Japanese Breakfast: Things You Should Know

Japanese Breakfast: Things You Should Know

There is no doubt that the gastronomic diets of each country speak a lot about its citizens, and the Japanese are not an exception. One of the things that surprise most when you visit the country for the first time is the low rate of obesity. When you have been living here for a while, you realize that not everyone is thin, but of course, it has little to do with other first world countries.

Surely there are many variables to consider but I am completely sure that the food, starting with the traditional Japanese breakfast, has a lot to do with this.

Japanese Breakfast: Things You Should Know
Japanese Breakfast: Things You Should Know

Different Habits For Children

I am not an expert in nutrition but since childhood, I have always been told about the importance of starting the day with a good breakfast. The day is long and it makes perfect sense to get a good number of calories into the body. Not surprisingly, in a country like Spain, you may not be able to try a snack until two or three in the afternoon. In Japan, things are very different. For starters, they eat at eleven or twelve at noon, and there are people dine at half-past four in the afternoon.

Unlike other cultures, dinner is considered the most important meal of the day in Japan. Personally, I find it very interesting to ask people about their eating habits. It is more than evident that their diets are much healthier than everyone else. Their menus are balanced and include a considerable amount of vegetables. I detect that the traditional Japanese breakfast, little by little is losing bellows with respect to other faster options. But it is still there. Especially in the two poles, in the diet of grandparents and young children. I am also surprised, and in this case negatively, the number of children between eleven and fifteen who do not have breakfast or simply drink yogurt or a glass of milk.

The Quintessential Japanese Breakfast

If a Japanese asked me what is the typical Spanish breakfast, I would not know very well what to answer. Each region has its customs. The churros in Madrid, the fartons in Valencia, the butter color in Andalusia, the ensaimadas in the Balearic Islands, the Cantabrian sobaos, the Catalan pa amb tomàquet, the parathas in India, the bread in America and so much and so more. Different recipes but with something in common, the presence of bread or flour. And well, many calories.

In Japan, however, rice is the star. In a Japanese breakfast, eating rice is the most normal thing in the world. Many Japanese mothers wake up very early every day, at five or six in the morning on average, to prepare the family breakfast. The ingredients may or may not vary by region, but usually in any traditional Japanese breakfast rice is not lacking. This one, can go alone (shirogohan or hakumai) or accompanied by raw eggs ( tamago kake gohan), natto (fermented soybeans) or simple furikake (different dehydrated and ground ingredients), to give a few examples.

Japanese Breakfast: Things You Should Know
Japanese Breakfast: Things You Should Know

As I said in the introduction, traditions are gradually evolving and habits change. Many families have incorporated much more western breakfasts into their daily routine. Such as industrial pastries, toast with jam, cereals or yogurt. Japan is changing. They are getting taller and less thin. 

What do you think of the most traditional Japanese breakfast? Would you be able to incorporate it into your diet?

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