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How to Eat Healthy at a Japanese Restaurant in Abu Dhabi

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Having a holiday in Abu Dhabi is the perfect excuse to forego your diet temporarily. With hundreds of great restaurants and cuisines to choose from, you will have a hard time ignoring the scrumptious culinary offerings the local dining establishments offer.

But while you’re in Abu Dhabi, you don’t have to forget about eating healthy all the time. When you dine at a Japanese restaurant in Abu Dhabi, you will still enjoy a balanced meal — one that is nutritious, and will satisfy your cravings and hunger pangs.

Below are some tips for eating healthy at a Japanese restaurant:

  1. Start your meal right

Eating a light snack before heading to the restaurant is a practice anyone on a diet should follow. Unfortunately, there will be times when you may forget to do this, or your busy schedule won’t even allow you to eat a piece of fruit or granola bar quickly.

But no matter how hungry you arrive at the restaurant, avoid ordering anything heavy. Since you are at a Japanese restaurant, ask for some tea or a glass of water. Next, order a light appetizer or starter.

Miso soup with tofu and seaweed, vegetable salads, and tuna tartare are three of the best healthy starters you can order at a Japanese restaurant. However, make sure to take it easy on the dressing or dipping sauce.

  1. Eat mindfully

From the start to the end of your meal, practice mindful eating. This means giving your full attention to your meal.  

While inside the restaurant, take in the delightful scents wafting around. Savor the flavors from each dish you eat as well.

Try to chew and eat your food slowly as well. This will allow you to absorb more nutrients from the food you are eating. Additionally, it will help you digest your food better.

You will be able to eat slower than usual if you use chopsticks, so stick to them and don’t ask for a fork and knife.

  1. Opt for seafood

Fish and other types of seafood are rich in different types of nutrients and contain lower amounts of calories. As such, they are one of the healthiest proteins around.

Because of this, ensure your meal has a variety of fish dishes, particularly oily fish such as tuna and salmon since they are rich in healthy fatty acids. In addition, you will get other essential nutrients as well such as B-vitamin complex and selenium.

Your meal at a Japanese restaurant won’t be complete without sampling their sushi and sashimi menu anyway so fill up on these healthy and tasty dishes.

  1. Ask for low-sodium soy sauce

A tablespoon of regular soy sauce has 900 milligrams sodium. A tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce, on the other hand, has about 500 milligrams of sodium.

Even if you are not on a low-sodium diet, always ask for low-sodium soy sauce so that you can reduce your overall consumption of this ingredient. Use only a little soy sauce at a time as well.

You can boost the flavor of your dipping sauce by adding ginger or a bit of mustard.

  1. Avoid fried foods

If you want to eatbeef, chicken, or pork, choose something that is grilled. This is because grilling allows the meat fat to drip away while still retaining more minerals and vitamins. This cooking technique does not require using oil which makes the meat even healthier.

Steamed, baked, boiled, pan-seared, and sautéed are healthier cooking techniques as well. Although oil may be used, a small amount will only be added. If you don’t want your food to be grilled, look for menu items cooked using these techniques.

  1. Don’t forget your vegetables

Aside from filling up on protein, make sure you have a variety of veggie dishes to eat. Eating vegetables at a Japanese restaurant isn’t difficult since many of their dishes contain, and even highlight, this healthy ingredient.

Look for entrees that have several kinds of vegetables or order them for your side dishes. Try to order different types of veggies so that you can get different nutrients as well.

When you eat a Japanese restaurant, there is no excuse for you to skip eating healthy. You will always have a variety of healthy, filling, and delicious dishes to choose from.


Jenene Bronwin Batts is the Senior Marketing Coordinator at Tourism Development & Investment Company or TDIC. She oversees website maintenance, PR requests, marketing initiatives and all general guests’ enquiries for the company’s destinations, including KOI Restaurant & Lounge and Boa Steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.