While hitting up your fave sushi bar can be v enjoyable, it's also low-key overwhelming. Salmon or tuna? White rice or brown? To keep your meal healthy, you have to order strategically—and we're here to help.
In our latest installment of You Versus Food, Well+Good's video series on all things nutrition, registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman shares her healthy take on the best sushi order. Read this, bookmark this, and then definitely text your friend about getting sushi for dinner tonight. Because if this doesn't make you hungry, I don't know what will.
The best sushi appetizers
"Before you even touch your sushi roll, I recommend starting strong with some apps," Beckerman says. Here are her favorites:
1. Edamame. Beckerman says this filling option is low in fat, high in fiber, and contains all nine essential amino acids (a bonus if you're on a plant-based diet). Thanks to edamame's tough outer pod, Beckerman says eating this dish also helps you slow down a little bit while munching—which can be "a peaceful and calming way to kick off the meal."
2. Miso soup. Beckerman also recommends miso soup as part of your sushi order. The tofu and seaweed it contains add more antioxidants and nutrients to your meal, she says. (FYI: The broth can be a bit high in sodium, so have a smaller portion if you're sensitive to salt.)
3. Seaweed or house salad. Both will give you a hearty does of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C, Beckerman says. If you opt for the seaweed, it's full of iodine which is good for thyroid health, and the dressing is usually made with vinegar which aids in blood sugar regulation. If the house salad is more your jam, she recommends saving some of the carrot-ginger dressing for your sushi.
The best healthy sushi order
When Beckerman rolls up for sushi (sorry, I had to), she goes for a classic: a salmon, avocado, and cucumber roll made with brown rice. Why? Salmon may be "basic" (her words, not mine!) but Beckerman says that it's unmatched in terms of its omega-3 fatty acid content (great for your skin, brain, and blood flow) and is high in vitamin D. (if you're not into salmon, Beckerman says arctic char is your next best bet.) Avocado of course gives another dose of heart-healthy fats, while cucumber adds some crunch and hydration. As for the brown rice, it won't mess with your blood sugar levels as much and adds more B vitamins, fiber, and magnesium to your roll.
Other sushi orders she says are worth trying: sashimi, which is just raw fish (great for protein!); seaweed-only rolls, which lower in carbs and calories because there's no rice); naruto rolls, which replace rice and seaweed with antioxidant-rich cucumber.
Her one thing to avoid altogether: crab. Beckermann says the crab in sushi is mostly imitation crab, which doesn't have the health benefits of real crab. (So why even bother?)
The do's and don't-go-overboard's of sushi accessorizing
1. Don't-go-overboard: Soy sauce. Beckerman says it's best to stick with low-sodium soy sauce, and even then, use it sparingly. She says just one tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce packs in 25 percent of your recommended daily allowance of 2000 milligrams. .
2: Do: Ginger. Ginger has medicinal, disease-fighting, and stomach-soothing properties. And the ginger that comes with your sushi is likely pickled, which means it also comes with some probiotics.
3. Don't-go-overboard: Spicy mayo. Spicy mayo can sneak in lots of added fat and calories, so when you're craving that spicy tuna roll, Beckerman says to be sure to get your mayo on the side so you can better control your intake.
4. Do: Wasabi. Beckerman says that wasabi contains antioxidants and has antimicrobials that can wipe away germs while adding flavor without extra salt or sugar.
5.Don't-go-overboard: Tempura flakes. Because the little crunchy bits are fried, they contain saturated fat that can stress out your body. You can either get your crunch on the side, or swap them for sesame seeds.
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