When in the mood for a “light” dinner, many people opt for sushi. Sushi is often viewed as acceptable on any diet. In its more basic form, it is mostly raw fish, vegetables and some rice – for those who are eliminating carbohydrates and/or restricting their fat intake, it is a great go-to cuisine. However, even if you are sticking to the more traditional fare, it is very easy to OVER-EAT “light” food.
Read on to prevent yourself from overdoing it when you are eating sushi of any kind.
NUTRITIONAL FACTS AND FIGURES
Before getting into what and how much you should be eating, let’s take a quick look at some of the potential health benefits of eating the cuisine. To start, many sushi options contain fish that are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats have been shown to reduce heart disease risk, help moderate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, lower blood pressure, maintain proper nervous system health, and help to fight inflammation. Furthermore, the seaweed in sushi contains high levels of Vitamins A, B-complex, vitamin C and iodine. Lastly, sushi is a great source of protein!
Despite all of these health benefits, sushi is only “waist” friendly when an individual monitors WHY and HOW they’re eating. This is really true for all foods. So ask yourself the following questions before you dig in on your sushi order:
- Why are you eating? Are you physically hungry? Make sure that you have actual symptoms of physical hunger. If you do not, then your body does not need the fuel and anything you eat will be put away as stored energy – another way to say it is fat!
- How are you eating? Are you eating mindfully or are you distracted by the tv, your computer or conversation? Make sure to check in with your hunger throughout the meal to ensure that you still need to continue to eat to feel comfortably full and satisfied. Put your chop sticks down while you have food in your mouth and make sure to chew your food thoroughly.
- Focus on satisfaction not just fullness. To feel satisfied by what you eat, you need to be eating what you really want to eat! Order what you would like, not what you think you should order. You are better off ordering one decadent sushi roll (if that is what you want) instead of 10 pieces of sashimi. The sashimi may leave you full but “hungry for more” if it doesn’t satisfy you…while the roll could totally hit the spot The goal is to become satisfied before you are full!
NOTE: Keep your food safe. Any raw fish or shellfish can contain parasites or other disease-causing microorganisms. Therefore, make sure you purchase sushi from a reputable restaurant or vendor and avoid any raw or undercooked fish if you have a weakened immune system, are pregnant or are at risk for getting sick.
Moreover, fish accumulate mercury, which at high enough levels can damage the nervous system. Large deep-sea species such as tuna, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and shark are particularly susceptible to mercury contamination. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration cautions pregnant and nursing women, women of childbearing age, and small children to avoid (or limit) these types of fish.
The next time you eat sushi, monitor your appetite and satisfaction level and choose those foods that are appealing to you. Slow down, take your time and check in with your hunger throughout the meal – don’t just assume that if it is healthy, you can eat as much as you want!