Today we went for Japanese lunch buffet: making healthy choices and enjoying the food, no counting of cholesterol: lots of fresh Japanese sushi fish and no oysters, no mussels, no eggs, no cakes…
Breakfast was the usual cooked oatmeal with almond milk and a cup of green tea. Since we were going to have an eat all you can lunch buffet, I only ate half of my breakfast, and saved the other half in the fridge for tea.
Out for lunch in the Japanese restaurant, the challenge is to browse through the abundance of food on offer and make healthy choices.
The obvious no-brainer in a Japanese restaurant is fresh Japanese sushi fish: healthy omega polysaturated fatty acids from the fish and no extra oil added for grilling nor frying, it can’t get much healthier than that. On offer tuna, salmon and delicious monk fish. According to fatsecret.com one piece of salmon sushi contains 8 mg of cholesterol and tuna 9 mg.
For easy counting lets say: each cut of fish is about 10 mg. I didn’t count, but I wouldn’t be surprised to have eaten let’s say 15 pieces… 150 mg cholesterol? Add to that fresh mixed salad without dressing, a California roll (no cholesterol according to fatsecret.com, I am skeptical about that) and miso soup (again zero cholesterol).
Cooked soba Japanese noodles (made from buckwheat flour and wheat flour), according to fatsecret.com 0 mg cholesterol.
Steamed edamami soy beans and a bunch of little servings like seaweed, lotusroot, and a few vegetarian things I don’t really know the English (nor Japanese) name for: just try and eat…Also a small piece of grilled fish.
For dessert fruits, combining sweet slices of honeymelon with sour strawberries. The only pastry I took was a ultra mini pancake (a bit bigger than a coin). I also had 1 teaspoon of mustard-icecream: trust me, after 1 spoon you don’t want anymore icecream, so that’s good for the diet 🙂
So what didn’t I eat what I would normally go for when I couldn’t be bothered with cholesterol:
- no mutton, oysters, mussels, squid and more squid (my favorite), nor prawn. Although I do need to inform myself a bit better here, because reading the numbers, the differences in cholesterol content are huge: 1 small shrimp contains 8 mg and 1 small mussel contains 3 mg cholesterol. Let’s compare 30 gram or 1 oz of the following seafood from high to low cholesterol content:
- squid: 66 mg cholesterol,
- steamed or boiled shrimp: 55 mg cholesterol
- oysters: 15 mg cholesterol
- clams: 9.66 mg cholesterol
- mussels without shell: 8 mg cholesterol
- no dish containing eggs
- no "mayonaise like" dressings for the salad (as the Japanese sour dressings are delicious and raw fish with raw salad combines perfectly for my taste)
- no pastry dessert, no cream dessert, no ice cream (that means avoiding the dessert section, contrary to when I am not on a diet: trying all the small bites in the dessert section is my favorite buffet pass time)
- no tempura nor anything else deep fried
- no stir fry
- no rice nor a huge amount of noodles
You may notice I didn’t take rice nor a big amount of normal noodles. Reason given is that I want to eat as much variety of healthy foods (especially healthy oils from raw fish) in stead of simply filling my stomach with carbohydrates.
Although I had eaten more than enough, a few hours later I was hungry again. Luckily I had saved half of my breakfast for tea 🙂
For dinner, trying to make sure not to add too much extra cholesterol, eating grilled French bread brushed with olive oil and roasted for 4 minutes in the oven. An onion dip with the usual mix of equal parts of boiled potato and yogurt, salt, finely cut fresh onion and capers. A tomato salsa with garlic and balsamic vinegar. To finish one piece of French bread with cherry marmelade, to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I did fry shredded chicken left overs from the chicken soup of yesterday’s Hainan chicken rice. However, they were fried too long and I can bet you that my shoes are easier to digest. So I added them on my bread but removed them after the first attempt of chewing the chicken 🙂
The only cholesterol during dinner was therefore only in the yogurt dip: 30 grams low fat (2%) yogurt + 40 grams Greek yogurt (10%) contributes to an estimated 11 mg cholesterol per person. 10 mg is from the Greek yogurt (10% fat): a wrong choice made during the first day of my cholesterol diet, next time I will by low fat or make sure the yoghurt contains hardly any cholesterol to mention.
A few hours later again hungry: so I finished the left over roasted French bread with organic strawberry jam, opened a tin of Schweppes bitter lemon and cracked a few pistachio nuts.
Total daily cholesterol intake: unknown, most likely around 300 mg
- breakfast: 0 mg cholesterol
- lunch: most likely at least 200 mg cholesterol (mostly from lots of fish)
- tea: 0 mg cholesterol
- dinner: 11 mg cholesterol (the still not finished Greek yogurt)
- supper: 0 mg cholesterol
If I had known what I know now… Japanese restaurants are quite predictable in their buffet servings, so if I had done some research how much cholesterol Japanese dishes and servings contain on average:
- I would have been able to count my intake better,
- I would also have made different choices: I didn’t know that mussels have far less cholesterol than squid, so I didn’t take any seafood. Next time I will surely go for a few mussels 🙂
Japanese restaurants have quite some healthy choices on offer, just that I need to make the right combination and add to that some carbohydrates, unless I don’t mind being hungry in the early evening. Actually I don’t mind, as long as there is something healthy and delicious for tea 🙂