Since moving to Vancouver I have enjoyed my fair share of fresh sushi. I’m not too adventurous when it comes to eating raw fish but I do enjoy the fact that there are plenty of healthy options and you can leave the restaurant feeling satisfied and not completely stuffed. The sneaky thing about sushi is that most of it looks like healthy, bite size, portions but some options can be loaded with calories, sodium and unwanted fat. Below are a few tips to help you make healthier choices next time you are out for sushi.
Choose Salmon or Tuna Sashimi
The majority of sushi rolls contain around 1 cup of white rice – that’s an extra 200 calories! You can skip these extra calories by opting for the sashimi option (small pieces of raw fish with no rice) Both salmon and tuna are low in calories – around 40 cal./piece and are high in omega 3’s, protein and Vitamin D.
Add Wasabi & Ginger
Did you know wasabi is packed with antioxidants? You don’t need much of this powerful sushi side-kick to reap it’s cancer fighting benefits. I always skip the ginger because I’m just not a fan of the taste – but if you are looking for some added nutrients to your meal you will want to pile it on! Ginger is rich in potassium, magnesium, copper, and manganese and may help to boost your immune system.
Avoid Tempura or Fried Foods
Eating vegetables or fish after dipping them in batter and deep frying them seems a little pointless no? Tempura style dishes, fried gyoza or “crunchy” rolls should be limited or avoided all together.
Ask for Brown Rice or Quinoa
I personally can only handle a couple pieces of raw fish per meal so I always like to include a few pieces of a sushi roll. To avoid the white rice I ask for brown rice or quinoa instead. Quinoa is lower in calories and carbs and higher in protein and fiber.
Avoid Mayo or Cream Cheese
The California roll seems to be a favorite for first time sushi go-er’s or those who like to stick to the basics when it comes to sushi. Besides asking for brown rice or quinoa there are a couple ways to bump up the nutritional value of this, or similar versions of this roll. Instead of a heavy, high fat, spread of mayo or cream cheese ask to replace these ingredients with fresh avocado or to eliminate the mayo/cream cheese all together.
Sub Shrimp for Imitation Crab
Another way to improve a sushi roll is to remove the imitation crab meat and replace it with shrimp. The shrimp has approximately the same amount of calories in it but has a much higher nutritional value and greater health benefits.
Use Low Sodium Soy Sauce or Tamari
Reduced sodium soy sauce typically contains 25% less sodium than the regular version so you can cut back slightly by choosing this option. Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce that contains no wheat making it gluten free so this can be a great option for those following a G-Free diet. (*some versions may contain traces of wheat so double check the bottle or ask your server) It tends to be thicker and darker in color and offers a less salty taste than regular soy sauce.
Order Soba Noodles Instead of Rice
If raw fish or rolls isn’t your thing and you prefer to stick to other menu options like stir-fries or noodle bowls try ordering your dish with Soba noodles instead of rice or thick wheat (Udon) noodles. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and are gluten free, high in fiber and rich in protein. Try out Soba noodles at home with this recipe – Citrus Salmon & Soba Noodles
What do you think of these tip? Are there any items that I missed? I hope these suggestions help you make some healthier choices next time you are out for sushi! It’s nice to be able to go out to eat and have some healthy options to choose from 🙂