Fortunately, sushi isn’t a really fattening food, and if you have a desire for sushi, a low-calorie meal is not that hard to accomplish.
While sushi rice contains a good amount of carbohydrates, sushi can be consumed without rice (this is called sashimi), and even a standard sushi item can be a healthy treat without breaking the calorie bank.
In this section, we emphasize the calories in sushi and the nutritional values you are likely to find in your sushi dining adventures for common sushi rolls.
We have gathered data about nigiri sushi (finger sushi), maki sushi (rolls), sashimi, side items you may find in a Japanese restaurant, and even products frequently found in grocery stores such as Whole Foods.
We hope this data will assist you in making informed choices.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Calorie counts for the most popular Sushi Rolls
- 1.1 Shrimp Tempura Roll (508 calories)
- 1.2 Rainbow Roll (476 calories)
- 1.3 Eel Avocado Roll (372 calories)
- 1.4 Caterpillar Roll (329 calories)
- 1.5 Philadelphia Roll (320 calories)
- 1.6 Spider Roll (317 calories)
- 1.7 Salmon Avocado Roll (304 calories)
- 1.8 Spicy Tuna Roll (290 calories)
- 1.9 California Roll (225 calories)
- 1.10 Tuna Roll (184 calories)
- 1.11 Avocado Roll (140 calories)
- 2 How to eat sushi when losing weight
- 3 How to Order Sushi When Trying to Lose Weight
- 4 General tips to order healthier versions:
Calorie counts for the most popular Sushi Rolls
Everyone can enjoy sushi. It’s almost an American pastime to go out to eat sushi. There are so many sushi rolls to choose from, that I never know which one to order!
Will I order the spicy sushi roll of tuna or the rainbow sushi roll? The California roll or the spider roll? This caused me to wonder which are the healthier sushi rolls and which ones have more calories?
I’ve listed the most famous sushi rolls here (from the highest number of calories to the lowest) so you can become an expert in sushi too.
The reality hurts when it comes to high-calorie rolls, but sometimes a nice sushi roll is worth it.
These calorie counts are for 6 piece sushi rolls, which you’ll mostly get when ordering them or getting takeout:
Shrimp Tempura Roll (508 calories)
The Shrimp Tempura Roll has the most calories because the shrimp is breaded and fried, providing a crunchy, delicious taste to the shrimp. It contains 508 calories, 21 grams of fat, 64 carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein.
While this sushi has the greatest calories, those who are the most adventurous sushi lovers are definitely ordering it.
Rainbow Roll (476 calories)
For those who want a bit of everything, the Rainbow Roll is the one they should be looking for. It contains 476 calories, 16 grams of fat, 50 grams of carbs, and 33 grams of protein.
This sushi roll is classified as one of the most varied and protein-packed rolls because of the different type of fish on top. And while it’s high in calories, it’s a colorful meal.
Eel Avocado Roll (372 calories)
Eel is chewy and one of sushi‘s most fatty fish. The Eel Avocado Roll contains 372 calories, 17 grams of fat, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein.
This roll is packed with protein, and although that’s a good thing, it needs a sophisticated sushi palate because not everyone is “excited” by its taste.
Caterpillar Roll (329 calories)
Thanks to the avocado slices on top, the Caterpillar Roll got its name. It has 329 calories, five grams of fat, sixty grams of carbohydrates, and nine grams of protein.
This roll generally includes eel, tobiko (fish roe), and cucumber in addition to the avocado.
Philadelphia Roll (320 calories)
You will find salmon and cream cheese in the Philadelphia Roll, making it one of the more caloric sushi rolls. It has 320 calories, eight grams of fat, 32 grams of carbohydrates, and eight grams of protein.
If you like the taste of cream cheese with seafood, it’s a nice comfort roll to order and one of the best ones.
Spider Roll (317 calories)
The Spider Roll consists mainly of battered crab, which adds flavor and calories to a roll that is otherwise pretty basic.
It has 317 calories, 12 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbohydrates, and protein content of 13 grams. The crab’s fried preparation adds fat, but it’s still a very famous and delicious roll.
Salmon Avocado Roll (304 calories)
The Salmon Avocado Roll has “health advantages” written all over it. There are 304 calories in this sushi roll, 8.4 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbohydrates, and 13 grams of protein.
Since it’s full omega 3s and good fats, it is fantastic.
Spicy Tuna Roll (290 calories)
The Spicy Tuna Roll has more pizzazz and spice than the standard roll of tuna. It contains 290 calories, 11 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of protein.
The delicious “spice” comes from the use of mayonnaise (which contributes to the calorie count), hot sauce and green onions.
California Roll (225 calories)
A classic is the California Roll. It has 225 calories, seven grams of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrates, and nine grams of protein.
It’s the ideal roll for beginners to try making sushi for the first time, or for a light meal.
Tuna Roll (184 calories)
With the added protein, the Tuna Roll is still pretty simple. It has 184 calories, 2 g of fat, 27 g of carbohydrates, and 24 g of protein.
This roll is an excellent choice with light fish without the “spicy” tuna element.
Avocado Roll (140 calories)
The Avocado Sushi Roll includes the smallest quantity of calories as it is one of the most basic ones to order.
There are 140 calories in an avocado roll, 5.7 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrates and 2.1 grams of protein. This roll is light and perfect for those who don’t enjoy fish.
Also read: sushi, a beginners guide
How to eat sushi when losing weight
Sushi is in itself very healthy but it does contain some ingredients that can be a bit fattening.
Sushi mainly consists of three ingredients:
- nori seaweed
- seasoned white
- a filling
Choosing a healthy sushi filling
Now, the filling can be anything you choose so as long as you choose a healthy option your pretty much good to go. You can always just choose cucumber and maybe a few slices of carrot and it would still taste great.
But fish with lots of omega 3s might be a great option too.
Health Benefits of Seaweed in sushi
Nori or seaweed, includes tyrosine and iodine that promotes thyroid functions. Now, your thyroid balances out your hormones and that is essential because dramatic changes in hormone concentrations can also lead to weight gain.
Seaweed helps maintain the equilibrium and includes a lot of fiber without calories as an added bonus!
I was really enthusiastic when I discovered this and the calorie-less fiber enables you to feel more full for longer periods of time, and it also delays those irritating hunger yearnings.
Tell me that doesn’t sound amazing.
Here is Dr. Eric Berg explaining the benefits of roasted seaweed:
Sushi vinegar contains sugar
Rice vinegar is exceptional and perfect for digestion, but it also helps you absorb nutrients from other foods you consume.
It is a great inducer of weight loss and it balances some of the peskier ingredients in sushi such as soy sauce that is high in sodium and if it wasn’t for that rice vinegar would leave you feeling bloated and just terrible.
Now, the soy sauce is really salty and you might want to skip it if you’re trying to watch the amount of salt you eat, or there are low-sodium options available.
Sushi rice is normally seasoned with sushi vinegar which also contains sugar but you can just only use the rice vinegar instead.
With so many health and weight loss advantages, these three components in sushi are fairly much jumping out.
Since we have identified advantages for some of the most commonly used ingredients, we still need to tackle the white rice problem.
White rice is a no-go if you want to lose weight but sushi can’t be sushi without rice and I have to say it’s bull as much as I agree with it.
There are plenty of excellent sushi rice options that leave sushi in its purest, most holy form to be sushi.
I’ve also got these five sushi without rice recipes you can make at home, or read on for more healthy rice tips.
Healthy substitutes for white rice
White rice can be replaced with high fiber cauliflower rice that makes it great for digestive reasons and makes you feel full faster to reduce your calorie consumption.
What’s fantastic, too, is that a lot of locations a starting to serve sushi rolls made with cauliflower rice.
Quinoa can also be a substitute for rice, it is high in fiber and also gluten-free! In restaurants serving sushi, it’s an up and coming star.
You can also make sushi from brown rice which helps, but you still need to watch how many pieces you eat. And I haven’t seen that many restaurants that serve it.
Last but not least, arborio rice, which is effectively risotto rice, is a secret of home cooking.
Arborio rice has antioxidants that assist in increasing metabolism, which can greatly help in the weight loss process. Great responsibility comes with excellent sushi.
With everything you do or eat, too much is not useful for you, and you still need to be aware of how much you eat, even with all the added bonuses of weight loss by eating sushi.
Sushi is a seductive tempter and you can eat up to twenty sushi pieces or more before you even realize it. I must emphasize that even though it’s nice, you must attempt to keep it to under ten.
Whether you’re male or female, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve eaten because, yes, eating food that’s great for weight loss but overdoing it by eating too much would just negate the impact.
If you’re worried about rice, you can also eat sashimi which is just the freshly cut fish instead of on rice
How to Order Sushi When Trying to Lose Weight
I adore sushi. I find myself mid-range somewhere between those who only eat cooked fish and those who gladly consume a whole plate of raw and unidentifiable seafood, regardless of what it might be.
Japanese cooking, and sushi in particular, tends to have a good rep in that individuals regard it as low-calorie and safe regardless of what you order.
Sushi restaurants offer lots of reduced and higher calorie products, the key is to know how to order sushi when attempting to lose weight.
There are a few main terms to start with: nigiri (which is a tiny piece of fish on top of a finger-shaped rice cake), maki (which is rice and fillings, fish, veggies, etc. rolled up in nori or seaweed) or sashimi (plain raw fish).
A California Roll made of imitation crab, cucumber, avocado, and rice rolled in seaweed seems to be the most common menu item for sushi newbies. Since this one is typically “inside out” it can hold up to ONE CUP PER ROLL more rice!
So that’s one to avoid.
Depending on who produces it, calories can differ extensively but it appears to average around 250-300 calories per 6-piece roll. Pay special attention to California Roll Combos offering 3 California Rolls, soup, and salad.
That innocent meal could be clocked in more than 1000 calories!
Those with veggies or fish without extra sauces or mayo such as tuna or cucumber rolls containing less than 200 calories for 6 parts are the smallest calorie maki rolls.
In about 300 calories per roll, are rolls such as salmon avocado or spicy tuna. These are rolls that are “traditional” versus “unique”.
Usually, the unique ones are much larger and their calorie count will be much greater.
The ultimate secret to saving calories is to order a rice-free Naruto Maki Roll that is fish and veggies rolling in thinly sliced cucumber.
For those who are really attempting to stretch out their meals, this is a high protein, low carb option. A tuna, salmon, and avocado Naruto maki contains about 110 calories and 13 g protein.
Depending on the sort of fish, Nigiri sushi averages about 40-65 calories per single piece. Whitefish, sea bass and crab tend to the lesser end of the spectrum with greater trends of fatty fish such as eel, mackerel, and salmon.
From a calorie point of view, Sashimi is the winner, with every ounce of raw fish having between 25-40 calories somewhere. Ideally, with some of my authorized side dishes, you can skip the rice and complete your dinner:
- A salad (make sure to ask for any dressings on the side). Don’t use too much dressing, just fork dip your chopsticks in it, and you will save a lot of calories.
- Edamame: ½ cup= 100 calories, 3g fat, 9g carbs, 5g fiber, 8g protein
- Seaweed salad is surprisingly low in calories. The average restaurant serving contains anywhere from 45-70 calories depending on the source.
- Miso soup: 1 cup = 40-50 calories, 1.3g fat, 5.3g carbs, 1.1g fiber, 3-4g protein
Look out! If you want to avoid calorie bombs, there are several words to look out for when ordering sushi.
- Crunchy implies fried batter parts. Anything that is “crunchy” will substantially increase the roll’s fat and calorie content without any advantage to health.
- Spicy–contains mayo. The beloved spicy tuna roll can comprise an additional 100 calories merely from the spicy mayo over a standard tuna maki roll.
- Tempura–means fried. Tempura shrimp or spider rolls each have more than 500 calories.
General tips to order healthier versions:
If you choose rice products, ask for brown rice. Although the caloric content is basically the same, some additional nutrition and filling fiber will benefit you.
Despite adding additional calories, products such as salmon and avocado provide heart-healthy fat so you can find some in your order and cut other calories.
Now for the best tip out of the list: ask for your maki rolls to be cut into 8 pieces instead of 6 pieces, whenever possible.
Do you not feel that every piece of a sushi roll is too large to fit comfortably into your mouth? And there’s no way either to bite it gently in half, right? This solution will, therefore, function perfectly.
I always ask the restaurant to cut my rolls into 8 pieces (some rolls that aren’t typically cut into 6 won’t cut readily into 8 like bigger unique rolls).
You’ll get a perfectly shaped bite and now it looks like you’ve got more food for the same calorie quantity. Win-Win!
Note: those who very often consume sushi, especially the ahi tuna, need to be aware of the mercury content, especially women of childbearing age and children (who shouldn’t eat raw tuna anyway).
Also check out these amazing Japanese steamed bun recipes