Sushi Restaurants Unwrapped

Sushi is taking the nation by storm it seems, there are at least six sushi restaurants within just a five mile radius of my house. It is no wonder why it is so popular, sushi tastes delicious! Many of the basic Japanese food meal components are low fat and healthy, however America’s need to super-size the portions and deep fry has creeped it’s way into most Japanese restaurants. Here are some pointers to remember the next time you are dining out at a sushi style establishment…

Don’t Blow it with Appetizers: Look for lower calorie starter selections like a bowl of edamame or some ahi in place of tempura vegetables or tempura fish with sauce. There is usually a house or side salad option with fresh vegetables that could work well as an appetizer in place of the extra salty miso soup that is usually brought to the table.

Watch the Sodium: This is a common issue I encounter with sushi-even if your meal stayed within your calorie budget for the day, the next morning the scale shows that you have gained a few pounds! And along with the extra scale weight comes some bloating that causes your rings and pants to feel tighter. What you have got is a bad case of water weight retention, stemming from excess sodium intake. Recommended sodium intake is 1500-2300 mg a day (that looks like 2/3 – 1 teaspoon of table salt)and you can easily hit double that by the amount of soy sauce and extra here and there sprinkles of salt on your rice and fish selections. If you are planning on going out for sushi, I would suggest making sure that all your other meals for the day are home made and from nature not from a can, since you will probably hit close to your day’s total for sodium in just one sushi outing! Also available now at most restaurants are low sodium soy sauce bottles which can help lighten the salt load.

Look for Freshness: Japanese restaurants are known for delicious raw fish and fresh vegetable selections. Be sure you order meals components steamed or grilled not deep-fried tempura!

Portion Control: It is very easy to overeat at sushi spots, each piece of the roll can be devoured so fast that it can leave you wanting more before your stomach registers it’s satiety level. For the most part one roll (six individual pieces of sushi)composed of steamed rice, vegetables or raw fish averages around 200-300 calories. When you start adding in combinations of sushi stuffings like cream cheese, spicy mayo, etc. the count starts moving upwards of 500 calories. If you want to try a few different types of rolls try ordering a few different types with your meal guests and sharing them all and don’t be afraid to leave some on the plate if you are full and take them home!

Jessica Hummel, Nutrition Counselor