What are the best choices?
When it comes to sushi, preferences vary widely. When you add the nutritional and environmental implications, sushi dining becomes a very personal choice. Here are some quick pointers to help you make the most informed choices.
Sushi and Sashimi
Like most sushi, salmon (left) with rice is just 1 SmartPoints value per piece. However, this fish earns big points for being as likeable as lox. And it has bountiful omega-3 fatty acids, known to boost heart health. Mackerel (center) is nutritionally similar and considered a good pick for sustainability. With their sweet flavor, scallops (right) are a great choice, especially when farm-raised. They offer a hearty dose of omega-3s, Vitamin B12, magnesium and potassium. Other similar picks: arctic char, sablefish, aka black cod.
These picks lack the omega-3 potency of the Best Picks, but are still good choices. Shrimp (left) offer pure protein with little risk of mercury and other heavy metals. Ebi are always cooked, so this sushi is similar to shrimp cocktail. Giant clam (center) is similar in taste and texture to conch, yet more sustainable than that long-lived snail. White tuna (right) is usually albacore tuna. Other similar picks: squid, cuttlefish
As you might have guessed, some of the most delicious fish are also the most controversial choices, in terms of both health and sustainability. Bluefin tuna (left) is the prime example, for the reasons mentioned in "Know Your Tuna.” Environmentalists also frown upon eating fresh water eel (center), or unagi, which is diminishing in the wild. Hirame, which includes fluke (right), halibut and sole, all have issues of sustainability. Other similar picks: Egg omelet (tamago). This one’s not endangered, but with 2 SmartPoints value per piece, consider having your eggs for breakfast.
At just 5 SmartPoints value per roll, this likable California roll (left) is one of the safest choices, delivering the benefits of lean protein from surimi, omega-3s from avocado and a tasty topping of flavorful sesame seeds or fish roe. The cucumber roll (right), has among the lowest SmartPoints values on the menu, with 3. These low-cal vegetarian rolls make a good follow-up to sashimi for a filling meal.
These rolls include poorer cuts of high-quality whole fish, which is why you're better off enjoying these fish varieties as nigiri sushi instead (not rolls). Sushi would also give you more fish and less rice, which cuts the SmartPoints value. Instead of having the shrimp roll (left) for 10 SmartPoints value, you could enjoy ten whole shrimp as sushi. Standbys like tuna roll (right) or yellowtail roll each have just under 3 SmartPoints value. Other similar picks: salmon roll, Boston roll.
The shrimp tempura roll (left) isn’t even a Japanese creation. One roll equals 500 calories and about 10 SmartPoints value, meaning this 6-piece roll packs more points than a McDonald’s double cheeseburger. Made with deep fried softshell crab, the spider roll (right) is another fast-food in disguise, also with 10 SmartPoints value. Other similar picks: A Philadelphia roll (salmon with cream cheese) delivers at least 6 SmartPoints value thanks to sweet and fatty additions.