If today’s one of those healthy lunch days you pride yourself on so much, you may want to rethink sushi as an option. Not that sushi isn’t better than fast food, Chinese buffet or a microwaved Lean Cuisine (it’s definitely better), but the way Americans tend to eat it almost defeats the purpose.
According to a report in the Washington Post, America’s sushi-ordering habits are…well, not exactly Japanese. A sushi roll — the most popular and affordable option — may seem nicely portioned because it is. A typical lunch combination of three sushi rolls, however, can push 1,000 calories or more, especially when you cross the “Philly,” “spicy” and “crunch” borders. Translation: A hefty padding of cheese, mayo, deep-fried refined carbs and sugary-salty teriyaki sauce. Sound anything like the lunch you were eschewing to go healthy with sushi?
While there are side options like miso soup and edamame to help fill you up and keep you full (white rice won’t do that), you can also try ordering hand rolls, which have less rice, more protein and a dearth of cream cheese, mayo or fried crunchies. Subbing in brown rice will also improve your sushi’s nutritional fortitude. Unfortunately, nigiri sushi, which is generally better for you, is rarely on the lunch specials menu.
If you’re really into fish as a healthy lunch, you’ll need to take a bit more control than grabbing a menu and letting your midday hunger decide that 18 pieces of sushi is a wise move. A few suggestions to bring along or fortify your takeout selection:
- Make a double portion of fish for dinner and bring along half to top a simple takeout salad.
- Alternately, pack yourself a leftover fish taco kit, which involves little more than wrapping tortillas in foil, tossing some chopped produce in a container and picking up a little container of Greek yogurt for dolloping.
- Whip up tuna salad with half Greek yogurt, half mayo and a ton of minced fresh parsley or dill. That’s a tuna sandwich nobody will fault you for busting out at noon.
- Keep a bag of cooked, peeled frozen shrimp in the freezer and toss a handful in a small zip-top bag before you head out. They’ll be thawed by lunchtime and ready to add lean protein to your takeout pasta, salad or soup.