein
- Keep the calories in the lower part of my range (to make up for two heavy weekend days)
- Use up the green beans while they're still good
- Solo cooking (Nick's working the closing shift tonight, so I'm on my own)

I decided on my normal work breakfast, tweaked with the changes from my last entry, as the bulk of my carbs for the day.

I had planned to make myself a really good veggie-stuffed omelette for dinner until I realized that our green beans would probably be looking sad by Wednesday and that it would be a shame to toss them. So, omelette with a side of steamed green beans it is! It adds some extra veggies to my dinner and I don't have to fall back into the usual meat-veg-starch meal plan (not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm trying to tailor my meals to what I need for the day. I really need to get out of the habit of avoiding things that don't look like a traditional meal in my mind. Omelette doesn't mean it has to be paired with hashbrowns and bacon).

My afternoon snack will be a bowl of veggies and some almonds. Dessert will be fruit salad.

Lunch had me stumped. I was planning to eat the rest of my salad from last night and throw some sliced almonds on top, but that left me really low on a lot of other things for the day. I whined about running out of ways to add protein without having to cook up a hunk of meat, and Nick suggested thawing some of his split pea soup from the freezer. It ended up being exactly the piece I needed to get all my macronutrients right where I wanted them to be for the day. A nice cup of soup and a salad, every bit made at home.

We're starting to get there emoticon

This puzzle takes effort, and I don't even know that the targets I'm aiming for are exactly what I need, but the best way for me to figure that out is to experiment (without too many treats and 'special' meals contaminating my results). The goal for this phase is just to eat as well as possible and to be completely accurate with tracking it so I can adjust properly based on how my body reacts.

Good thing experimentation is delicious!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    At most Japanese places one of, if not the, lightest meal(s) is typically the beef and broccoli. It has good protein and broc is always a winner, lower in calories and salt than usually most other items available, even the chicken dishes.
    The 'sauce' on it is a more broth based one and the thin strips of beef are a very lean cut. I live in Cali where all the restaurants are required to have their nutritional info available if you ask for it , and I ask:)

    However, all Japanese food when dining out is very sodium laden. Really no avoiding it:(

    Still now that I have talked about it, I am hungry!
    1823 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/22/2013 12:02:50 PM
    Any of the breaded/fried things. I noticed someone else already mentioned tempura, but don't forget teriyaki chicken (normally breaded and with skin) and ton katsu (breaded fried pork - sort of like a schnitzel, with a Japanese worcestershire sauce). Gyoza are probably something worth avoiding too - at least they always make me feel really greasey.

    Miso soup and many of the sauces can be sodium bombs too, if you're looking out for that.
    1823 days ago
    starting the meal with steamed edamame is traditional, and super delicious and good for you - they are just young soybeans, so high in fibre and protein and super low in fat and calories for an appetizer. any sushi that doesnt have tempura is a great bet
    1823 days ago
    Avoid tempura (fried) and you should be fine. Big bowls of udon (noodles) probably wouldn't be great either. Stick with fish, rice, steamed veggies.
    1823 days ago
    Unless you get something fried I think you'll probably be okay. I've been to Morimoto's in Philadelphia and I had a seafood dish that was just seafood braised in stock and wine, no cream, and octopus sashimi. The only unhealthy things I ate was the dessert and my cocktails! ;)
    1823 days ago
    What I remember from living in Japan is lots of fish and white rice
    1823 days ago
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