Sushi is generally a low-calorie meal compared to standard Western dinners, and the main components are all nutritious foods. Fish is a good source of lean protein and omega-3s, AKA the healthy fats I love. Many rolls contain veggies like cucumbers, carrots, and avocado (okay, I know, it’s a fruit, but it adds even more healthy fat!), and seaweed, especially nori, is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, plus calcium and iron.
Those healthy components come with a few caveats, though, and there are many places on the menu where the idea of a totally healthy meal can start to smell a little fishy. American-style sushi can have a lot of calories and carbs from all that rice, mayo-based sauces, and fried veggies or fish (or come in massive, overstuffed sizes).
THE “BAD” SUSHI LIST
Skip anything fried, which is often referred to as tempura, or “crunchy.” Avoid spicy tuna rolls, since the “spicy” sauce is filled with mayo, Philadelphia rolls, which are packed with cream cheese, and any super-sized options.
THE “GOOD” SUSHI LIST
Eat rolls that are made with just plain fish and veggies, and ask for brown rice if the place offers it. Better yet, order a cup of rice and then fill the rest of your plate with sashimi, which is just the plain fish without the rice. This way you can eat your preferred amount of rice throughout the meal. You’ll still get plenty of flavor, especially since you should pile on the wasabi and ginger. Both are filled with antioxidants.
DON’T JUST ORDER SUSHI
Supplement with other super healthy Japanese foods, like edamame, miso soup (which is great for your gut health), seaweed salad, and other salads with ginger dressing, so you don’t end up going overboard on the rolls (and the rice).
KEEP THE MERCURY LOW
If you’re eating sushi once in a blue moon this won’t be an issue, but if you’re eating it regularly, you should try to choose fish that are lower in mercury, like shrimp, scallops, eel, and salmon and avoid or go light on those that are highest, like tuna. The NRDC has a handy list of which fish in sushi has the highest and lowest levels.
The above post was originally published on Keri Gassman’s Nutritious Life Blog, but we thought it was fascinating enough to include here, too.
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