Yokohama Ryuugaku Kikou

The Japanese Food Top

While I was having breakfast today, I noticed that the pack of bread I’d bought* had a food balance guide panel — the first of its kind I’ve seen during my time here, and the first non-American one I’ve seen. The USDA food pyramid was an oft-ignored staple of my childhood, and is the one a handful of my friends and I recognize the most (newer ratio-based “portion plate” be damned). So, when I saw this, I was actually rather intrigued what Japan had to say about balance in food intake. Here’s a quick and dirty translation of this daily food intake “top” and its descriptions (notes, commentary, and reference to the rough equivalents on the old US food pyramid are in italics):

  • Top “Handle”: Water/Tea ~ Top Momentum: Exercise
  • 5-7 servings of Staple Foods (US: 2-3): one slice of loaf bread, 2~3 bread rolls, etc. (Pictured: sliced bread, rice, noodles, rice ball.)
  • 5-6 servings of Vegetable Sides (US: 3-5): a big plate of vegetable salad, a small dish of sautéed spinach, etc.
  • 3-5 servings of Main Dishes (US: 2-3): A sunny-side-up egg, a small plate of sautéed weiners, etc. (Also pictured: stuff like fish and hamburger steak.)
  • 2 servings of Dairy and Dairy Products (US: 2-3): Half a cup of milk, a slice of cheese, etc.
  • 2 servings of Fruits (US: 2-4): an apple, an orange, etc.

The rest of the display naturally talks about the importance of breakfast (“Breakfast begins your day”), and encourages people to follow the top. It also gives a link to balanceguide.com, which, in an odd twist, redirects to an English booking site for Balearic hotels. I guess if you’re dancing in Ibiza all night you’re definitely fulfilling the whole exercise and momentum thing, right? ◆

* Now that I’ve determined that 4-slice loaves are awesome I’m now fine-tuning my preference in Japanese bread. This particular pack is a bit more dense than the last, which I quite enjoy.

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