by Carina Sohaili of Vibrant Healthy Life

Sushi can be a healthy, satisfying meal or equivalent to eating a Double-Double. Here are some simple steps to conquer the sushi situation so you can be healthy and enjoy yourself.

1. Start out with miso soup, seaweed salad, or edamame. This will prevent you from going roll crazy. Edamame is one of my favorite smart choices to start with because it is the perfect combination of protein and healthy carbohydrates all in one little bean. It is very easy to eat the entire bowl so be mindful of your portions. A small handful is great. The B-vitamins in seaweed salad are fantastic for energy levels and stress relief. Miso is also a great source of concentrated protein.

2. Sip on green tea. Green tea is a natural metabolism booster, and an appetite suppressant, and is loaded with antioxidants.

3. Roll time! What to order? Stick with simple. Tuna and salmon rolls are fantastic. Tuna and salmon are both high in omega-3s, protein, and vitamin D. A heart-healthy, brain-boosting, skin-clearing bite, all in one roll. Vegetarian? Go for a cucumber-avocado roll or California roll. One or two rolls per person with an appetizer is a balanced meal.

4. Swap out white rice for brown rice. The reason why white rice is not the smartest choice is because it is stripped of all the nutrients and will end up leaving you hungrier a couple minutes later. Brown rice takes a longer time to digest and will provide you with lasting energy long after your meal. For more details you can check out my old blog post The Truth About Carbs.

5. Sashimi is divine, but for some, it’s not filling. If you are one of those people, add a healthy carbohydrate to the meal (edamame, sea veggies, soba noodles or brown rice). Around half a cup is a good portion size.

6. Try to steer clear of spicy, fried, baked, crunchy munchies. Fancy rolls with fried tempura are not the smartest choices. They are loaded with excessive unhealthy ingredients. Believe it or not, simple sushi can be just as delicious and a much better health investment. It takes time for your taste buds to adjust to a change. Soon you will start craving the pure, plain, and simple. If you love those fancy, fried, battered, baked delights, simply have a plan. Split a fancy roll with a friend. It is all about moderation and balance.

7. Condiment time! Ginger, wasabi, and low-sodium soy sauce. Ginger is an immunity-boosting, de-bloating digestion miracle. Go crazy with it — the more the better. For more de-bloating pointers see Beat The Bloat. Instead of that spicy tuna roll opt for a normal tuna roll and get your spicy from wasabi mixed with low-sodium soy sauce, a much healthier option. At most restaurants there will always be some low-sodium soy sauce. If it is not on the table, do not be shy to ask. You should be proud that you care about your health.

8. Be aware of portions. It is very easy to get a little roll happy. One to two simple rolls per person with an appetizer is a healthy, filling meal. If you are still hungry after your rolls and appetizer, order another healthy side (miso soup or seaweed salad are some examples). Remember it takes around 20 minutes to digest, so wait for your food to process before you order more.

9. Everyone is different. Figure out what works for you. Your health goals may be different from your best friends. Choose one healthy habit to focus on and stick to it. For more tips on eating out, check out my old post “Eating Out Made Easy.”

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