Sushi is frequently touted by the health-conscious as a healthy option for dining out, but some of your favorite dishes from the local sushi restaurant may be loaded with fat and empty calories. Follow a few tips to get the most out of your sushi dining experience next time you eat out.
1. Go Sashimi
Simply put, sashimi is sushi without the rice. A cup of rice has about 200 calories, so opting for a dose of healthy omega-3s without the added calories from rice is a good idea. You can usually order any piece of sushi as a sashimi instead and have the flavor of the fish without the rice. Add a small bit of wasabi for an added kick and try a whole new way to sushi.
2. Choose Your Rice Wisely
If you really want your rice and feel like sushi just isn’t the same without it, ask for brown rice instead of the white rice traditionally served at sushi restaurants. While it may be a break from the norm, brown rice is a whole grain so it is healthier for you than white rice. Brown rice is also healthier for the planet than white rice because it goes through a simpler processing method, and using less energy and fewer synthetic nutrients makes things easier on the environment.
3. Avoid Tempura like the Plague
It’s no secret that fried food is bad for your health. The added fat and calories from oil can turn just about any dish into a diet no-no. Tempura foods are coated in batter and fried in vegetable oil, making tempura sushi no exception to the rule. Desserts like ice cream and cheesecake can be tempura too, so avoid anything on the menu which has tempura listed in the dish name or description to stay away from a large amount of empty calories while you are dining out.
4. Stick to the Bottom of the Food Chain
The lower your dish is on the food chain, the healthier it may be for you. Mercury levels in sea food never leave a fish’s body after it is ingested, so the more mercury a fish consumes the more mercury will be in that fish’s body when you eat it at your local sushi restaurant. Larger fish like swordfish that are at the top of the food chain eat smaller fish that already have mercury in their systems, and all of these meals add up in the predator’s body. If you stick to sushi dishes a little lower on the totem pole like salmon, you can reduce the amount of mercury you are ingesting. To really lower your mercury count, opt for vegetarian dishes like seaweed salad.
Knowing which foods to avoid and which to fill up on can mean the difference between a healthy meal and an unhealthy one at any restaurant. These suggestions are just a start to healthy dining; learn all of the dining tricks for your favorite restaurants to stay at your best while enjoying a meal out.