K-pop diets: How Blackpink’s Jennie, BTS’ V, and IU stay in shape

Choi Ha Rin, South China Morning Post

Posted at Apr 07 2021 09:46 PM | Updated as of Apr 07 2021 10:45 PM

During a live-stream on Naver, V shared his “special” food habit – not stressing while eating. He suggested just enjoying the experience and said thinking happy thoughts while eating would help you not to gain weight.

This seems a little like nonsense, so perhaps his real secret was revealed during the same live-stream, when he reminded viewers that they should make exercise one of their hobbies. He even suggested that playing video games can count as exercise.

IU’s “healthy” diet tips and tricks

If you’re reading this article, you may well have already heard of IU’s unusual eating habits, including the “IU diet challenge”. It was a fairly extreme diet, allowing only one apple for breakfast, two sweet potatoes for lunch and a protein shake for dinner.

However, during her recent appearance in You Quiz on the Block, she admitted her earlier diet was too extreme and said that she had now quit the routine. She added that she could only do it during her early twenties and discouraged anyone from attempting to copy her.

She also talked about her eating disorder in Healing Camp, Aren’t You Happy in 2014, a turning point which helped her start taking care of her mental and physical health by keeping a diary. She said she could deal with her eating disorder much better after seeking treatment and learning to follow simple guides including eating after working out and enjoying good quality meals each day.

Apart from her healthier food habits, IU has also started doing yoga. During her appearance in Hyori’s Homestay, she demonstrated better eating habits such as chewing her food slowly and also discussed her passion for yoga with Lee Hyori. It seems she has been practising hard, as we saw IU doing an impressive Salamba headstand pose on Knowing Bros.

Bae Suzy enjoys a high-protein, low-carb diet

Bae Suzy is said to be one of the healthiest of K-pop idols thanks to her high-protein, low-carb food routine. It clearly works, too, as her trim back-to-office looks in the recent hit series Start-Up have inspired many followers.


In one of the episodes from Follow Me, it was disclosed that Suzy eats chicken breast, sweet potato and a cup of low-fat milk for breakfast; brown rice and salad for lunch; and two sweet potatoes for dinner. All together this makes around 1,000 calories.

It’s also quite balanced: the chicken breast fulfils the need for protein, while sweet potatoes and brown rice add carbohydrates and help us feel full. She said she also goes through extreme diets if “necessary” – perhaps only consuming one chicken breast, a sweet potato and a cup of low-fat milk all day – but stressed that meeting our daily nutritional needs means consuming a balance of foods.

To avoid getting bored while exercising, Suzy starts with something aerobic: jogging. She said hula-hooping also helps. And most famously – and adorably – she showed her own move she called a “penguin exercise” or “penguin dance”. During her appearance on SBS’ One Night with TV Entertainment in 2012, she said she lost weight by imitating a penguin flapping its wings. She stated “people will look and say ‘what are they doing’, but this actually is a good workout. The more you do this work out, the more you will feel your arms becoming skinnier.”

Blackpink's Jennie avoids all salt

We all know salt is a really important ingredient when we cook – but for your health it’s important not to use too much. In an interview with Cosmopolitan Korea, Jennie revealed that she has become stricter with her diet, saying, “Even when other Blackpink members are eating something delicious, I just eat porridge since I’m on a no-salt diet.”

She added she tends to swell when she eats a lot of salty food, which motivated her to try this no-salt approach. Often Jennie has avocado salad for lunch, and porridge and a detox juice for dinner.

Apart from her special food habits, the singer – widely rumoured to be dating BigBang rapper G-Dragon – also enjoys cardio workouts to keep fit. On an SBS’ Power FM radio show, Jennie said she is fond of Pilates, doing it regularly in the morning – right before her healthy breakfast.

Of course, it is already well-known among Blinks that both Jisoo and Jennie have been into flying yoga since 2017. Perhaps this too has helped Jennie achieve her fit and healthy look with broad shoulders, a thin waist and strong legs.