Is Japchae Healthy? (3 Tips For Weight Loss)
If you’ve been to any Korean restaurant in Los Angeles or around the world, you’ll see a bowl of Japchae served as an appetizer series called banchan. It’s definitely one of the most popular Korean foods out there as it adds so much to each meal with its unique flavor and texture.
Although Japcahe is delicious, is it healthy?
Carbs and fats are what make up most of Japchae’s calories so it has a high potential to encourage overeating. There is hardly any protein within the dish which shows a poor balance of macronutrients. When eaten in moderation, however, Japchae is definitely an awesome dish to eat as it offers awesome flavors and textures that compliment many Korean dishes.
It can be tricky to eat Japchae and stay within a healthy range of calories so let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to eat your favorite Korean noodles while staying on track with your diet. Here are the 3 steps you need to take to eat healthy Japchae noodles.
Understand What Goes Inside Japchae
Understand How Many Calories Are In Japchae
Make Sure To Workout Consistently & Build Muscle
Now that we know the 3 steps to eat some healthy Japchae, let’s take a deeper look at what we can do to stay fit when eating it.
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Tip 1: Understand What Goes Inside Japchae
When discovering the benefits of eating a certain dish, a thorough look at the ingredients and what makes up this dish is necessary. There are really three components to Japchae that make up the dish so let’s take a look at what each section provides.
Japchae noodles are very unique as they are very squishy and are not chewy like typical Asian noodle dishes. It’s a noodle that is made out of potato starch rather than the typical egg, flour, and oil mixture so you can expect it to be a carb heavy dish with small amounts of fats and protein.
Starch noodles or cellophane noodles can be heavy as a cup of these noodles can cost up to a whopping 492 calories coming all solely from carbs. A single cup of cellophane noodles has 121 grams of carbs with only 0.7 grams of fiber. This means that there is high potential to overeat on carbs which is the real enemy of the American diet.
Carbs usually get a bad rep as they are seen to cause weight gain, bloating, and inflammation. However, this is far from the truth. Carbs are there to provide energy to fuel our movements and workouts. It’s only when we overeat on carbs where we see the negative effects. We’ll go over the importance of understanding where your calories come from in the next section.
Now, before we write off Japchae as a bad dish, we must look at the other components of the dish. A single serving of Japchae usually has a 1:1 ratio of noodles to toppings so you don’t really get overloaded with too many noodles. Let’s take a look at the sauce and what gives Japchae its awesome flavor.
The sauce is really the star ingredient in Japchae as it has a combination of savory, sweet, and earthy flavors within every bite you take. The ingredients for the sauce contain brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and sesame seeds.
There are only two ingredients in the sauce that offer a substantial amount of calories which are sesame oil and brown sugar. Sesame oil offers the fats in the dish and brown sugar offers extra carbs. This is totally fine to eat, however, because only 2 tablespoons are required to flavor 4 servings of noodles.
Overall, the sauce has great ingredients and uses fresh aromatics that flavor the dish. Nothing to worry about here.
The toppings are definitely my favorite part about eating Japchae. There’s something so special about the spinach, mushroom, carrot, and onion combination that mixes with the sauce. They all give some much needed crunch and texture to the dish.
You can expect most of the fiber from the dish to come from the mixture of vegetables which is a huge plus if you eat this with some fatty meats or soups. The best part about Korean food is really the banchan as it allows for different flavor combinations and the addition of many micronutrients.
Overall, Japchae’s calories really come from the sauce and the noodles whereas the toppings add fiber and some other micronutrients. Let’s take a look at the calories for a typical Japchae dish and see how we can incorporate a bowl of these noodles into our diet.
Tip 2: Understand How Many Calories Are Inside Japchae
It’s always a good thing to understand how many calories go inside a certain dish as it allows us to control our daily consumption and manage a healthy range of food. Unknowingly overeating is what causes tons of weight gain and can lead to complications down the line so it’s great to combat weight loss with calorie control.
Let’s take a look at the calories of a simple Japchae dish and see what it has to offer. For one cup of Japchae we get 252 Calories with 9.5 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbs and 12 grams of protein. Overall, we get a decent dish as it has somewhat of a balance within the three macronutrients.
As expected of a noodle dish, the majority of the calories come from carbs and fats which means that moderation is required when eating this dish. However, there are 12 grams of protein that you might receive from some egg or pieces of steak that might be incorporated into the dish.
Our tip when eating Japchae is to pair it with some lean cuts of meat such as chicken or beef. This will ensure that we are getting a good balance of macronutrients and making sure that the protein keeps up with the carbs and fats.
Luckily, Japchae doesn’t offer too many carbs especially compared to many other noodle dishes. Just make sure to keep it controlled and you’ll be good to go.
Tip 3: Make Sure To Workout Consistently & Build Muscle
Tracking your calories is very important in staying healthy. Keeping a good balance of macronutrients will keep you in check for the diet portion but movement and building muscle will be the other end of the spectrum.
When we consume food we consume energy that fuels our everyday movement and activity. There’s a concept called energy balance that dictates how we look and feel throughout our lives. We want to make sure that we live active lifestyles in order to utilize the calories we get from dishes like Japchae so we can manage our weight and energy use.
Simply put, if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you consume less calories than you burn, you will lose weight. If you consume the same amount of calories you burn, then you will maintain your weight. We have the choice of controlling how we look and feel and it all starts with keeping active and controlling your numbers.
Knowing how many calories you consume in a day and how many calories you expend in a day is crucial in understanding what we want our bodies to do. If your goal is weight loss, then make sure to eat in a caloric deficit and stay active.
The last piece of the puzzle has to be muscle which is a great tool for keeping us lean and looking great. The benefit of muscle is that it burns calories at rest which means you’ll be burning more calories as you live your everyday life.
It can be difficult to start working out as learning the movements can be intimidating and hard to grasp. We’ve come up with a simple workout plan that will get you building muscle if you are interested in giving it a shot. Here is the workout plan down below.
Monday (Full Upper):
Seated Shoulder Press: 4x20
Lateral Raises: 4x15
Lat Pulldowns: 4x12
Dumbbell Row: 3x10
Dumbbell Fly: 3x10
Knee Push Ups: 4x20
Weighted Crunches: 3x35
Assisted Pull Ups: 3x10
Lat Pulldowns: 4x12
Cable Row: 4x15
Stiff Leg Deadlift: 4x15
Hamstring Curl: 4x15
Bicep Curls: 3x10
Hammer Curls: 3x10
Goblet Squats: 4x20
Glute Bridge: 4x20
Glute Kickbacks: 4x20 each leg
Jump Squats: 4x20
Weighted Crunches: 3x35
Leg Lifts: 3x35
Mon: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Abs (Push Day)
Bench Press: 3 sets 10 reps
Dumbbell Press: 4 sets 12 reps
Shoulder Press: 3 sets 10 reps
Lateral Raises: 3 sets 15 reps
Triceps Rope Push Down: 3 sets 15 reps
Cable Crunches: 4 sets 15 reps
Wed: Legs & Abs
Goblet Squats: 4 sets 20 reps
Weighted Walking Lunges: 2 sets 20 steps
Stiff Leg DeadLift (Romanian Deadlift): 4 sets 15 reps
Glute Bridges With Weight: 4 sets 20 reps
Jumping Squats With Resistance Bands: 5 sets 20 reps
Weighted Sit Ups: 4 sets 25 reps
Weighted Toe Touches: 4 sets 25 reps
Fri: Back & Biceps (Pull Day)
Assisted Pull Ups: 3 sets 10 reps
Lat Pulldowns: 4 sets 12 reps
Dumbbell Rows: 4 sets 10 reps (Each Side)
Seated Cable Rows: 4 sets 15 reps
Bicep Curls: 3 sets 10 reps
Hammer Curls: 3 sets 10 reps
This is a simple workout plan but it will hit all the muscles while teaching you each individual function. If you’re someone that doesn’t like the gym and would rather create a gym for yourself at home, then make sure to check out this article where we go over the best home workout equipment so you can start working out in the safety of your home!
There It is!
In this article, we went over what goes into a typical Japchae dish and some steps that you can take to stay healthy while you eat your favorite Korean noodles. If you want to know more about Asian food and healthy tricks and habits you can implement into your life, then make sure to check out our other articles!
Phillip Pak is a fitness expert who has been training clients for 5 years. Throughout his fitness journey, Phill has done it all when it comes to diet and nutrition. He is now the owner of Aspire Fitness Walnut where his main goal is to help those who are seeking to find the best version of themselves. He’s been through the struggle of obtaining an good physique and knows how to share it with others.