Sushi Lessons: Eating Healthy With Sushi

ic: Cucumber Roll

While Sundays were once for pot roasts and pizza, many people have been searching for healthier options for that family meal. More and more Americans are discovering sushi for their Sunday supper since when it’s done right it’s incredibly healthy. The key is to keep it simple and not mask it with ingredients that add a bunch of sugar and carbs.

I always recommend starting your meal with a seaweed salad or edamame. Both have simple, clean flavors that get your palate going, and they are also very healthy. After opening up with either of those choices (or both) I say go raw! Sashimi is by far the healthiest sushi you can order. It’s straight protein. Salmon and tuna offer important Omega 3 fatty acids. Most Sashimi assortments will include both of those options in addition to a white fish. Having an assortment will help you feel full and avoid the temptation to overeat.

If you don’t wish to sacrifice your rice, Nigiri is your next best bet. A good sushi chef will keep the fish to rice ratio 2:1, and you can always ask for light rice if you want less. Again, an assortment will help you fill up. If you like soy, I recommend that you ask the sushi chef dress your Nigiri with soy for you. If you dip your Nigiri in soy on your own, the rice will absorb more than you really need. Between pieces, cleanse your pallet with ginger and wasabi. Not only will this help each item taste better, it will also help trick your body into thinking you’re eating more than you really are.

If you wish to indulge in a sushi roll, there are healthy options. Go for the Rainbow roll. You’ll have a variety of protein on top of the popular California roll. If you want to omit the rice all together, order a cucumber or rice paper wrapped roll. I would highly suggest a Temaki - a hand roll prepared to look like an ice cream cone with seaweed on the outside! Ultimately, browse the menu and choose the “cleanest” roll possible.

ic: Poke Bowl From Poke Hale

What if you’re a health nut on the run (like me) and don’t have time to dine in? Grab a poke bowl! Poke bowls typically consist of white rice, diced fish, and fresh vegetables. One of my favorite poke spots here in the valley is Poke Hale in Gilbert. They represent traditional Hawaiian poke for Arizona. Chef and owner Kevin Min does a marvelous job. Their fish is noticeably fresh, and their service is super friendly. On days when you’re not feeling fishy, they offer a Bulgogi bowl – a Korean bowl made with beef.

Another key to eating a healthy sushi meal is to learn how to use chopsticks. If you’re cheating with a fork, you’re bound to eat quickly. Chopsticks force you to slow down and eat more delicately. Slower eating helps your body feel full on less food. Once you become skilled at it, you’ll eat every meal using chopsticks.

Just as with everything else, it's important consider moderation with your sushi meal. This pertains to the entire meal, but specifically to sauces. Soy sauce, eel sauce, and spicy mayo should not be used in excess. Personally, I’m guilty of overusing peanut sauce (sorry, not sorry).

Lastly, if you desire to end the meal in sweet bliss, try Tamago! Tamago is Japanese sweet egg. You might have ended your dinner with Unagi Nigiri in the past. However, Tamago is the improved option as you’ll get more protein from the egg versus fatty eel.

You can easily add sushi to your healthy meal rotation, and with a little instruction you won’t even need to eat out to enjoy it. Let me demonstrate the health benefits of sushi one on one. I’ll teach you how to make the best choices for your health, and you’ll also learn how to prepare those dishes right in your own home. Make a change, book today!


Chef Mallory Soule

Sushi Chef

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