Review: Morinaga Banana (+Jujitsu veggies) Puddings : 森永の新しいバナナ野菜プリン、おいしいかな?

So I have been wondering about this new pudding from Morinaga recently: Veggie juice-banana pudding (Jujitsu yasai de oishii Banana pudding) .

Here it says Banana pudding with 20 kinds of veggies and fiber. Banana itself would have been nice but with veggie juice?? (this is a cooperation between Itoen’s jujitsu 60% veggie juice series and Morinaga)
So…I bought it just to satisfy my curiosity. Let me tell you about its label first: 120 kcal, protein 2 g., fat 4.3 g., carbs 17.6 g., and fiber 2.9 g. Compared to many other puddings, 120 kcal is pretty normal, but it can be better in terms of lower fat and higher fiber. Check it its product website!

Its flavor profile, HOWEVER, is really ambiguous or “Bimyou” as we say in Japanese. It’s not totally sweet. The sourness came after a while, leaving kinda weird aftertaste. The texture is normal, just like pudding in general. It kinda tastes like you are drinking diluted veggies drink with added sugar in a pudding form. lol

Sorry, morinaga….This pudding is not cutting it for me.

More pudding reviews are coming, so stay tuned!

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Innovative containers: Morinaga VS Meiji: 新鮮な「しまるボトル」森永 VS 明治

Recently, Japan has been really innovative about how containers look like. In part, I think they stimulate interest in consumers, making them pick up the product and hence increase the possibility of the first trial. It’s really refreshing to see this kind of innovation starting to pick up the pace in Japan. While flavors and contents of drinks are always changing depending on the seasons, their containers have remained the same for the past years. Only recently that Morinaga has started the trend.

First and most exciting innovation would be PREMiL! New concept of milk targeting those in their 40s-60s. There are 2 types of product options: one with fortified calcium and protein but still creamy (in blue color) AND one with added fiber and BB536 bacteria (purple color).

Now..look at their packaging! People thought these are yogurt drink at first…because the color and shape is similar to the existing package of some yogurt brands. When they picked the product up, read about it, the surprise factor came in when they realized it’s actually milk! The idea is that it would be easy to open, to pour (so the milk won’t spill if you squeeze the bottle too hard), and to keep. Some complain that it might be difficult when you need to cut the bottle for recycle purpose. Read more here: PREMiL

And then…Meiji followed suit with this bottle series…called “Shimaru bottle”. Shimaru is to close something – in this case the bottle.
Recently launched in combini are 2 variations of dairy drink: super creamy latte and matcha latte. Claiming that the cap allows you to keep the milk from spilling and to keep it for later consumption in case you don’t finish the whole thing. (the term “re-cap” is used in Japanese) Most products in the market are in the form of tetra box, so once you open you can’t really keep it long. Read more here: Shimaru bottle
Here is how the “Shiro no hito toki” (creamy latte) and matcha latte look like:
明治白のひととき 430ml辻利 かほり抹茶ラテ 430ml

They look pretty similar, no? What do you think? Do these new shape of bottle makes you wanna buy more?

New Healthy Almond-milk Pudding!

I am a frequent investigator of convenience stores, especially Family Mart which seems to be everywhere: next to my apartment and in my office building. It has been long since I really found something sweet that I would crave but I spotted this milk pudding yesterday during hunting for my lunch at Famima. So yes, BOUGHT IT! Tried it too and I like it.

Why it’s good? 

1. So low in sugar!: only 3.3 g. which is about 77% less than the normal pudding in the market (I think it’s 77% sorry if I’m not precise)

2. Made from Almond milk: the flavor and smell is really nice and mild

3. Low calories: only 67 kcal! Could be a perfect little dessert after your meal! (totally guilt-free) Normal pudding would be about 120-150 kcal or more.

My opinion is that it’s really a good choice if you just look for something small to round up your meal. (or if you’re on a diet) But if you look for something more indulging and rich, full texture..this might not be for you.

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7 Best bedtime snacking: a smaller version of breakfast! 寝る前の間食 ベスト7!

7 Best bedtime snacking: a smaller version of breakfast! 

I guess this happens to all of us: the stomach protests you just right after you lie down on your bed, you can’t sleep, the only thing running around in your head is food. Your brain then starts to haunt you with “I need fooodddd. I’m hungryyyy. Feed meeee.” And sometimes you give up and just wanna grab something to make that voice go away.

Well, in that situation it is very risky to make a wrong choice that could effect how well you sleep. You might grab chocolates, biscuits, cakes, pastry, bread, anything that is easy to munch, etc. But listen here…you can prepare your late night snacking staple ahead of time and avoid any emergency food that would make you regret after eating.

I have listed the best 7 foods that could help you survive the war with your stomach, leaving your weight intact and your sleep undisturbed.

1. 80-kcal almond milk from Glico. There are 2 flavors, plain and coffee. I personally am addicted to the coffee version. Apart from the bounty amount of vitamin E and no cholesterol, almond milk also includes more fiber content, helping you to feel full longer. By the time you might get hungry again, you probably are asleep. My best recommendation here! Check out the website: http://net.glico.jp/almond_kouka/index.html

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You can also check out another brand called Almond Breeze, although it might a bit harder to find as it is not as widely distributed as the Glico ones. Check the post about it here: https://tokyofinder.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/almond-breeze-is-here-in-japan-too-%E3%82%A2%E3%83%BC%E3%83%A2%E3%83%B3%E3%83%89%E3%83%BB%E3%83%96%E3%83%AA%E3%83%BC%E3%82%BA-%E3%82%B9%E3%83%BC%E3%83%91%E3%83%BC%E3%83%BB%E3%83%95%E3%83%BC%E3%83%89/

2. low-sugar plain yogurt or greek yogurt. This is the food I ate the MOST OFTEN to calm my stomach down during midnight. It never failed me. My recommendation is those PLAIN yogurt WITHOUT sugar from Danone or greek yogurt from Morinaga that I recommended before in my previous posts https://tokyofinder.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/the-only-greek-yogurt-in-japan-%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E3%81%A7%E3%81%AE%E4%B8%80%E3%81%A4%E3%81%A0%E3%81%91%E3%81%AE%E3%82%AE%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B7%E3%83%A3%E3%83%A8%E3%83%BC%E3%82%B0%E3%83%AB%E3%83%88/

Try to stick with those with lowest amount of sugar possible because that it won’t mean anything that you’re trying choose a “healthy” choice like yogurt. You’ll be consuming more than 10 grams of sugar which is nothing different from eating a candy bar! Be sure to choose those with less than 50 kcal, and less than 8 grams of sugar for plain yogurt and put your own topping such as a bit of honey, almond slices, or a sprinkle of fiber cereal. Check out the 2 alternatives below. Greek yogurt is actually the perfect snack if you’re kinda “hungry” because it contains about 8 g. of protein, about 4 g. of carbs. Please note, however, that you should SKIP the syrup or honey accompanying this particular greek yogurt recommended above. That would push the calories up from 79 to about 100. I just don’t want you to add sugar during the night without needing too.

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3. cocoa with soy milk. This is easy! Just put 1-2 tablespoon of pure unsweetened cocoa (such as that of Van Houten, the most popular one in Japan) with a tablespoon of sugar (I usually use the 0-kcal sugar) and soy milk in your fridge. You can use low-fat milk, but I recommend soy milk because it has more protein and nutritious goodies in it that would leave your stomach calm and full. Plus, it tastes better! You can also opt for just soy milk.

4. a few pieces of fruits or a banana. Opt for something high in fiber. I often snack on half an apple (one apple here is huge) and a small glass of soy milk. Better yet, choose BANANA!! Why? Many studies have shown that banana is the magic sleeping pill as it has both magnesium and potassium which are natural muscle relaxants and Melatonin which is the hormone naturally released by your body when it’s your time to sleep. Thus, banana helps relax your body and makes you feel sleepy 🙂 Just watch how much you eat because you don’t want to eat too much fruits either! If you eat those with high water content, that might cause you to run to toilet in the midst of your sleep. And one large banana is about 132 kcal so watch it! I would say if you’re not too hungry have half of it, or opt for middle-sized banana. Well, not serious about that.

5. a few pieces of nuts. ALMONDS! No need to say much. Nuts fill you up while making you feel satisfied with the crunch. Have 10-12 pieces of almonds, keeping in mind it is about 8-9 kcal per almond, so you’ll be eating about 80-90 kcal. If you don’t mind waking up and spending a bit of time crunching your nuts instead of drinking them, then almonds are the best choice. On the other hand, don’t choose peanuts or peanut-butter.

6. a bowl of hot oatmeal or non-sugary cereal. Okay, so if you’re REALLY hungry? Go for a smaller version of breakfast here already. Grab a bowl, fill in with a few tablespoons of oatmeal, a few dried fruits, or you can just choose muesli (NO GRANOLA HERE PLEASE) and fill it with hot soy milk/skim milk. If you have no oatmeal, you can try sugarless or non-sweetened cereal. I like to incorporate a sprinkle of fiber cereal (which I would introduce in the future post).

7. hard boiled egg. If you’re on a diet that restricts your carb intake, I suggest you boil many eggs and keep them in your fridge ahead of time. Have one whole egg for 70 kcal without risking any sugar level fluctuation and still get all the goodies and protein. Very good snack if you can resist the sleepiness and have a will to crack the egg and all that. hahaha

Hope you now would be able to make some good choices!

Note about sugar: The reason why I emphasized about low sugar or non-sugary stuff is because the level of sugar in your blood affects your quality of sleep. If you eat high-sugary food, your body is stimulated to use up the sugar in the blood, leaving your blood sugar level low afterwards. When the sugar level is low, the body responds by releasing hormones called adrenaline and cortisol in order to raise the blood sugar to the normal level. HOWEVER, when these two “stress” hormones are released together, they have a side effect that makes your heart beat faster and your body to become alert and active. That is totally not what you want during the late night!

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-79360/Eat-way-better-sleep.html#ixzz31MJYuf3z

Tropi-coco: Japan’s own coconut water from Morinaga! : 森永のトロピココ…新たな健康流行 日本に登場!

In fact, coconut water is a health trend that started quite a long time ago in the West, but it seems that this trend is just about to boom in Japan. There are imported products that I saw before in Seijo-ishii supermarket, but now Morinaga has taken the market opportunity in its own hands and has launched its very own coconut water line called “Tropic Coco”! 

Now sold in almost every combini since its launch on April 22nd, it is a new choice for female early adapters who now have more choices than just veggies drinks or collagen drinks. With 95 kcal per box (330 ml), it boasts health benefits such as Calcium, Magnesium, and lots of other nutrients; accentuated with honey and juice; helps hydrate your body in many scenarios and lifestyles; provided with a cap ready to drink and an easy-to-grip box shape. Could be kept up to 70 days before opened. (from http://www.tropicoco.jp/product)

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Let’s see how long this trend will continue, and whether it would be the next health halo in Japan! 

Keep an eye on it Japanese girls!