Eat This, Not That! for Sushi

Sixty years ago, finding sushi for sale in most areas of the USA was about as likely as finding an alien spaceship in front of the local high school.

Eat This, Not That! for Sushi

Eat This, Not That! for Sushi

Sixty years ago, finding sushi for sale in most areas of the USA was about as likely as finding an alien spaceship in front of the local high school.

Today, however, you can find it in just about any strip mall or supermarket. While reams of scientific studies continue to show that fish is an incredible source of heart-strengthening, inflammation-reducing, brain-boosting, life-lengthening nutrients—especially when it’s unadorned by glazes, sauces, or breading—ordering just any sushi roll won’t ensure you’re eating well or aiding your weight loss efforts. Some rolls come laced with mayo and cream cheese, and not all the meat is real, so it offers little nutritional benefits.

Check out the sushi roll nutrition breakdowns below—listed from most to least caloric—to learn which ones are worth choosing and which are secretly diet destroyers.

Not That!

Shrimp Tempura Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 508
Fat 21 g
Carbs 64 g
Fiber 4.5 g
Protein 20 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, shrimp, tempura batter, oil for frying

Why take a perfectly good piece of lean shrimp and ruin it with thick batter and a hot oil bath? The joy of fried food—the crunch—is snuffed out by the moist rice, so this one doesn’t make sense from either a flavor or nutritional perspective. If you want to lose weight and keep artery-clogging fat off your plate, steer clear of this menu item.

Eat This!

Rainbow Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 476
Fat 16 g
Carbs 50 g
Fiber 6 g
Protein 33 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, avocado, surimi, plus a variety of raw fish arranged on top

Sure, this roll is higher in calories than most, but it’s loaded with substantial portions of raw fish, so most of those calories are the good kind. For a superior Rainbow Roll, ask the sushi chef to make it with real crab. They may charge a bit more, but the flavor punch and extra flab-frying protein make it a worthy upgrade. Looking to slim down? Pair this roll with an order of steamed edamame and call it a day. A second roll would push you far beyond the reasonable amount of calories for a single meal.

Not That!

Eel and Avocado Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 372
Fat 17 g
Carbs 31 g
Fiber 6 g
Protein 20 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, avocado, eel

Eel brings a solid helping of omega-3s to the sushi bar, but unfortunately, it’s almost always covered in a gloppy, sugary brown sauce that masks both the nutrition and the delicate natural flavor of this wily sea creature. If you opt for this roll, make it your only one of the night.

Eat This!

Salmon and Avocado Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 304
Fat 8.5 g
Carbs 42 g
Fiber 6 g
Protein 13 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, salmon, avocado

Sure, it’s high in calories, but nearly all of them come from the one-two punch of healthy fats found in both the salmon and avocado—a fruit that can help lower blood pressure, banish bloat, quell hunger pangs and fry stubborn belly fat.

Not That!

Philadelphia Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 290
Fat 12 g
Carbs 28 g
Fiber 2 g
Protein 14 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, salmon, cream cheese, cucumber

The cream cheese blankets the perfectly fine cucumber and omega-3-packed salmon with an unnecessary measure of fat. This roll isn’t your best bet if you’re looking to lose weight, but if you decide to indulge, order it with a miso soup and call it a night. Opting for another fat-laden roll or calorie-packed appetizer isn’t in your best interest.

Not That!

Spicy Tuna Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 290
Fat 11 g
Carbs 26 g
Fiber 3.5 g
Protein 24 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, tuna, mayo, chili sauce

In the world of sushi, “spicy” means a spoonful of mayo spiked with an Asian chili sauce. The calorie counts can climb higher than this, depending on how heavy a hand the sushi chef has with the spicy stuff. Either way, you’re better off ordering a plain tuna roll and satisfying your need for heat with a touch of wasabi or asking for the spicy sauce on the side

Eat This!

California Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 255
Fat 7 g
Carbs 38 g
Fiber 6 g
Protein 9 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, avocado, surimi

The ubiquitous fusion roll is a great beginner’s foray into the world of sushi since there’s no raw fish involved. There are also no real healthy fats, either—aside from the avocado, of course—since the fake crab (made from a variety of processed and compressed fish) has just a fraction of omega-3s as the real stuff. To make this roll more worth your while, ask for real crab instead.

Eat This!

Tuna Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 184
Fat 2 g
Carbs 27 g
Fiber 3.5 g
Protein 24 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, tuna

More than half of the calories in this simple, classic roll come from protein, making it a great light meal or a snack with substance. Plus, tuna is a primo source of docosahexaenoic acid, an type of omega-3 fat found in oily fish that can down-regulate fat genes in the abdomen, preventing belly fat cells from growing larger. Sounds like a good reason to place an order of the Japanese staple to us!

Eat This!

Avocado Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 140
Fat 5.5 g
Carbs 28 g
Fiber 6 g
Protein 2 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, avocado

Most of the calories in this vegetarian roll come from the healthy monounsaturated fats in the avocado—one of our favorite fat-frying superfruits. An avocado provides nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients essential for healthy weight management, including satiating fiber and vitamin K, a nutrient that helps regulate sugar metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

Eat This!

Cucumber Roll, one 6-8 piece roll

Calories 136
Fat 0 g
Carbs 30 g
Fiber 3.5 g
Protein 6 g

Ingredients: Nori, rice, cucumber

It’s hard to go wrong with cucumbers and seaweed. Though not a nutritional powerhouse, cucumbers are a low-calorie delivery system for vitamins A and C, fiber and silica, a compound that has been shown to foster healthy skin. Get this roll along with an order of yakitori—skewers of grilled lean meats and veggies—for a complete, nutritious meal.