Sushi is a lot like salad. Done well, it can be a great choice for both health and diet. Done poorly, and you could’ve done better at the McDonald’s drive-thru (read Your Salad Has Double the Calories of a Big Mac). Where does it all go wrong? You guessed it, when you start adding dressings and sauces. They don’t call it “spicy mayo” to be ironic. Calories also begin to add up with the number of ingredients, so keep in mind that more expensive rolls typically results in more calorie-expensive rolls as well.
Let’s begin with what is right about your sushi plate. To start, you are generally choosing quality cuts of protein-packed fish that is loaded with unsaturated fats, which unlike your first high school boyfriend, is good for your brain and your heart! Next, wrap it in some high-fiber brown rice which will aide in digestion, as will the hot tea generally offered at any sushi restaurant. Next add immune-boosting ginger and cancer-fighting antioxidants found in wasabi. So far, so good, right? Good enough to feel totally confident about your favorite rolls? Let’s crunch the numbers and see how your favorite rolls stack up.
California Roll: This is most likely the roll that took your Sushi virginity since it contains no raw fish. With real or imitation crab meat, cucumber and avocado, it’s no surprise that it lands at 255 calories, 7 grams of fat, 5.8 grams of fiber, 38 grams of carbs, 9 grams of protein, and 6 WWP+.
Spicy Tuna Roll: This is probably your boyfriend’s favorite roll. Having 10,000 less taste buds than women is the reason why men like foods with stronger flavor. This roll is one of the lowest in carbs and fiber but one of the highest in fat (thank you, spicy mayo). Spicy Tuna Roll weighs in at 290 calories, 11 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of fiber, 26 grams of carbs, 24 grams of protein, and 7.5 WWP+.
Shrimp Tempura Roll: This is the compromise roll for your friend that isn't sushi-obsessed like the rest of us. However, that compromise they make to be part of your sushi date is probably more of a comprise than they realize. Fried shrimp can be blamed for this roll’s whopping 508 calories, 21 grams of fat, 64 grams of carbs, 4.5 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein, and 13 WWP+.
Salmon and Avocado Roll: Salmon isn’t the leanest fish in the world, and although avocado is good for you, it does pack on the calories. So, you probably won’t be shocked that this roll falls somewhere in the middle at 304 calories, 8.7 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbs, 5.8 grams of fiber, 13 grams of protein, and 7 WWP+.
Yellowtail and Scallion Roll: Of all the rolls listed, this one is the best bang for your weight-watching buck despite being very low in fiber. It has only 245 calories per roll, 2.6 grams of fat, 37 grams of carbs, 1.9 grams of fiber, 19 grams of protein, and 6 WWP+.
Eel and Avocado Roll: This popular roll hits the “sweet” spot, but the sticky sweet eel sauce is to blame for higher calories than most of the other rolls. This roll has 372 calories, 17 grams of fat, 31 grams of carbs, 5.8 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein, and 9 WWP+.
How did your favorite roll do? Are you looking to cut calories from your next sushi meal? No problem, just order sashimi instead of sushi or rolls. Janel Ovrut Funk, a Boston-based registered dietitian and blogger of EatWellWithJanel.com, reminds us that "each sushi roll has about one cup of white rice in it, which can add up to a lot of extra calories (one cup has about 200 calories) if you're eating multiple rolls.”
(Nutrition information calculated by SushiFaq.com)