Sushi itself is a generally healthy meal. You’ve got the lean protein from the fish, a moderate amount of carbohydrates from the rice, and nori (seaweed) is a good source of vitamins. Accompaniments of cucumber and avocado only increase the nutritional value of sushi.
And in rolls (no pun intended) America’s version of sushi: behold the cream cheese-filled, tempura-fried, mayo-slathered special sushi roll in all its glory. This is where sushi has lost every ounce of its integrity. Although it may be deliciously caloric and comforting, this sushi has really strayed from its roots.
Here’s what you can order at almost any restaurant to make sure you are not clogging your arteries and shaving five years off of your precious life under the guise of appreciation for Japanese culture.
1. Beware of tempura-fried anything
While tempura is often lighter than some forms of deep frying, it’s still fried, and ultimately not too great for you. If you’ve got to have some tempura in your system, look for the option that has just one fried ingredient in it.
2. Avoid the Philadelphia roll
A popular sushi order, the Philadelphia roll usually consists of smoked salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese. Cream cheese here adds unnecessary calories and fat,and is a prime example of an Americanized sushi roll. If you’re looking to get your salmon fix, try a salmon and avocado roll, a salmon roll, or salmon nigiri.
3. Watch your mayo
You know that slightly spicy orange sauce that is artfully drizzled across the top of your spicy super tuna avocado crunch roll? Most likely mayonnaise. Although the spicy kick provides a wide range of flavors, it also brings with it a hefty punch of calories. If you’re worried, ask for a little less sauce or none at all. Most restaurants will be happy to comply.
4. Skip the sush for some sashimi
For the carb-conscious avoiding rice, sashimi is your calling. Fresh, thinly sliced fish, and completely unadulterated by rice or wasabi. Sashimi allows you to truly appreciate the quality of the raw fish you’re consuming.
5. Reconsider the expensive fancy toppings
A combination of everything listed above, toppings on sushi rolls can really take your healthy meal down the drain. It may look elaborate and beautiful, but recognize that fancy drizzle and deep fried crunch packs fat and deceptive calories onto an otherwise healthy meal.
The most important thing to remember for a health-conscious sushi order is moderation. A little tempura won’t kill you, but don’t gorge yourself on every deep-fried, mayo-drenched sushi roll on the menu.
Need more sushi in your life? Check out these articles: