The low-down on low calorie sushi
Nutrition and flavor exist in a strange tension when it comes to food and pleasure. Who doesn't like anything cooked in butter or deep-fried? The fat adds loads of delicious flavor we all crave. Low calorie and healthy foods such as green vegetables require a particular discipline to eat consistently. When burgers, pizza and fries are readily available, few people truly prefer kale, beets spinach and raw vegetables. People would rather eat cake, cookies and ice cream than fresh fruit and many do eat cake and other such sweet delights. Prioritizing nutrition and eating healthy foods on a consistent basis requires re-training the taste buds to enjoy or at least appreciate fresh, light and bitter flavors.
Few people would describe sushi as sweet, rich and creamy but these days many sushi restaurants serve specialty makis with deep-friend ingredients and rich cream-based sauces. The Fire Dragon Maki served at many sushi bars is sweet, rich and creamy. Tempura crumbles and deep-fried ingredients along with high fat cream-based sauces found in Western style sushi add loads of calories and fat that might rival a junky big mac or fried chicken. Some chefs add sweet ingredients like honey and mango to make sushi taste like dessert.
Health conscious sushi lovers should stick with traditional Japanese sushi. Simple, minimal ingredients and only a few, light sauces, like ponzu, make traditional style sushi a beautiful and relatively low calorie meal. A negi-hamachi maki with yellowtail (Japanese amberjack fish) and scallions create a nice flavor balance of onion and tangy butter. Most traditional makis are bite-sized with a modest amount of rice. Traditional style sushi rice does contain a bit of sugar that some health enthusiasts might want to avoid. In my opinion, the subtle sweetness balances the acid of the mirin, or rice vinegar and is not a big deal.
Sushi can be a healthy and delicious meal as long as one avoids the pitfalls of Western style sushi and sticks with basics.
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