Cooking, bento and health part 1

No.151

December 2, 2014

I came home from Japan safely, it was a long trip as usual. I don’t know how many times I have flown back and forth between Norway and Japan so far but it sure feels a long trip everytime I hang in the air for so many hours. While I was on the airplane, I had a chance to think about my new diet. While I was with my mother at the hospital she introduced me to her national registered dietitian who was so kind and knowledgeable. It is very difficult to become a national registered dietitian in Japan, you have to obtain enough education to become a dietitian first and then you have to fulfill the necessary requirements to be certified by the Japanese Government and pass the test. Even after you have become a national registered dietitian, you have to study hard all the time as food, life style, medications and all change constantly. But I think it is such a fine job and I really admire their knowledge on food and health.

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A talk with the national registered dietitian was enough to open my eyes. I found I was eating not right, too much fat, too much sugar and too high in cholesterol. When you don’t know correct information, it is very easy to assert and justify your wrong diet. Eating is in a way a very private matter, specially if you are living alone and cooking for yourself it is only your personal and private matter. The Japanese diet is famous for its healthy character but it is changing a lot. I am afraid to say it will probably change more to worse since more and more young people choose to live by themselves and not familiar with home cooking. Japanese convenience stores are everywhere selling literally convenient food but where is home cooking?

If you are living alone or you have not had any chance to look at your diet with anyone else before, I hope you can regard me as your diet pal. 🙂 I maybe old enough to be your mother but I am only a fellow cook who wants to cook healthy food for my family and myself.

The first step is to find how many calories you need a day. Mayo Clinic, one of the best hospitals in USA, has a wonderful calculator. You can answer a couple of questions and input your own data, it will calculate the right calories for you. here is the site

According to the calculation, I found I need about 1500 kcal every ordinary day. When my activity level goes up a little, I can take up to 1700 kcal a day. How you like to divide it into three meals is up to you and your life style. As I eat a small breakfast usually, I divided like this :

Breakfast    200 kcal
Lunch         700 kcal
Dinner        600 kcal
———————————
Total           1500 kcal

I gave the largest calories of the day to my lunch as it is my favorite bento time 🙂
So what can I cook for 700 kcal?
How should the meal be consisted?

I will write more about it in part 2.

xxx Rie

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