Why I Cook 500 Calories To Gain Health And Lose Weight?

“Oh my god! We were so skinny. What happened to us?” Do you feel the same way when you look at your old pictures, like graduation or wedding? You tried so many diet foods and excises to be healthy, but nothing seems to be working, until now…

I Cook 500 Calories

I am a Japanese wife who is married to my wonderful American husband. Over 20 years of eating American food made us unhealthy and bigger. I wanted to change that. I love a delicious Japanese healthy diet. I have been practicing Tanita’s 500 calorie cooking method since January 2015. Tanita is a Japanese company who manufactures health and cooking scales. They also offer a healthy diet program to their employees and people in Japan. I am eager to share my cooking with anyone who likes to eat healthy, tasty food and look great doing it!


Each set meal (like a school lunch) consists of 5 dishes – Rice, Soup, 2 Sides and 1 Main.

Rice100g of steamed white rice, brown rice or half of each. Grains such as quinoa, barley and millet can be added.

Soup – Miso, chicken or vegetable base soup. Soup is low in calorie and makes you feel full.

Side 1 – use generous amount of vegetables. Small amounts of meat can be added to give a dish more volume and add depth to flavor. A slice of bacon or canned tuna are good choices.

Side 2 – this will be small and simple vegetable dish. Pickled vegetables or steamed vegetables will do. You can also use fruits instead of vegetables.

Main – cook 100g of chicken, pork or fish. You can substitute with Tofu. Try different kinds of sauces so that the dish makes you feel full and happy! Don’t forget to add a vegetable as a garnish.

The calories for each set meal needs to be a total of around 500 calories, equivalent of one plain hamburger (but no fries!). Also each plate is low in sodium. In order to accomplish this, I will show you some cooking tips. Read more COOKING TIPS.


In order to lose 1kg (about 2.2 pounds), you will need to burn 7200 calories. You will need to run 12 hours to burn that number of calories (hard work!). Average people burn about 2000 calories a day consisting of 1200 calories of base metabolism and 800 calories of daily activities. When it comes to energy intake, you can take about a 700 calorie meal three times a day.  For example, you can eat 600 calories for breakfast, 700 calories for lunch and 700 calories for dinner. By reducing 200 calories from lunch or dinner (whichever is convenient for you) each day, the monthly deduction total is 6200 calories (200 calories x 31 days). If you burn an additional 1000 calories per month by walking only 0.3 miles a day (easy!), you can easily reach the 7200 calories reduction goal. That is not all. You feel great by eating the variety of vegetables and proteins that Japanese cooking offers!


Japanese food is not only about Sushi, Tempura and Teriyaki. I will introduce you to a variety of tasty Japanese food that you have never heard of. Where do you buy ingredients? Don’t worry! You will find them in an Asian market or even your local grocery stores. If not, I will teach you how to make them from what you already have in your pantry. Remember I live in America and I love creative cooking. With each set meal you will learn something that will help you to continue your Japanese cooking.


Everyone has a different life style. Some people may struggle to lose weight. I hope these other tips will help you to achieve your goals. Read more OTHER TIPS.


I am so happy to include the result that my husband’s pant waist is one size down and his cholesterol was lowered by 20 after 5 months! His weight? Well, he has also lost weight but I have to emphasize that losing weight is not so important. Why? Read more KNOW THE TRUTH OF 1KG.

So are you ready to start amazing healthy cooking? Each week you will learn how to cook 500 calories set meals. Go to the sidebar and subscribe to www.iCook500calories.com. You will receive an email notification when a new post is published.  Let’s cook delicious healthy Japanese meals and lose weight!


#1: Measure, Measure, Measure

Do not assume the amount. Use measuring cups and spoons for spices and condiments every time. Use cooking scale to measure meats, vegetables and even rice. This is important because a small difference in amount can make a significant difference in calories.

#2: Cut Oil when Cooking

You can reduce the amount of oil by using a toaster oven. Place aluminum foil over the tray and then the meat on the foil. It is easy to cook and to clean. You can cook consistently by experimenting with temperature and cooking time with your toaster oven. For example, my toaster oven works well with 450F degrees on toast setting. Don’t forget to preheat.

#3: Go Low Sodium

Remember salt is always optional. Start reducing the amount of salt little by little. You will get used to it and enjoy the real flavor of vegetables and meats. Use herbs and Dashi (a Japanese seasoning made out of fish).  I will show you how to make Dashi.

#4: Bigger Chunks of Vegetable

Cut vegetables larger and do not overcook. This will cause you to chew more when eating. You will take more time to eat and it will give your body a chance to feel full. Remember it will take about 20 minutes before you start feeling fullness. Enjoy the texture of the vegetables.

#5: Skip Bread

Bread is not an option for a dish in the set meal. A plain slice of bread may be lower in calories, but you normally smear butter or jelly. Also eating rice makes you feel full and the fullness lasts longer because your blood sugar level goes up slower than when eating bread. I will show you how to make tasty Japanese rice.

#6: Forget About Beef

You will not find a recipe for beef. 100g of beef has about 300 calories depending on the cut of meat. You will enjoy tasty chicken, pork, and fish. Trim skin and fat before cooking.

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No Eating Contest

You will need to spend at least 20 minutes to complete a set meal. Place a clock on your dinner table in order to keep track of your time and slow down your eating pace. Chewing more will help to slow down your eating speed. Breaking down foods to small particles will help to absorb nutrients to your body and promote healthy digestion.

Eat like a Course Meal

Start by eating vegetable or soup, then meat, and rice at the end. The order helps to prevent from spiking your blood sugar level. When this happens, your body cannot break it down, therefore it gets stored as fat. Even for breakfast start with vegetable. If you cannot, start with fruit such as apples, oranges, and blueberries. These are better options than toast and cereal. Not only will they help to prevent spikes of your blood sugar level, but also are good sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Table Manner

Remember when you were a kid, what your mom or dad used to say at the dinner table. Pay attention to your posture when you eat. Pull in your chin, engage your stomach muscle, and keep your back straight. Actually siting straight helps you to burn calories and promote healthy digestion. You and your loved ones can coach each other how you eat at the table. If you eat alone, place a mirror to see how you eat.

Walk After The Meal

After you enjoy eating a delicious meal, take a walk. This will help not only to burn your calories but also help to lower your blood sugar level.

Know Your Number

Calculate your body mass to see if you are at a healthy weight. Your BMI should be between 18.5 and 24.9.

BMI = Your Weight (kilogram*) / Your Height (meter**) / Your Height (meter)

Conversion factor
*1 pound = 0.45359 kilogram
**1 foot = 0.3048 meters

This is how to calculate. For example, you are a 5.3 foot tall and weigh 120 pounds. Your height 5.3 times 0.3048 equals to 1.6154. This is your height in meters. Your weight 120 times 0.45359 equals to 54.43. This is your weight in kilograms. You plug the numbers to the formula above. 54.43 divide by 1.6154 divide by 1.6154 equals to 20.9. This is your BMI.

If your BMI is 25 or larger, you will have more chance to become diabetic. If you become diabetic, you have more chance to develop Alzheimer and Cancer.

Sleep Well

According to a study by Columbia University, if you sleep less than 5 hours per night, you have a 50% or more chance to become obese. Try to sleep 7 to 9 hours per night. Do not eat less than 3 hours before you go to bed. Stay away from TV and computer or other things that excite your brain before bed. Instead relax by enjoying music, aroma oil or a bath.

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As I mentioned before, “losing 1kg per month” is the base of the diet. What does losing “1kg of FAT” mean?

These people below have the same weight.

Same weight
Same weight

Why do they look so different? The answer is hiding behind “weight of fat”. You may think that fat is heavier than lean meat. Actually fat mass is larger than lean meat because fat is lighter than lean meat.

Fatty Meat
Fatty Meat
Lean Meat
Lean Meat

Now you learned the importance of losing fat rather than watching your weight by weighing yourself every day.

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