Is hibachi food high in calories?

Hibachi is a style of Japanese cooking that involves cooking ingredients at a very high heat on a large iron griddle called a hibachi. It’s an entertaining way to cook, as the chef performs tricks while preparing the meal right in front of diners. Hibachi is popular both as a restaurant option and for adding excitement to home dinner parties. But many people wonder whether this appetizing style of cooking comes at a cost to their waistlines due to high calorie counts.

What is hibachi?

Hibachi refers to a traditional Japanese heating device and also a style of cooking that uses this heating device. A hibachi grill consists of a large cooking surface made of cast iron that lets a chef cook ingredients quickly over very high heat. Hibachi grills can be small, like those used for domestic cooking in Japan. But in restaurants, large hibachi grills are used so the chef can prepare multiple meals at once in front of a crowd.

In a hibachi restaurant, diners sit around the cooking surface while the chef prepares the meal. Part of the appeal of hibachi dining is watching the chef’s entertaining cooking show. Chefs typically perform tricks like quickly moving food around the grill, tossing ingredients behind their back, creating a flaming onion volcano, and more. The chef uses long cooking sticks to maneuver the food and metal spatulas to flip ingredients on the sizzling grill. The aromas and sounds of the cooking food become part of the experience.

Common hibachi ingredients

Hibachi restaurants have some standard proteins and veggies that go into most meals. Here are some of the most popular hibachi ingredients:

– Beef filet or steak
– Chicken
– Shrimp
– Scallops
– Squid or octopus
– Vegetables like onions, zucchini, bean sprouts and mushrooms
– Fried rice
– Yum yum noodles or vegetables noodles

Many hibachi meals start with a clear broth soup and side salad. Then diners get a main course of meat, seafood and/or veggies stir fried together on the hibachi grill with fried rice and noodles. Meals often end with fresh fruit like pineapple slices. The ingredients are flavorful yet generally pretty simple and healthy.

Is hibachi healthy?

Overall, hibachi can be a rather healthy style of cooking. The ingredients used are lean meats, seafood, vegetables and rice. Instead of heavy sauces, food is seasoned with salt, pepper and brushings of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. The vegetables provide fiber, vitamins and minerals. Rice and noodles offer carbohydrates for energy. Protein is portioned for each diner. And there’s no bread, creamy dressings or sugary desserts added.

However, as with any meal, calorie counts will depend on your specific choices. Ordering steak, shrimp and fried rice could result in a higher calorie meal than chicken and veggies. But in general, hibachi lets you customize your meal so you can achieve a balance of proteins, carbs and veggies tailored to your own nutrition needs.

How many calories in hibachi meals?

Calories will vary widely depending on which restaurant you visit and exactly what you order. Steps you can take to reduce calories in a hibachi meal include:

– Choosing grilled chicken or seafood instead of steak
– Loading up on non-starchy vegetables vs white rice or fried noodles
– Skipping high-calorie starters like fried dumplings or edamame dip
– Ordering low-calorie dressings on salads
– Avoiding sugary drinks and desserts
– Eating reasonable portions instead of overeating

To get an idea of the range, here are some estimated calorie counts for popular hibachi menu items:

Hibachi Item Estimated Calories
Chicken breast, 6 oz 230
Steak, 6 oz 300
Salmon, 6 oz 260
Shrimp, 6 oz 120
Scallops, 6 oz 150
Squid, 6 oz 170
Fried rice, 1 cup 240
White rice, 1 cup 205
Yum yum noodles, 1 cup 260
Vegetable noodles, 1 cup 100
Broccoli, 1 cup 30
Mushrooms, 1 cup 28
Onion, 1/2 cup 64
Clear broth soup, 1 cup 20
House salad, 3 cups 100
Ginger salad dressing, 2 Tbsp 88
Pineapple, 1 cup 82

So you can see there is quite a range, from shrimp and vegetables being lower calorie to fried rice and noodles being higher. Portion sizes also impact the totals. A small serving of steak may clock in around 300 calories, but a large steak could be 600 calories or more.

Tips for ordering low-calorie hibachi

If you want to keep your hibachi meal on the lighter side, consider these tips:

– Choose chicken or seafood instead of steak for the protein
– Opt for grilled instead of fried protein when possible
– Load up on non-starchy vegetables like mushrooms, onions, zucchini and broccoli
– Ask for brown rice instead of white or fried rice
– Request vegetable noodles rather than yum yum noodles
– Get dressing and dipping sauces on the side to control how much you use
– Stick to water, unsweetened tea or hot green tea for beverages
– Split desserts or skip them altogether

Many hibachi restaurants also offer healthy meal options that are lower in calories. You can look for meals labeled as light, low-carb or gluten-free to find suitable choices.

Should you avoid hibachi if counting calories?

There’s no need to avoid hibachi restaurants altogether if you’re keeping an eye on your calorie intake. With some careful menu selections, you can easily keep hibachi meals around 500-700 calories.

Some general guidelines include:

– Pick grilled chicken or shrimp as your protein
– Get double vegetables instead of rice or noodles
– Choose steamed rice instead of fried rice
– Order salad dressing on the side
– Avoid extras like fried appetizers or sugary drinks
– Only eat until satisfied, not overly full

If you follow basic healthy eating principles, hibachi can absolutely be part of a calorie-controlled diet. The fun, interactive dining experience doesn’t have to come at a cost to your health goals.

Compare hibachi calories to other cuisines

Hibachi stacks up reasonably well against other types of restaurant cuisine when you’re counting calories. For example, here’s how a 650 calorie hibachi meal may compare to some other popular restaurant choices:

Cuisine Sample Meal Estimated Calories
Hibachi 5 oz chicken + 1 cup vegetables + 1/2 cup rice 650
Italian Baked ziti + breadstick 860
Mexican Beef burrito + rice + beans 770
American Burger + fries 950
Chinese Sesame chicken + fried rice 910
Thai Curry + 1 cup rice 600

As you can see, hibachi tends to be on the lower end for total calories compared to dishes like burritos, burgers, and ziti. With mindful ordering, hibachi can be a solid choice when tracking calories.

Strategies for low-calorie hibachi at home

You can also enjoy healthy, low-calorie hibachi-style meals in the comfort of your own home. Cooking hibachi-inspired food at home lets you control the ingredients and portions exactly how you like.

Here are some tips for making lower calorie hibachi meals at home:

– Invest in a tabletop hibachi grill for authentic flavor
– Stick to lean proteins like chicken, seafood and flank steak
– Include plenty of vegetables like onion, carrot and bell pepper
– Choose brown or cauliflower rice instead of white rice
– Avoid deep frying and breading proteins or veggies
– Use reduced sodium soy sauce or dipping sauces
– Portion out servings instead of placing lots of food platters on the table
– Cook just what you plan to eat instead of making huge batches

Cooking hibachi style is fun for a dinner party or date night at home. With a few simple healthy swaps and smart portioning, you can enjoy this interactive, tasty cuisine while maintaining your nutrition goals.

Should you eat hibachi if you’re on a diet?

Hibachi can be part of an overall healthy diet when trying to lose weight. As with any restaurant cuisine, moderation and smart choices are key. Avoiding overeating and choosing lower calorie menu items can allow you to enjoy hibachi while sticking to your diet.

Some diet-friendly hibachi tips include:

– Starting with broth-based soup or salad with low-calorie dressing
– Picking grilled chicken or shrimp as protein rather than steak
– Loading up on non-starchy vegetables instead of white rice
– Asking for brown rice or buckwheat soba noodles
– Getting sauces and dressings on the side to control how much you use
– Skipping fried starters, sugary drinks and desserts
– Taking part of your meal to-go if portions are very large
– Drinking water or unsweetened tea with your meal
– Sharing dishes family-style instead of overeating individually plated portions

While you’ll need to watch out for high-calorie additions like fried rice, hibachi overall tends to be lower in carbs and higher in protein than some other Asian cuisines. Built-in portion control and vegetable content also gives it an advantage for diets compared to American fare like burgers and fries.

Healthiest hibachi meal options

If you want to maximize nutrition, here are some of the healthiest hibachi meal choices:

– Chicken breast– Lean protein with less saturated fat than red meat
– Shrimp– Provides protein, healthy fats and antioxidants
– Salmon– Rich in omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation
– Tofu– Plant-based protein that’s low in calories
– Broccoli– Packed with vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber
– Mushrooms– Contain B vitamins like riboflavin and folate
– Onions– Deliver flavonoid antioxidants and cancer-fighting quercetin
– Carrots– Full of antioxidant carotenoids like beta carotene
– Spinach– Provides iron, vitamin K, vitamin A and folate
– Cucumber salad– Hydrating and low in calories
– Brown rice– Has more fiber and nutrients than white rice
– Buckwheat soba noodles– Contain protein and magnesium
– Water or green tea– Avoid liquid calories from sugary drinks

Building your meal around a lean protein, lots of non-starchy vegetables and a modest portion of whole grains or noodles will maximize nutrition in a lower calorie hibachi dinner.


Hibachi offers many nutritious options like lean meats, seafood and ample vegetables that can fit well into a balanced, calorie-controlled diet. While fried rice, noodles and sugary drinks can drive up totals, making smart menu picks allows you to enjoy the fun experience of hibachi without sabotaging your health goals. With mindful ordering and avoidance of overeating, hibachi can be an entertaining and tasty cuisine that doesn’t have to derail your diet.

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