500 Calories Set Meal: AGEs Affect Your Diet And Health

What Are AGEs?

AGEs stands for Advanced Glycation End products. They are harmful food molecules and affect your diet and health. When proteins are cooked with sugar and without water, it produces harmful molecules called AGEs. Not only are AGEs produced from food, but they are also produced in the body.

Sugar is important to your body because it turns into energy. However, when you eat more sugar than energy you burn, the excess sugar overflows into your blood as glucose. Then, it connects to proteins in the body. With the body temperature, the proteins convert into sugar. Proteins exist throughout the body. Therefore, AGEs affects your health significantly.

AGEs Affect Your Health

AGEs will damage your cell and DNA. It accelerates premature aging and obesity. AGEs start the early stages of metabolic syndrome.  Obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excess fat in blood are some of the conditions. AGEs changes visceral fat to bad bacteria and spikes the blood sugar level. When blood sugar goes up, more AGEs will be generated. It is a vicious cycle!

Premature aging and obesity are not only problems caused from AGEs. Accumulated AGEs in your body will take it to the next level as below:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Kidney disorder
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cataract

What Can You Do To Reduce AGEs?

Good news is that you can delay AGEs process by what you eat and how you cook.

  1. Don’t get fooled with 0 calorie product. The product is loaded with harmful chemicals. Artificial sweeteners are addictive. It has stronger sweetness and produces large amounts of insulin. Therefore, excess fat is stored, and causes obesity.
  2. Processed food that has brown coloring is artificial and harmful! The brown color was made by oxidizing sugar. This technique is used to make processed foods taste and look better. Furthermore, it adds more AGEs to the food.
  3. Do not use white granulated “table sugar” (sucrose). It is a processed food and food additive. Instead, use raw unrefined sugar or honey for your cooking and drinks.
  4. When you purchase processed food, look at the label carefully. Stay away from food containing fructose and high fructose corn syrup. They are manmade sweetener and easily converted into fat.
  5. Choose unsweetened products and add raw unrefined sugar or honey. For example, I buy unsweetened yogurt because sweetened ones are too sweet to me. Besides, yogurt is better eaten with honey. Read more Kinako Banana Honey Yogurt to learn about the health benefit.
  6. Eat whole foods if you’re craving for sweet or snack. Nuts and Fruits are good choices.
  7. Eat more raw vegetables. Use steaming or boiling method when cook vegetables. Water will prevent from bonding proteins to sugar. Therefore, it prevents generating AGEs.
  8. Cook meat with low temperature. More AGEs is generated when meat is fried and oven broiled.
  9. Drink more water! Stay away from soft drinks. Many soft drinks contains high fructose corn syrup. Water will help you release toxins out of your body.
  10. Eat antioxidant rich vegetables and fruits to fight against AGEs. Antioxidant rich foods are artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, avocados, beetroot, spinach, kale, carrot, garlic, ginger, banana, berries, soy beans, buckwheat, and green tea. It is important that you have enough antioxidant in your body.

More AGEs In Modern Diet

Sugar and processed food consumption has increased over recent decades. When I was a child, I ate more whole foods, such as  fruits and sweet potatoes than candies and snacks. There were not as many processed foods like today. Moreover, Japanese people used to go to local mom & pop stores to buy meat, vegetables, fish, bakery and even tofu. Now they are gone from my hometown streets. Instead, there are super markets that carry more processed food than whole foods. Also, a convenience store is standing at every other corner. They carry all kinds of processed foods!

I understand that people are busy because there are so many choices in life! But when it comes to your body, you only have one body. I hope that you will pay attention to what you eat. Why don’t you invest your time to prepare delicious healthy meals for yourself and your family. Let’s cook 500 calories set meals to lose AGEs and weight!

~Menu~

Main: Chicken Amakarani (Chicken with Sweet Soy Sauce)

Side 1: Sautéed Chard and Maitake Mushroom


Side 2: Grilled Hanpen (Japanese fish cake)


Soup: Chard and Maitake Mushroom Cream Soup


Steamed White Rice

All recipes are made for 2 servings. This printable recipe box will allow you to change the serving size to adjust the recipe.

chicken amakarani
Main: Chicken Amakarani (Chicken with Sweet Soy Sauce)
165 calories

Japanese people like this type of Japanese food, called Amakara-ni. The cooking method is quite simple. Meat and vegetables are cooked with soy sauce and sugar. It has sweet soy sauce flavor which is savory. In order to reduce AGEs, there are three important things you can do to cook this recipe. First, use raw unrefined sugar or honey.  Second, add antioxidant rich garlic to fight against AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products). Third, cook the meat with low heat.

chicken amakarani
Chicken Amakarani (Chicken with Sweet Soy Sauce)
Print Recipe
165 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
chicken amakarani
Chicken Amakarani (Chicken with Sweet Soy Sauce)
Print Recipe
165 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Salt and pepper chicken. Leave it for 15 minutes.
    chicken amakarani step (1)
  2. Mix soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and minced garlic.
    chicken amakarani step (3)
  3. Cook chicken both sides.
    chicken amakarani step (2)
  4. Remove chicken from the pan when cooked. Turn off heat. Remove excess oil with a piece of paper towel by using chopsticks.
    chicken amakarani step (4)
  5. Add the mixture in the pan. Bring to boil.
    chicken amakarani step (5)
  6. Add chicken back to the pan. Cook until meat gets coated with the sauce and liquid gets evaporated.
    chicken amakarani step (6)
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sauteed chard and maitake mushroom

Side 1: Sautéed Chard and Maitake Mushroom
37 calories

About Chard

My husband complains about some greens like kale because it is tough and tastes too bitter. I agree with him. I only eat kale because it is good for me. Oh no, I sound like my mom, but it’s true. While I was shopping for kale, I spotted another big leaf vegetable, next to kale. It was chard! I was surprised to know that there are many varieties of chard. It comes in green, purple, and rainbow! In Japan, chard is called Swiss chard or Fudansou. It means “always plant” because it is always available all year round. How interesting! Chard originated in Europe and belongs to the beet family. Why Swiss? There was a story. Back in 19 century Americans first tasted chard at a resort in Switzerland. Switzerland was mostly visited by rich Americans at that time.

Chard is low in calories but rich in vitamin K and manganese. It also contains Beta carotene, vitamin B2, B6, E, dietary fiber, folic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium, calcium, and iron. Chard will provide the following benefits: strong antioxidants, anti-cancer effect, skin health and protect mucous remembrances. The texture is much tougher than spinach, but it is great for cooking. Use a big pan when you cook chard. Start cooking from stem and then leaves. Add a little sake or water and create steaming effect to make it tender. It turned out it was great after cooking. We should cook chard more often to fight against AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products). My husband did not complain. That is a big plus!

About Maitake Mushroom

When you make a trip to an Asian food store, look for Maitake Mushroom. It means dancing mushroom in Japanese. There are two stories behind the name. First, the mushroom comes in a big bundle and looks like each piece is dancing. Second, a person who ate the mushroom started dancing because it was so delicious. I agree that it has an excellent texture and flavor. It is my favorite! It’s good for any type of cooking.

sauteed chard and maitake mushroom
Sautéed Chard and Maitake Mushroom
Print Recipe
37 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
sauteed chard and maitake mushroom
Sautéed Chard and Maitake Mushroom
Print Recipe
37 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Remove the bottom of Maitake mushroom and break apart by hand. Cut chard into large chunks. Mince garlic.
    sauteed chard and maitake mushroom step (1)
  2. Sautee garlic with oil until you start smelling the aroma.
    sauteed chard and maitake mushroom step (2)
  3. Add chard, mushroom, and sake into the pan.
    sauteed chard and maitake mushroom step (4)
  4. Continue to sauté until vegetables become tender, for about 3 minutes.
    sauteed chard and maitake mushroom step (5)
  5. Add soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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grill hanpen Japanese fish cake

Side 2: Grilled Hanpen (Japanese fish cake)
59 calories

What is Hanpen?

Hanpen is made out of fish paste. Fish is minced and mixed with yam and starch and then steamed. It is a square shape and white. It is soft and airy like a marshmallow. It is very gentle to your stomach. It means that Hanpen is easy to digest. Therefore, it is used as baby food. Hanpen is low in calories, yet rich in protein and dietary fiber. Hanpen has a good salty flavor, so you don’t have to add sodium. Hanpen can be purchased at a Japanese store. You can find it in the refrigerator near tofu.

What is Aonori?

Aonori is green seaweed flake. It is a popular condiment in Japan. It gives good accent as flavor and presentation. On top of that, seaweed is a very healthy food. In the form of flake, Aonori can be on top of rice, pasta, salad, and soup. Aonori can be purchased at a Japanese grocery store. It is normally located in the seaweed section. If you cannot find Aonori at a store, just tear up a sheet of dried seaweed into small pieces.

grill hanpen Japanese fish cake
Grilled Hanpen (Japanese Fish Cake)
Print Recipe
59 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
grill hanpen Japanese fish cake
Grilled Hanpen (Japanese Fish Cake)
Print Recipe
59 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut Hanpen into quarters. Slice Garlic.
    grilled hanpen step (1)
  2. Cook sliced garlic in pan until you smell the aroma.
    grilled hanpen step (2)
  3. Add Hanpen and cook both sides about 1 minute each.
    grilled hanpen step (3)
  4. Place Hanpen on plate. Place garlic and sprinkle Aonori on top. Or tear up a sheet of dried seaweed into small pieces.
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chard and maitake mushroom cream soup
Soup: Chard and Maitake Mushroom Cream Soup
62 calories

My policy is no wasting. And use the ingredient while it’s fresh. Chard comes in a bunch. After you made Sautéed Chard and Maitake Mushroom, you will have some leftover. Mushroom such as Maitake and Shimegi comes with the hard bottom. When you break them into pieces, you will find small pieces of mushrooms. I call it baby mushrooms. They are too small to use for sautéing. Therefore, throw them into soup!

chard and maitake mushroom cream soup
Chard and Maitake Mushroom Cream Soup
Print Recipe
62 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
chard and maitake mushroom cream soup
Chard and Maitake Mushroom Cream Soup
Print Recipe
62 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Remove chard stem and cut into 1 inch long. Cut chard leaves and mushroom into medium pieces.
    chard and maitake mushroom cream soup step (1)
  2. Sauté chard stem with butter for one minute.
    chard and maitake mushroom cream soup step (2)
  3. Add chard leaves and mushroom. Cook for another minute.
    chard and maitake mushroom cream soup step (3)
  4. When vegetables become tender, add chicken broth. Bring to boil.
    chard and maitake mushroom cream soup step (4)
  5. Add milk and turn off heat right before boiling. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    chard and maitake mushroom cream soup step (5)
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steamed-white-rice

100g of Steamed White Rice
160 calories

Each 500 calories set meal comes with 100g of steamed rice. You will need to cook rice in a rice cooker or in a heavy gage pot. And measure cooked rice for 100 grams. I will show you how to make your cooking life easier. Read more How To Cook And Store Japanese Rice.

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