When it comes to eating healthy and watching your calorie intake, sushi can be a great option. Sushi is not only delicious, but it can also be relatively low in calories compared to other foods. However, not all sushi rolls are created equal when it comes to calories. The type of fish, vegetables, sauces, and preparation can greatly affect the calorie count. So which sushi roll has the least amount of calories? Let’s take a look at some of the popular low calorie sushi rolls to find the answer.
What are the lowest calorie fish for sushi?
The type of fish used in a sushi roll can significantly contribute to its calorie content. Here are some of the lowest calorie fish options for sushi:
- Yellowtail (Hamachi) – About 46 calories per 2-ounce serving
- Tuna (Maguro) – About 56 calories per 2-ounce serving
- Salmon (Sake) – About 59 calories per 2-ounce serving
- Flounder – About 60 calories per 2-ounce serving
- Squid (Ika) – About 63 calories per 2-ounce serving
Fish like yellowtail, tuna, salmon, flounder, and squid are great low calorie protein options for sushi. They provide plenty of nutrients like healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals for relatively few calories.
What are the lowest calorie vegetables for sushi?
In addition to fish, the vegetables wrapped inside or topped on sushi can also affect its calorie total. Some lower calorie vegetable choices for sushi include:
- Cucumber – About 8 calories per 1/2 cup serving
- Avocado – About 114 calories per 1/2 cup serving
- Carrots – About 25 calories per 1/2 cup serving
- Spinach – About 20 calories per 1/2 cup serving
- Asparagus – About 15 calories per 1/2 cup serving
Vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, spinach, asparagus, and even avocado in moderation can add nutrition without spiking the calorie count too much. They also provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
What are the lowest calorie sauces and toppings for sushi?
While fish and vegetables make up the base, sauces and toppings can also influence the calorie content of sushi rolls. Some lower calorie options include:
- Soy sauce – About 10 calories per tablespoon
- Wasabi – About 5 calories per teaspoon
- Pickled ginger – About 5 calories per 2 pieces
- Sriracha sauce – About 15 calories per tablespoon
Choosing lower calorie sauces like soy sauce, wasabi, and sriracha over thicker creamy sauces can save you some calories. And pickled ginger can add flavor for barely any calories.
Hand Rolls (Temaki)
One of the most commonly low calorie sushi rolls is hand rolls, known as temaki. Temaki is a cone-shaped sushi where nori seaweed is wrapped around rice and fillings. Fillings often include tuna, salmon, yellowtail, cucumber, or avocado.
Here is the calorie count for some popular temaki rolls:
- Tuna temaki – Around 120 calories for 1 medium roll
- Salmon temaki – Around 115 calories for 1 medium roll
- Yellowtail temaki – Around 105 calories for 1 medium roll
- Cucumber temaki – Around 90 calories for 1 medium roll
- California temaki – Around 140 calories for 1 medium roll
The hand roll style uses less rice than a regular roll, and you can fill it with low calorie fish and vegetables. Temaki with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, or cucumber are great low calorie sushi options.
Sushi rolls focused on veggies instead of fish also tend to be lower in calories. Some good options include:
- Kappa maki – Cucumber roll, around 60 calories for 1 roll
- Avocado roll – Around 115 calories for 1 roll
- Asparagus roll – Around 90 calories for 1 roll
- Oshinko maki – Pickled radish roll, around 60 calories for 1 roll
- Shiitake mushroom roll – Around 90 calories for 1 roll
Vegetable rolls maximize low calorie filling ingredients like cucumber, avocado, asparagus, radish, mushrooms, and other veggies. Without fatty fish or thick sauces, these rolls make smart low calorie choices.
Sashimi is thinly sliced pieces of raw fish, sometimes served with rice. Going for sashimi instead of rolls allows you to avoid carbs from rice and focus on protein-packed fish:
- 5 pieces tuna sashimi – Around 70 calories
- 5 pieces salmon sashimi – Around 80 calories
- 5 pieces yellowtail sashimi – Around 65 calories
The serving of rice usually doubles the calories of sushi. So skipping the rice altogether by getting sashimi can be a simple way to cut calories.
Chirashi is sliced raw fish and vegetables served over a bowl of sushi rice. It can be lower calorie if you opt for lean protein ingredients like tuna, yellowtail, salmon, or veggies. A bowl with a variety of fish and veggies is around 300-400 calories. Choosing chirashi with healthier mixed ingredients over fatty rolls can save calories.
Temaki vs Maki Rolls
As mentioned earlier, temaki hand rolls tend to be lower calorie than maki rolls. Here’s a calorie comparison of common temaki vs maki with the same fillings:
|Temaki Hand Roll (1 roll)||Maki Roll (6-8 pieces)|
|Tuna – 120 calories||Tuna – 300 calories|
|Salmon – 115 calories||Salmon – 280 calories|
|California – 140 calories||California – 320 calories|
|Cucumber – 90 calories||Cucumber – 180 calories|
As you can see, a hand roll contains about half the calories of a regular roll with the same fillings. The conical shape uses less rice, nori, and fillings than the fully wrapped maki style. So choosing temaki is an easy way to save calories with sushi.
Low Calorie Sauces
Dipping your sushi in thick, creamy sauces can add a significant amount of calories:
- Unagi sauce – Around 40 calories per tablespoon
- Spicy mayo – Around 90 calories per tablespoon
- Eel sauce – Around 35 calories per tablespoon
Opting for lower calorie sauces like:
- Soy sauce – Around 10 calories per tablespoon
- Ponzu – Around 15 calories per tablespoon
- Mustard – Around 5 calories per teaspoon
Can save you calories at the sushi bar. Or going sauce-free and flavoring with a squeeze of lime, pickled ginger, or wasabi are calorie-free alternatives.
Brown Rice Options
Another way to trim calories with sushi is choosing rolls made with brown rice when available. Here is a calorie comparison of white rice vs. brown rice:
- 1/2 cup white sushi rice – About 220 calories
- 1/2 cup brown sushi rice – About 180 calories
The extra fiber and nutrients in brown rice causes it to be lower calorie than more refined white sushi rice. So when you have the choice, opt for brown rice to shave off calories.
Low Calorie Sides
The side dishes you choose along with your sushi can also affect your overall calorie intake:
|Higher Calorie||Lower Calorie|
|Miso soup – Around 60 calories per bowl||Edamame – Around 90 calories per 1/2 cup|
|Seaweed salad – Around 115 calories per 2 oz||Steamed vegetables – Around 30 calories per 1/2 cup|
|Fried gyoza – Around 150 calories for 5 pieces||Sashimi – Around 75 calories for 5 pieces|
Choosing lower calorie sides like edamame, steamed veggies, or sashimi can fill up your meal for fewer calories than soup, seaweed salad, or fried gyoza. This allows you to save some calories for enjoying your main sushi rolls or dishes.
Vegetarian Sushi Options
Skip the fish altogether by trying these vegetarian friendly sushi rolls:
- Sweet potato tempura roll – Around 220 calories for 6-8 pieces
- Avocado and cucumber roll – Around 105 calories for 6-8 pieces
- Asparagus and mushroom roll – Around 115 calories for 6-8 pieces
- Spicy kale and tofu roll – Around 180 calories for 6-8 pieces
Using ingredients like sweet potatoes, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, kale, and tofu result in meatless rolls that are naturally lower in calories than most fish rolls.
Low Calorie Sushi Platters
If you are eating sushi family-style, choose a platter with a variety of lower calorie rolls and sides:
- Temaki (tuna, salmon, yellowtail)
- Vegetable rolls (cucumber, avocado, asparagus)
- Miso soup
Having these healthier options alongside any higher calorie specialty rolls can help balance out your meal. This allows you to try a variety of sushi while keeping your total calorie intake under control.
Order Child-Size Rolls
Many sushi restaurants offer kid’s menus with smaller sized rolls. Ordering a child size California roll or other basic roll is an easy option to get your sushi fix with a smaller portion.
Split Rolls with a Friend
Dining with someone else? Consider splitting some orders of rolls. Many standard rolls provide 8-10 pieces, so splitting can cut your calories while allowing you to try multiple menu items.
Watch Portion Sizes
Keep in mind that sushi pieces are often petite, so it’s easy to overeat when enjoying a variety of rolls. Pay attention to portion sizes and try sticking to 1-2 rolls plus a side like edamame or sashimi to keep calories in check.
So to recap, here are some of the best low calorie sushi rolls and how many calories they contain:
- Cucumber roll – Around 60 calories
- Avocado roll – Around 115 calories
- Temaki with tuna or yellowtail – Around 100-120 calories
- Sashimi – Around 75 calories for 5 pieces
- Vegetable-focused rolls – Around 100-150 calories
Sticking to simpler rolls focused on veggies or lean protein can allow you to enjoy sushi while maintaining your daily calorie goals. Avoid creamier sauces, fried items, fatty fish, and white rice to minimize calories. And watch your portion sizes, as bites of sushi can quickly add up.
With some mindful choices of fillings and preparation, you can craft lower calorie sushi options like temaki, sashimi, vegetable rolls, or brown rice dishes. This makes it possible to frequently indulge in delicious sushi meals, even when limiting calories.