500 Calories Set Meal: Eating Enough Dietary Fiber?

Are you eating enough dietary fiber? It is important to eat enough dietary fiber to lose weight and improve health. Here is why.

If you eat enough dietary fiber,

  1. Increases the amount of good bacteria and improves intestinal flora.
  2. Expands with liquid in the stomach, therefore it prevents overeating.
  3. Prevents blood sugar spike.
  4. Dietary fiber becomes like gel in the stomach. The gel sticks to excess fat so it moves out of the body.

How much dietary fiber do you need?

The ideal amount of dietary fiber is 17g to 19g in Japan. I found out that it is recommended to take 20g to 30g in the United States. I had no idea what to eat and how much to eat in order to accomplish it. Let’s learn about dietary fiber.

There are two kinds of dietary fiber.

Soluble Dietary Fiber

Soluble dietary fiber is contained more in slimy food. The characteristic is that it melts in water. It holds liquid and becomes like gel. This gel is very effective for dieter. It slows down digestion and absorption of sugar contained in carbohydrate. Therefore, it does not spike the blood sugar level. Also, the gel sucks up excess fat like cholesterol, and prevents it from absorbing into the body.

Furthermore, it protects the mucus membrane of intestines. It regulates the intestinal action because it helps to increase the amount of good bacteria. Pectin in fruits and vegetables is classified as soluble dietary fiber. Also, alginate that is contained in sea vegetables is soluble dietary fiber.

Here is the example of soluble dietary fiber rich food.

  • Avocado
  • Okra
  • Yamaimo (Japanese yam)
  • Sea vegetables
  • Burdock
  • Natto (Japanese fermented soy beans).

Insoluble Dietary Fiber

Insoluble dietary fiber does not melt in water. Therefore, Insoluble is in the food where you need to chew more. It means you take time to eat, therefore you feel full. Once, it reaches the stomach, it absorbs water and expands. And it expands the volume of stool and stimulates the intestines (peristalsis). The bottom line is insoluble dietary fiber promotes bowel movement. Furthermore, it has detox effect and helps to release toxic material such as dioxin from the body.

If you don’t have enough dietary fiber, you will have fecal matter build up in the intestines. People who eat sugar and fat on daily basis have fecal matter that weigh 3 to 5 kilograms (7 to 11 pounds). If you are having constipation frequently, it could be even worse. It is a famous story that Elvis Presley had 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and John Wayne had 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of fecal matter in their colons when they died.

Below are insoluble dietary fiber rich ingredients.

  • Beans
  • Okra
  • Mushrooms
  • Dried Daikon
  • Wheat bran
  • Almond

It is ideal to eat one soluble to two insoluble ratio per day. An example of the balanced food is natto, burdock, and okra.

Timing is Everything

In order to lose weight, you need to control blood sugar level. Eating dietary fiber at breakfast is very important. It is ideal to start your day with dietary fiber. In this way you can prevent a blood sugar spike.

Traditional Japanese breakfast is rich in dietary fiber. For example, the meal has soy beans, sea vegetables, brown rice, and other vegetables. Nowadays, Japanese people eat like American or European people. It is true that they lack of dietary fiber.

My family and friends in Japan eat more than I do. But they remain slim. Maybe the secret is that they eat enough dietary fiber. Finally, according to a study, if you eat enough dietary fiber, it will reduce the risk of chronic disease such as type 2 diabetic, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and so forth. Let’s cook 500 calories set meal with lots of dietary fiber!

500 Calories Set Meal: Chili Con Carne

~Menu~

Main: Chili Con Carne
Side 1: Kinpira Gobo (Simmered Burdock and Carrot)
Side 2: Natto Tomato Cucumber Salad
Soup: Okra Egg Drop Soup
Steamed Rice with Corn

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

500 calories set meal chili con carne
Main: Chili Con Carne
190 calories

Chili Con Carne is known as Chili and is a famous dish in America. The dish originated in the southern part of Texas, which became independent from Mexico and joined the United States in the 19th century.

The cooking method is quite simple. Ground meat and beans are cooked with chili powder. Homemade chili can be unique by adding a secret blend of spices. Some examples are barbeque sauce, cinnamon, coffee, chocolate and so forth.

Chili Con Carne is not only delicious, but also it contains dietary fiber rich ingredients, beans. You can use kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, black beans or any combination. You can get 5 grams of dietary fiber from this recipe!

500 calories set meal chili con carne
Chili Con Carne
Print Recipe
190 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minues
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minues
500 calories set meal chili con carne
Chili Con Carne
Print Recipe
190 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minues
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minues
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Steam or boil potato.
  2. Cut the potatoe into small dices. Cut onion and garlic into small chunks.
    chili con carne step (1)
  3. Cook meat in pan.
    chili con carne step (2)
  4. Add garlic and onions and sauté .
    chili con carne step (3)
  5. Add chili powder and cumin. Mix well. (Optional-add chili pepper).
    chili con carne step (4)
  6. Add cooked potato, corn, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and tomato.
    chili con carne step (5)
  7. Add chicken broth, and red wine. Cook for 7 minutes. Add salt & pepper for taste.
    chili con carne step (6)
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kinpira gobo simmered burdock
Side 1: Kinpira Gobo (Simmered Burdock and Carrot)
44 calories

What is Kinpira?

Kinpira Gobo is one of the traditional Japanese foods. Burdock is cooked in sweet soy sauce. Kinpira was named for the boy from a famous fairy tale. He was healthy and strong. The characteristic of burdock is also tough and hard to chew. Therefore, the dish was called Kinpira just like the boy.

About Burdock

Burdock contains a great amount of dietary fiber and burdock is one of the vegetables that has the balanced dietary fiber. It contains an excellent amount of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Just like chili, homemade Kinpira Gobo has a secret ingredient. You can add meat, tofu, sea vegetable, chili pepper, etc.. This simple recipe will get you about 3 grams of dietary fiber.

Burdock may have some dirt and hair because it is a root vegetable. Wash well and scrub with a stiff brush. Make sure that you eat the skin because it contains more dietary fiber than inside of the skin. Soak in water right after cutting, piece by piece. It turns dark as polyphenol touches oxygen. But remember not to soak more than five minutes.  Do not let precious soluble dietary fiber run away!

kinpira gobo simmered burdock
Kinpira Gobo (Simmered Burdock and Carrot)
Print Recipe
44 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minues
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minues
kinpira gobo simmered burdock
Kinpira Gobo (Simmered Burdock and Carrot)
Print Recipe
44 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minues
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minues
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut burdock and carrot into thin strips. Place burdock in water right away for up to 5 minutes.
    kinpira gobo simmered burdock and carrot step (1)
  2. Cook burdock and carrot with oil for 2 minutes.
    kinpira gobo simmered burdock and carrot step (2)
  3. Add water, sugar and soy sauce into the pan. Optional-Sprinkle chili pepper if you like spicy.
    kinpira gobo simmered burdock and carrot step (3)
  4. Cook for 5 more minutes.
    kinpira gobo simmered burdock and carrot step (4)
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natto tomato cucumber salad
Side 2: Natto Tomato Cucumber Salad
77 calories

About History

Natto has a very long history, since the Yayoi period (2300 years ago). The most reliable story is that people cultivated and cooked beans. Cooked soy beans fell into hay placed on the floor in the cave. When they found the beans, it was naturally fermented.

There was a record from 900 years ago. A warrior was traveling with his horse. He carried cooked soybeans to feed the horse. One day he found the leftover soybeans that were wrapped with hay had fermented. His servant tasted and liked it. He gave natto to Shogun. Shogun was very pleased. By Edo period (300 years ago), people ate natto for breakfast just like today.

About Health Benefits

Natto has enormous health benefits. As I mentioned, Natto has good balanced dietary fiber. Soybean contains saponin that shrink intestinal villi. It means that the speed of absorption of nutrients is slowed. Therefore, your fullness lasts longer. Moreover, it will prevent absorption of fat into the body. Also soybeans have peptide that helps to burn fat. Finally, natto kinase generated from fermentation makes the blood flow smoothly. Therefore, it will help to lower the cholesterol level.

How to Eat

People, even some Japanese people (but not me!), have trouble eating Natto. The reasons are 1) it doesn’t smell appetizing – it has a fermented smell. 2) the texture is slimy – it is stringy as well!

There are some ways to overcome the problems. First, do not stir. If you stir natto, it gets slimier. Heating up natto brings even stronger smell. Add sesame oil or olive oil to mask the smell. And add toasted sesame seeds so that it adds texture. Also, this helps you chew more. Natto is known as a non-chewing food.

Summer vegetables like tomato and cucumber does not contain much dietary fiber. By adding natto, you will get 3 grams of dietary fiber!

Next time, when you go to a Japanese grocery store, you can be adventurous and grab natto.  Natto is located near Tofu. I will be very proud of you!

natto tomato cucumber salad
Natto Tomato Cucumber Salad
Print Recipe
77 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
natto tomato cucumber salad
Natto Tomato Cucumber Salad
Print Recipe
77 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Dice tomato and cucumber.
    natto tomato cucumber salad step (1)
  2. Natto mix with sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seed lightly.
    natto tomato cucumber salad step (2)
  3. Make dressing by mixing soy sauce, olive oil, and vinegar in the bowl
    natto tomato cucumber salad step (3)
  4. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, and natto and mix gently.
    natto tomato cucumber salad step (4)
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okra egg drop soup
Soup: Okra Egg Drop Soup
38 calories

Although okra originated in Africa in BC, it became available to Japanese people in 1970. Indeed, okra is a newer vegetable.

Okra is a good source of soluble dietary fiber. The component of the slimy texture is pectin and muchin. It is a high source of dietary fiber.

Okra has only 30 calories per 100 g. When you cook okra in soup, it works like potato starch. It thickens soup. Okra works not only for diet, but also it works for fatigue from tiredness or heat. No wonder it is common to eat in Africa.

If okra has small pointy thorns, just like cucumber, it means that they are fresh. You can remove them by sprinkling salt and rolling over a cutting board. When you slice okra, it looks like a flower. Okra gives a natural and pretty presentation!

This recipe will get you over 3 grams of dietary fiber!

okra egg drop soup
Okra Egg Drop Soup
Print Recipe
38 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
okra egg drop soup
Okra Egg Drop Soup
Print Recipe
38 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. Soak shitake in water over night.
  2. Slice okra into 0.5 cm. Cut shitake mushroom into thin strips.
    okra egg drop soup step (1)
  3. Bring chicken broth to boil in pot.
    okra egg drop soup step
  4. Add okra, mushroom, and soy sauce into the pan. Cook for 3 minutes.
    okra egg drop soup step (2)
  5. Stir in beaten egg right before turning off the heat.
    okra egg drop soup step (3)
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steamed rice with corn
90g Steamed White Rice with 10g Corn
160 calories

Each 500 calories set meal comes with 100g of steamed rice. Unfortunately, steamed rice has very little dietary fiber. However, you can change it by adding some colors. It is great if you can cook rice with grains. Today, I just want to add cooked corn to already steamed rice. How simple is that! And corn has 10 times more dietary fiber than white rice!

Read more How To Cook And Store Japanese Rice.

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