Calories in Sushi Rolls: What Are the Diet-Friendly Options?


How many calories are in sushi rolls with brown rice, white rice or without rice?

Sushi is a type of Japanese cuisine that many consider a culinary ‘art’ as presentation is so important. Not to be confused with raw fish (which is technically Sashimi or sushi without rice) Sushi is composed of cooked vinegared rice (Shari), paired with other ingredients (Neta). These other ingredients often include seafood, vegetables, egg, tofu and a sauce. Contrary to popular belief, most Sushi bars offer a very limited number of raw seafood dishes. Though the fish might appear to be raw, most seafood items are prepared prior to serving. The fish may be blanched, soaked in Sake (rice wine) and frozen or pickled before you eat it.

In general, Sushi is diet-friendly and low in calories because the serving sizes are small and you are consuming small amounts of rice; mostly seafood and vegetables. Though sushi prepared with sauces and mayonnaise is generally higher in calories. Calorie content varies somewhat according to the preparation technique. Traditional sushi rolls generally provide between 40 and 65 calories each but Western influence has changed the ingredients and size, altering the caloric value of sushi rolls available in popular sushi bars.

Diet-friendly sushi rolls

You can pair any of these rolls with a bowl of miso soup, which provides only about 95 calories and 1 gram (g) fat. The only problem with eating these rolls is that it is hard to stop at just one piece! These are calorie values for larger rolls, not the mini rolls. It takes three mini/small rolls equal the size of one of these rolls.

Kappa Maki (cucumber roll): This roll is prepared without fish and is basically cucumber and rice in a seaweed wrap. One roll provides about 136 calories and is fat-free.

Avocado roll: This is another veggie-and-rice-only choice but is a tasty blend of avocado and rice in a seaweed wrap. One roll provides 140 calories and 5.7 g fat.

Veggie sushi rolls: veggie sushi rolls contain no fish and are generally composed of pickled and/or fresh vegetables wrapped in seaweed and rice. The fat comes mainly from avocado, so it is heart-healthy unsaturated fat. The average veggie sushi roll provides 170 calories and 5 g fat.

Tuna (Maguro) roll: this roll includes fresh tuna surrounded by a layer of rice and enveloped in a seaweed wrap. One roll provides 184 calories and 2 g fat.

Shrimp rolls: Not the tempura shrimp rolls which can provide 500 calories each, the regular shrimp rolls are much more diet-friendly, offering 199 calories each and 0 g fat.

Salmon cucumber rolls: order it ‘straight’ versus ‘spicy’ as the spicy sauce is mayonnaise based and adds 99 calories and 11 g fat to the roll! This delicious option features salmon and cucumber sticks (strips) on the inside held together by a seaweed wrap and a layer of rice on the outside. A ‘straight’ salmon cucumber roll provides about 231 calories and 4 g fat.

Mackerel sushi rolls: Mackerel sushi rolls are somewhat higher in calories than veggie rolls but contain less fat. The fish and rice are in the center of the seaweed-wrapped roll. One roll provides about 232 calories and only 2 g fat.

You will often find sashimi (fish only, no rice) at sushi establishments. They often come in 1-oz. pieces and are very diet-friendly. Many varieties hover between 21 and 26 calories per piece. The most diet-friendly options (in this range) include: Hirame (flounder), Hotategai (giant scallop), Kani (real or fake King crab, steamed), Shirauo (whitefish), Suzuki (sea bass) and Tai (red snapper).

Nigiri is another option, a piece of fish on a rice bed. These also come ‘by the piece’ and an average serving size is only ½ oz. The most diet-friendly options provide about 40 calories each and include the same varieties as above minus the Kani and with the addition of Kisu (whiting) and Ika (squid).

The average sushi combination platter (which includes 6 mini/small rolls and 2 medium-sized rolls) provides about 400 calories. This amount is still diet-friendly for a meal. Keep in mind that sushi condiments are not calorie-free but since a little bit goes such a long way, the amount of calories they offer is, for the most part, negligible.


1 thought on “Calories in Sushi Rolls: What Are the Diet-Friendly Options?”

  • Wow, I didn’t know there were so few calories in Sushi. I always assumed there would be a lot due to the high fat content in fish. I absolutely love sushi, I know what I’m eating this weekend now 🙂

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