Is sushi as healthy as it seems?

Head to any Japanese restaurant in Atlanta, and you'll find sushi on the menu. The bite-size rolls are...

Head to any Japanese restaurant in Atlanta, and you'll find sushi on the menu. The bite-size rolls are made with an outer layer of rice, cucumber, fish skin or seaweed wrapper and are complemented with a combination of cooked or raw seafood, vegetables and toasted sesame seeds. But are they a healthy dinner option?

Is it a diet food?

Although there are several types of sushi, they all use the same palette of fresh and often raw ingredients. From avocado and asparagus, to mushrooms and shrimp, the fillings for the rolls are generally healthy.

But when it comes to counting carbs and calories, look to the rice. When making the Japanese meal, sugar and salt are added to the rice mixture to give it a flavorful, sticky texture. If enjoyed in moderation, the rice-based rolls can be part of a healthy diet, but they are not low in carbohydrates. To keep your waistline trim, opt for varieties made with thin-sliced cucumber or seaweed for the outer layer in lieu of rice.

How to order

Depending on the restaurant and type of sushi you enjoy, the rolls will be served with a variety of sauces. Soy and teriyaki sauces are high in sodium, which isn't a very healthy option for someone with high blood pressure or a sensitivity to salt. Ask the restaurant for low-sodium varieties, and use them in moderation.

Or, order your meal without any dipping sauces and enjoy the full flavor of sushi. Try using a lower calorie condiment, such as mustard-based sauces, a dab of spicy wasabi or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Pair your entree with fresh side dishes such as steamed edamame, mixed sauteed vegetables or the broth-based Miso soup, a popular choice.

Eating healthier

If you're overhauling your diet, sushi is a good meal to add to your routine. Just choose varieties made with less sugar, opt for low-calorie sauces and indulge only once or twice a week. Learn more about making healthy dietary changes by visiting a doctor in Atlanta.

A doctor can alert you to food choices that complement your current health condition, medications and lifestyle. When you meet with your doctor, ask for recommendations on a fitness routine to improve your overall health.

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