How to Order: Sushi

Sushi seems to be the go-to meal for people who want to eat “light.” The problem is that although it may feel like a light meal, ordering the wrong foods at a sushi place can set you back over 1,000 calories.

Sushi, essentially, is the perfect meal; it combines carbohydrates, healthy fat (including Omega-3), and protein. But if you order the wrong things, it can quickly turn into an unhealthy meal full of saturated fat, sodium, and too many carbohydrates.

Appetizers… to Share. 

Order an edamame for the table. This is a great protein source and you won’t overeat it if you're sharing it. A green salad to start is also a great option.

Try to avoid the miso soup. Although it is low in calories, it is full of sodium which might not actually make you fat, but you'll definitely feel that way from all the bloating it causes. 

Sushi Rolls, not Stomach Rolls. 

You don't have to ditch the rice, but always ask if a roll can be made with brown rice. This will provide you with more fiber which will help fill you up and can prevent overeating. 

You probably already know this, but tempura means anything is going to be fried. Although it might taste amazing, it is not going to benefit your health (or waistline) in any way. Avoid anything with the word crispy as well because that is just a euphemism for fried.

Any roll that has the word "spicy" in it usually means the roll has been slathered in spicy mayo. Do yourself a favor and order the regular version of the roll with spicy mayo on the side this way you can control the amount added.

Plain vegetable rolls (not including a roll with avocado) are usually lowest in calories. This is a prime example of how lower calories does not always mean healthy.

A cucumber roll provides little nutrition. With no fish (or even avocado) inside it, you miss out on protein and healthy fat that would keep you full. This roll will only provide you with carbs which won’t keep you full. If you do order this roll, I suggest ordering a side of sashimi or cooked fish to get in the protein and healthy fat. 

Special or Fancy Rolls

These rolls are usually fried or loaded with spicy mayo and other hidden fats. the best thing to do if you want a special roll is to split it with the table, or if you do order this limit your sides to keep the calories from adding up.

Hand Rolls are a great option for those who like traditional sushi rolls but don't want an excess of carbohydrates.

Sashimi might be your best option. It has all the protein and Omega 3 healthy fats minus the rice of a roll. If one roll of sushi is not enough for you, ordering sashimi is a great way to fill you up with out the excess carbohydrates. My favorite pairing is a tuna avocado roll and salmon sashimi. 

Saucy Sauces

Spicy mayo is not your friend. It is high in fat and can add 100 calories to any roll. Always ask for it on the side as opposed to pure on top of the roll. Use spicy mayo sparingly, like very sparingly. The best way to do this is to spread a thin layer on your sushi with your chopsticks instead of dipping it straight into the mayo. 

The calories in soy sauce are negligible but that doesn't mean it is a “free” food. One tablespoon of soy sauce has about half of your recommended daily sodium intake. Like the miso soup this will also make you feel bloated and heavy. Beware of the lower sodium versions, especially when eating out. You actually cannot confirm that the restaurant is actually providing low sodium soy sauce. Less sodium soy sauces still can be packed with sodium so it is best to use sparingly as you would the spicy mayo.

Nathalie Lati recently graduated from Montclair University with a degree in nutrition and food science. She is dedicated to helping people understand healthy living is not about dieting, it is about balance.