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Sushi Savvy

August 8, 2012 4 comments

Oftentimes we associate sushi with healthy. It’s fish, veggies and rice—how bad could that be? It’s all about what you order and how much you eat. Make sushi night satisfying and healthy by following some basic rules.

Start the meal off right with some “great” greens. Split an order of protein-packed edamame. There’s 90 calories per half cup (in their pods). Seaweed salad is another outstanding choice with a mere 70 calories per half cup.

Go easy on the number of rolls you eat, even the healthier options can have over 350 calories. Since they are made from as much as 1 cup of rice for 6 pieces, that’s over 200 calories by itself! When available brown rice is a higher fiber better option, but still watch your portion. Try to order more sashimi or nigiri. Sashimi is simply fish, no rice and nigiri is “hand-formed” sushi on top of a small cube of rice.

Best Choices
California and veggie rolls are among the lower calorie options with about 350 calories each. Other top pick rolls are salmon-cucumber (skip the mayo), mackerel rolls and shrimp rolls. Try some nigiri options like shrimp, yellowtail, tuna and salmon, ranging from about 45-70 calories per piece. Sashimi is the low-carb option with the fewest calories at about 40 per piece of fish.

Worst Choices
Terms to watch out for:

  • Tempura= deep fried
  • Spicy= spicy sauces that are mostly made of high fat mayonnaise
  • Cream Cheese= high in artery-clogging saturated fat

Among the higher fat and calorie rolls are: shrimp tempura, dragon, spicy tuna and Philly rolls. These rolls range from 450 to over 500 calories for just 6 pieces- that’s over 80 calories per piece. Opt to steer clear of any “new-wave” mega rolls—what you’re really getting is mega amounts of cream cheese, tempura, spicy mayo and sugary brown sauce.

Beware of sodium in soy sauce. Just 1 tablespoon tops out at 1,000 mg and the “lite” version isn’t much better with 500 mg per tablespoon. Less is best!

Bottom line: sushi can be a healthy choice if you’re savvy about what you order.

What are some of your favorite healthy sushi choices?

Podcast: Gretchen Vannice, MS, RD, author of Omega-3 Handbook, A Ready Reference Guide for Health Professionals, is interviewed

In this episode, Gretchen Vannice, MS, RD, author of Omega-3 Handbook, A Ready Reference Guide for Health Professionals, is interviewed by Todd Whitthorne. A registered dietitian, Gretchen explains what types of omega-3 fatty acids are most beneficial, and how to determine the type of omega-3 in different foods. The ways our body stores and uses EPA and DHA are also explained. Gretchen also reviews the intake recommendations for omega-3 fatty acids for different populations.

Listen to the complete podcast here.