There’s a reason girls love going out for sushi. Somehow, when everything is bite-sized, we secretly believe it has zero calories. If only this were true…
The foodie in me loves sushi for a variety of reasons. Besides being high in protein, sushi has a really interesting flavor profile. It’s not every day I get to indulge in seaweed and wasabi, so I love every chance I get to eat this delectable cuisine.
I had a sushi date the other night that was pretty…interesting to say the least. I may not go out with the guy again, but I will definitely go back to the sushi spot we tried. I realize that while we may think sushi is super healthy, it’s pretty easy to go overboard. These tiny rolls have way more calories than you’d think, not to mention other factors like sodium and artificial ingredients.
How To Make Sushi Healthier with 12 Simple Tips
If you want to go out for sushi, that’s a perfectly acceptable choice and probably better than many other options. Keep these 12 fantastic tips in mind when dining:
- Try Brown Rice–Many sushi bars now offer brown rice, which is great for us healthy eaters! Brown rice has much more fiber than its white counterpart, keeping you fuller longer and on less food.
- Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce–This one’s a no brainer. Traditional soy sauce is loaded with salt, the same salt that makes you bloated and dehydrated. But did you know that overconsumption of salt can sometimes make you crave sugar? The body is constantly trying to balance itself, and might make you crave sugar when it feels like there’re too much salt. Avoid this problem by opting for a reduced-sodium soy sauce.
- Limit the ‘Special Rolls’–I usually enjoy two rolls when I indulge in sushi. I make sure that at most one of the rolls is from the specialty selection, then I pick the other from the a la carte menu. The specialty rolls tend to have more unhealthy ingredients like shrimp tempura, spicy mayo, and other special sauces that pack on unneeded calories and fat. So pick just one special roll, and save the rest for another sushi date.
- Enjoy Avocado–It’s a great source of healthy fat. Don’t go overboard, but don’t be afraid to indulge either!
- Avoid Fried/Tempura Foods–I know shrimp tempura tastes sooooo good. But chances are it’s pretty bad for you. Shrimp is usually a healthy food, but when deep fried it has a ton of saturated fat and cholesterol. Moreover, usually these meats and seafoods are fried in refined oils. Yuck!
- Add Soup and Salad–Enjoying a bowl of miso soup or salad is a great starter to any sushi meal. The salad will add some healthy veggies and fiber to your meal, and the volume of liquid from the broth based soup will satiate your appetite.
- Beware the Beloved California Roll–I used to LOVE California rolls. They were my go to order when I was at a new sushi restaurant and wasn’t sure what was good. But after going gluten-free I realized the crab meat used in these rolls is anything but crab. First of all, it’s usually not real crab meat, but ‘artificial crab meat’
whatever that means. Second, this artificial meat actually has gluten in it, which is a big no no for anyone with Celiac. Don’t order this role whether you’re GF or not; either way you’re not getting what you paid for!
- Drink Green Tea--End your meal with a cup of green tea. It has a ton of antioxidants proven to fight free radicals. It’s also a great palette cleansing drink that will curb your appetite, telling your brain the meal is over.
- Opt for Steamed Over Fried–I’ll be the first to tell you that I love sushi bar appetizers! Even though I don’t eat wheat, sometimes I do fantasize about what it’d be like to eat a dumpling
or twenty. Remember that you have the option of steaming them instead of frying.
- Try Sashimi–If you’re trying to omit the rice/carbs all together, sashimi is a great choice! Because it’s served on its own, sashimi is often the best cut of raw fish you can buy. It’s also pretty much pure protein, making it a great post work-out meal.
- Don’t Treat Sushi Like a Snack–This tip takes some time to learn and execute effectively. Because the portions are so small, it’s natural to want to eat more ‘real’ food later. Remember that sushi is supposed to be a complete meal! If you find yourself still hungry after 2 rolls, try adding lower calorie options like soup and salad to feel fuller.
- Use Those Chopsticks-–It’s not everyday that I use chopsticks. But I love to use them when eating sushi. They’re a great tool to slow down and pace yourself.
Eating sushi can make a great date night or girls night! I’d love to hear some of your tips and tricks for making it healthier. Together, we can navigate the sushi bar and make better choices!
Photo Courtesy: Wild Green and Sardines