Sushi Macro Hacks – How to Track at Sushi Restaurants
It’s no secret that Jason and I are total sushi addicts! While Jay prefers the more traditional and “cleaner” nigiri pieces, I am hooked on the western-style maki rolls that come laden in spicy mayo, avocado and cream cheese! What can I say, that’s just how I roll! ?
If you’re anything like me, then a sushi night could land you in a HUGE caloric surplus even if that isn’t your intention. This lifestyle is flexible and we want you to enjoy it! But we also want you to be successful when it comes to making better choices and tracking with accuracy so that you can continue to make progress.
Calculating the macros for these delicacies can be a bit challenging. In fact, “What sushi should I order?” and “How do I track sushi rolls?!“ are all too common questions in our private lifestyle group. With so many options and so many ways to order, it may seem impossible to calculate sushi macros with any precision. But don’t give up quite yet! We’ve got plenty of advice about safe menu options and which rolls to use in MyFitnessPal to make the whole process a lot easier and more enjoyable. And if you do come across a roll that you just can’t find in the app, don’t forget that tracking something is always better than nothing!
Sushi Strategies – How & What To Order
Before we talk about calculations, let’s start with some delicious and nutritious things you can order as well as ordering strategies that will help you to stay within your macros – this is pretty handy if you unexpectedly find yourself going out for sushi and don’t have a ton of carbs or fat left for the day. While you can order anything you want, these sushi macro hacks will help you calculate your sushi macros with more ease and keep you dialed in.
It’s always best to start smart, and this goes for appetizers as well. Edamame, seaweed salad, and miso soup are great meal starters as they are pretty low in calories, and they are also easy to find nutritional information for. If you like to go out to eat hungry, then it’s best to start with something like this to help fill you up and prevent you from wanting to finish food off other people’s plates!!!
If you’re in need of some protein, then sashimi is an excellent choice for a starter too. Just be careful not to pick something like salmon belly which is the fattiest (and also tastiest) cut of the fish. It’ll blow your fat macros back to kingdom come (I made that mistake once!). I typically go for the tuna. It’s super low in fat and still really tasty!
|Edamame steamed, salted – Kikka, 4 oz||9g||11g||5g|
|Miso Soup – Benihana, 1 cup||2g||2g||0g|
|Seaweed Salad – Ra Sushi, 3 oz.||1.6g||14.2g||3.6g|
|Sashimi (Tuna) – Ra Sushi, 4 oz.||23g||0g||5g|
2. Carb-Cutting Tips
If you already know what you want to order, but want to cut out some carbs then there are a few options for you. A great option when looking for less rice is to order your rolls Temaki (hand roll) style. These cone-like rolls are made out of seaweed and wrapped around small amounts of rice and whatever fillings you choose.
Additionally, you can get your sushi roll wrapped in cucumber (“naruto style”), nori or soy paper instead of rice.
Some low-carb sushi options are:
|Low-Carb Sushi Rolls||Protein||Carbs||Fat|
|Spicy Tuna Temaki (hand roll) – Ace, 1 roll||8g||30g||0g|
|Rainbow Naruto Roll – Kona Grill, 5 rolls||24g||6g||6g|
|Gunkan Masago – Yo! Sushi, 2 pcs||6.2g||0g||1g|
|Tuna Poke Naruto – Kona Grill||25g||20g||7g|
3. Cut back on Fat
It’s incredibly easy to consume a lot of fat at a sushi restaurant. Now some of that may come from some really good quality sources like salmon, eel or avocado, but there are lots of additional fats that you can easily cut back on like the spicy mayo, cream cheese and deep fried rolls! Here are some ways to save your fat:
- use ginger and wasabi to add more flavor to your roll instead of spicy mayo (any roll that’s “spicy” is usually going to come with spicy mayo and can add up to 12grams of fat to your roll);
- avoid ordering deep fried rolls, choose rolls with tempura or a tempura crunch instead;
- choose a roll with cream cheese or avocado instead of both;
Some low-fat sushi roll options are:
|Low-fat Sushi Rolls||Protein||Carbs||Fat|
|California roll – PF Chang’s||13g||54g||9g|
|Salmon roll – Benihana||17g||59g||6g|
|Rainbow roll – Wegmans||16g||41g||8g|
|Cucumber roll – Ra Sushi||2g||31g||0g|
4. Other Ordering Strategies
If you’ve been working with us for some time, then you know that our biggest piece of advice is always to plan ahead. We went out for sushi just this week and so I checked out the menu online for where we were going and pre-selected what I was going to eat. I plugged my choices into MyFitnessPal and then planned the rest of my food for the day. I made a conscious decision right then and there that I WAS NOT going to stray from my planned order once I got to the restaurant. So here’s my general game-plan for when I go out to eat and especially if sushi is involved:
- Plan ahead – see above!
- Never agree to share! – Agreeing to share dishes with others opens up a lot of possibility for you veering off course and losing track of what exactly you ate. If you’re going out with just 1 person and you can agree in advance to split exactly half of your rolls then that’s cool but be careful when sharing with a group.
- Don’t go hungry – Now this may not work for all of you, but for me and most of my clients, I find that going to a restaurant starving usually results in me going over my macros as my body keeps telling me I need to eat the world! ? I like to plan for a small snack mainly comprised of protein about an hour before leaving the house. That way if others decide to order started and I haven’t planned for a starter, I’m not easily lead astray and persuaded to order a starter too.
- Be flexible and find balance – it’s tempting to want to eat every delicious sounding thing off the menu, but remember, there will be more opportunities for you to go out and eat more sushi! You don’t have to have all speciality rolls. Go for one specialty roll and some sashimi and maybe skip the dessert.
So how exactly do you calculate the macros for sushi? After all, a lot of sushi restaurant menus don’t come with nutritional information. Well if you use MyFitnessPal to track your macros, you’ll find that there are plenty of entries from you to choose from. Here’s some of my favorites that I believe help me to be as accurate as possible with tracking sushi.
For example, the MyFitnessPal app entries for AFC sushi (Whether you’re having pre-packaged sushi or eating at a restaurant, the AFC entries can be helpful for both.
If you are at an independent sushi restaurant, my preference is to search for well-known sushi chains and use their nutritional information. I do this because restaurant sushi tends to be a little more decadent than what you’d find in a grocery store – especially if you tend to order the more “fancy” rolls like me! I recommend using menu items from Benihana, Kona Grill, PF Changs, or Yo! Sushi. While they may not have the exact macros for your roll, it should give you a good comparable estimate of the nutritional value.
The Sushi Hack Takeaway
While it may seem impossible to calculate sushi macros, it’s not as difficult as it seems and it doesn’t have to result in a cheat night! Sushi can absolutely be “healthy” provided you’re smart about your choices and find some balance. If you are ever unsure of how to calculate something, try looking up other restaurants and using their menu items as an equivalent. While it won’t always be 100% accurate, it’s always better to estimate than to track nothing at all!