Kids easily get bored of eating the same meals. Try these kid friendly Japanese food your children will absolutely love!
Japanese food is supposed to be the most nutrient rich and healthiest food on the planet. It’s also very tasty! If you’re visiting Japan or moving there with your children, you’re probably wondering how they are going to adapt and like the food.
One of the things children must definitely experience through travel or moving to a new place is the food there. So set your worries aside, cos there are plenty of kid friendly Japanese food.
I’ve listed a few here, so you’re not constantly in search of a McDonald’s or a continental grocer.
Check out the best kid friendly Japanese food that you must definitely make your children try!
Yummy Japanese Food For Kids
The first dish on our list of kid friendly Japanese food is the Miso soup!
This is one of those traditional dishes that you will see all Japanese children eating. Miso is so healthy and light that quite often it is eaten first thing in the morning for breakfast. The soup is the tastiest blend of soybeans and koji.
This comes in the form of a paste (Called miso paste), which is then mixed with tofu and scallions in a hot broth. You can add veggies and seaweed to up the nutrition levels.
Did you know that miso soup is a wonderful probiotic, apart from being a rich source of proteins, antioxidants and vitamins? This is one dish that can strengthen your child’s immune system, protect them against diseases, keep their gut healthy and their skin and hairy glossy and shiny!
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Curry and Rice
The next dish in our list of kid friendly Japanese food is curry and rice!
There’s nothing simpler and more appealing than a dish of curry and rice. This seems to be a favourite with children across the world, especially during travel, as it’s very versatile.
You can adjust the spices to your liking, add whatever vegetables you want and eat it with or minus the meat. It’s also a dish that is easy to find when you’re traveling across Japan.
Depending on what the curry contains, this dish can be very healthy and nutritious. The only problem is this can get a bit messy when toddlers are allowed to eat by themselves. Another alternative is to simply serve plain rice with some crunchy veggies if that’s what your child prefers.
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The next one in this list of kid friendly Japanese food is Gyoza!
This is more Chinese than Japanese but with a lot of influence from the former, you will find Gyozas across restaurants in Japan. Derived from the Chinese Jiaozi, these are dumplings that are filled with meat and herbs, wrapped in a pastry and pan-fried.
They are very tasty and carry the goodness of all the ingredients. The filling can be very hot if you bite into them as soon as they are served, so make sure to let them cool for a while before digging in.
If your children are very young, you can break up the gyozas to help them cool quicker. These dumplings are served with dipping sauces, but they taste good by themselves. Whether your children want to eat them with the sauces depends on how much they like to explore.
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The next kid friendly Japanese food we’re going to talk about is, my favorite, tempura!
Battered and deep fried chicken, fish, shrimp and veggies are something you can never go wrong with. Feed these to your kids as a snack when you’re on the go or as a side when you’re sitting down for a meal.
Since they are deep fried, they do contain some amount of fat. However, when compared to Western deep fried dishes, tempura is healthier as the batter is very thin and it is lightly deep fried. This crunchy Japanese dish is a great way to get your kids to eat some protein easily.
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This is probably the healthiest kid friendly Japanese food to give your kid!
The sweetish taste of the young soy beans mixed with the slightly salty taste from the water it is blanched in, is so appealing as a snack! Always carry a box of blanched edamame for your kids to munch on when you’re traveling, to keep their focus away from chips and cookies.
It has plenty of fiber and can keep them full for long hours. Edamame is also quite customizable, so you can add your kid’s favorite seasoning on it. Maybe even carry a dip if they like it that way. If cooking these at home is not really possible, almost every restaurant in Japan serves a side of edamame.
The next kid friendly Japanese food is loved by everybody! – onigiri!
You can have so much fun with onigiris! These are soft Japanese rice balls that you can stuff with various fillings and wrap it up in some nori seaweed. Kind of like sushi, but different. Traditionally they come in triangular or cylindrical shapes.
My favourite stuffing is some spicy tuna and fresh cucumber, with a dash of creamy mayo. Children love onigiri because they can be shaped into so many fun shapes. The easiest are geometrical shapes, of course, but you can get creative and try shaping them into your kid’s various superheroes!
I’m sure that will earn you plenty of brownie points with your little one. Some of the best fillings for onigiri are grilled salmon, tuna, cod roe and vegetables. You can make this as healthy as you can depending on what you put into it.
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Our next food on this list of kid friendly Japanese food is teriyaki chicken!
Just the thought of anything Teriyaki makes my mouth water. This is a fantastic Japanese dish for your kids too, because it’s absolutely heavenly, and easily pairs with rice, in a sandwich, or can be eaten by itself.
Teriyaki sauce contains soy, garlic, ginger, onions and other spices, along with a dash of brown sugar to even out the taste. This is coated on chicken and veggies. You can easily make this at home by barbecuing the meat or conveniently pick it up at a restaurant.
While the sauce by itself may not be very healthy, remember it’s only coating the meat and veggies from which your kids get their nutrition.
I love this next kid friendly Japanese food we’re listing – Tamago Sushi! YUM!
Tamago sushi is a great way to introduce your child to the much loved Japanese dish, sushi. This is basically egg, prepared like an omelette but sweetened. It has a rich, custard-y texture.
It is then sliced into rectangles and wrapped together with sticky rice in a Nori seaweed.
This is food that is rich in protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals. The dish has some seriously complex flavours but is very enjoyable.
While the adults munch on some lip smacking sushi rolls, your kids can be treated to some delicious tamago sushi. If your child is too young, you can cut up each roll into bite sized pieces for convenience.
Of course this dish had to make the ‘kid friendly Japanese food’ list!
You’re in Japan, so why not the real deal?! If you aren’t Japanese, it might have taken you some time to develop a liking for this popular dish, but children can surprise you. If you’re wary of feeding your kids raw fish, start them off with vegetables and cooked meat stuffing.
I would personally stay away from the wasabi, but if your kids are adventurous, there is no harm in introducing them to it. If they like sushi, your life in Japan will be very easy cos this is a dish you can get wherever you go.
It is also very healthy as it is packed with the nutrition and energy from rice, the seaweed and the veggies and fish you use.
Though not a dish by itself, bento boxes are super fun, especially for older kids. It is also very convenient for adults cos you can customise it the way you like. Bento boxes are basically an assortment of foods that you can mix and match, and you can make them as nutritious as you like. You put together a main dish of carbs, like rice or noodles.
Pair them with proteins that your kid likes, choosing between chicken, eggs, any kind of meat or fish. Add cooked or blanched and seasoned vegetables to add in the vitamins and make it a balanced meal. Children also get a variety of foods, each of which contributes to good health.
If you’re wondering how to put this together when you’re traveling, don’t worry, most convenience stores in Japan carry bento boxes that you can purchase. They are even available in railway stations.
My all time favorite kid friendly Japanese food is hands down Udon noodles!
I’ve yet to come across a kid who doesn’t like noodles. Well, show me an adult who doesn’t like noodles. I, for one, love noodles and so do all the children I’ve met. Udon is a dish with thick noodles.
The noodles are chewy, which is very enjoyable. These noodles are made of wheat. Now, I do agree that this isn’t quite the healthiest dish, but once in a while it’s nice to have something simply for pleasure.
Udon is served in a hot broth of vegetables and meat. Be careful to cool it down first before giving your child otherwise it could cause serious burns.
Since it comes loaded with meat, it’s a good way to get protein into your child’s diet. You could also add some greens and other veggies to encourage them to eat their veggies. For toddlers who like to eat by themselves, the noodles can be served separately without the broth.
Cut them up so they are easy for the babies to pick them up off their plate and direct them into the mouth.
Oyakodon is a traditional Japanese dish that translates to “parent and child bowl” in English.
It is called so because it includes both chicken (the parent) and eggs (the child).
The dish is typically made by simmering thinly sliced chicken, beaten eggs, and onions in a flavorful broth or sauce made from soy sauce, mirin (a sweet rice wine), and dashi (a Japanese soup stock).
Oyakodon is generally considered to be a wholesome and balanced meal. It provides protein from the chicken and eggs, along with essential nutrients and vitamins. The onions add flavor and texture to the dish.
Additionally, Oyakodon is commonly served over a bed of steamed rice, which provides carbohydrates for energy.
When it comes to serving Oyakodon to kids, it’s important to take into account their specific dietary needs and preferences.
If the child is not allergic to chicken or eggs and has no restrictions on their consumption, then Oyakodon can be a suitable dish for them. It’s a good idea to ensure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the eggs are properly cooked to avoid any potential health risks.
If there are concerns about the sodium content in the sauce or broth, it is possible to adjust the recipe by reducing the amount of soy sauce or using low-sodium options.
Similarly, if the child is a picky eater or has a preference for milder flavors, you can adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Overall, Oyakodon can be a nutritious and tasty option for children, but it’s always advisable to consider any specific dietary needs, allergies, or preferences that a child may have before serving the dish.
Natto, a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans, is not always considered kid-friendly due to its distinct taste and texture.
It has a sticky and slimy texture. The flavor of natto is also unique which means this can go either way – your kid may LOVE it or hate it!
That being said, some children do enjoy natto, and it can be a nutritious food choice. Natto is rich in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. It is often served with rice and other toppings such as soy sauce, mustard, and green onions to enhance the flavor.
If you want to introduce natto to your child, it’s a good idea to start with small servings and observe their reaction.
Some children may take to it, while others may find it unappealing. You could also try different preparations, such as mixing it with other ingredients or incorporating it into a dish like sushi or a stir-fry, to make it more palatable for kids.
Ultimately, whether natto is kid-friendly or not depends on the individual child’s taste preferences. It’s always a good idea to introduce new foods gradually and respect their likes and dislikes.
Anpan (Sweet red bean Bread)
Anpan is a popular Japanese sweet bread filled with sweet red bean paste called “anko.” It is a common snack or dessert in Japan and is enjoyed by people of all ages, including children.
Anpan is generally considered to be a kid-friendly treat. The soft and slightly sweet bread, combined with the sweet filling, can be appealing to children’s taste buds.
Anko, the red bean paste filling, is made from cooked and sweetened azuki beans and is a common ingredient in many Japanese sweets.
However, as with any food, it’s important to consider any dietary restrictions, preferences, or allergies that a child may have.
Anpan typically contains wheat flour, sugar, and butter or vegetable oil, so if a child has allergies or sensitivities to any of these ingredients, it’s essential to find suitable alternatives or opt for a different snack option.
Overall, Anpan can be a delicious and enjoyable treat for kids, especially those who have a liking for sweet flavors. It’s always a good idea to provide a varied and balanced diet, and Anpan can be enjoyed as an occasional indulgence within a well-rounded meal plan.
Tamagoyaki is a traditional Japanese rolled omelette made by cooking layers of beaten eggs in a rectangular pan.
It is a popular dish in Japan and is commonly eaten as a breakfast food, served with soy sauce or other condiments.
Tamagoyaki is generally considered to be a kid-friendly food. It has a mild and slightly sweet taste, which can be appealing to children. The texture is soft and fluffy, making it easy to chew and swallow.
Eggs, the main ingredient in tamagoyaki, are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, which are beneficial for growing children.
However, it’s important to be aware of any egg allergies or dietary restrictions that a child may have. If a child is allergic to eggs or has been advised to avoid them, tamagoyaki would not be suitable for them.
Tamagoyaki can be enjoyed as part of a balanced meal. It can be served alongside rice, vegetables, or other side dishes to make a more complete and nutritious meal for kids.
As always, it’s important to consider a child’s overall dietary needs and preferences while incorporating tamagoyaki or any other food into their diet.
Japanese Food For Kids: FAQs
What food do they eat in Japan for kids?
Japanese kids commonly consume a variety of foods, including rice, noodles, vegetables, fish, tofu, eggs, fruits, and dairy products. Traditional Japanese dishes like sushi, tempura, miso soup, and grilled fish are often enjoyed by kids as well. Western-style fast food and snacks have also become popular among children in recent years.
What do Japanese kids eat at school?
In Japanese schools, children are typically provided with a nutritionally balanced school lunch known as “kyushoku.” These meals often include rice, a main dish (which can be fish, meat, or a vegetarian option), a side dish (such as vegetables or pickles), soup, and milk. The specific menu varies from school to school, but the aim is to offer a healthy and well-rounded meal.
What do Japanese kids pack for lunch?
While many Japanese children eat the school-provided lunches, some children bring their own packed lunches known as “bento.” Bento boxes are usually filled with a combination of rice, protein (such as grilled chicken or fish), cooked vegetables, pickles, and sometimes a small dessert. The contents of the bento box can vary depending on personal preferences and dietary restrictions.
What do Japanese kids have for breakfast?
Japanese breakfast often consists of a combination of rice, miso soup, grilled fish, pickles, nori (seaweed), and natto (fermented soybeans). Other options include tamagoyaki (rolled omelette), tofu, salad, and bread. However, due to changing lifestyles, some Japanese families now opt for quicker breakfast options like cereal, toast, or yogurt.
Do Japanese kids eat cereal?
Cereal is not traditionally a common breakfast option in Japan, but it has become more popular in recent years, particularly among children who are influenced by Western food culture. Many Japanese supermarkets now offer a variety of cereal options, including both imported and locally produced brands.
What do Japanese kids eat in a day?
The food intake of Japanese kids varies, but a typical day might include rice or noodles with vegetables and protein for breakfast, a school-provided or packed lunch consisting of rice, protein, vegetables, and soup, and a dinner with a similar composition. Snacks between meals can include fruits, yogurt, rice crackers, or other traditional Japanese snacks.