The first thing many ask about Japanese or Sushi cuisine is, “what about all the rice?” Yes, Japanese food is typically served with rice. But, not all traditional Japanese food includes rice.
So, no need to worry about those extra carbohydrates. I will review the best and worst health choices for when dining out at Japanese restaurants.
- Tempura and Katsu: Means breaded or battered and fried.
- Condiments and sauces on sushi: Sushi with cream cheese and sriracha chili sauce mixed with kewpie mayo (the standard spicy mayo sauce) can increase the calories.
- Other sauces: Soy sauce, brown sauces, and miso all contain high sodium, so if you are following a low sodium diet, ask for these sauces on the side.
- Fried Rice: Thousands of calories. Think of all the surface area the grains of rice allow the oil and butter to soak in to.
- Kimchi: Can be found at some Japanese restaurants (is a Korean dish), but is high sodium at over 1000 mg of sodium per cup!
- Rice balls and fried rice balls
- Bento Boxes: Are easy and convenient. But, eat only half the rice they give you, and do not choose any fried items.
Choose This Instead
- Grilled seafood or poultry: Most other fish-based dishes are also a great choice unless they specifically say they are deep fried. Another example is yakitori which is a skewer of grilled chicken.
- Teriyaki: Most dishes are a lighter option.
- Gyoza: Another name for potstickers. Make sure these are steamed.
- Traditional seaweed or ginger salad.
- Sunomono: Seaweed and seafood salad with a vinaigrette dressing.
- Ohitashi: A simple spinach dish.
- California roll: The simple classic is usually about 200 calories or less!
- Nigiri sushi: Only 30 to 70 calories per piece depending on the type of fish or seafood.
- Edamame: Contains plenty of filling fiber, and is a lower calorie item.
- Soba and Udon Noodles: You may find a variety of dishes with these noodles. Most are lower calorie options.
- Green Tea
I always get confused when I see words I am not familiar with on the menu. So, it can be hard to know when something is high calorie or not. When in doubt, just ask how it is prepared.