Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that is popular in the United States and around the globe (
It is commonly served in a roll shape that contains 6–8 pieces of sushi, depending on the type. The dish features a variety of cooked and raw seafood, vegetables, and rice wrapped in sheets of dried seaweed called nori.
Although sushi rolls are relatively small and often thought of as a weight loss-friendly food, they can have more calories and sodium than you might think.
This article discusses how many calories are in popular sushi rolls, sashimi, and nigiri so you can choose which types, if any, suit your health goals.
Also called surimi, imitation crab is made from a type of fish called pollock. Because pollock is low in mercury, the California roll is a safer option for those who are pregnant but still want to enjoy sushi (
Because imitation crab is precooked, this roll is also a great option for those who want to try sushi but are wary of eating raw fish.
Two to three pieces (100 grams) contain (
- Calories: 93
- Protein: 2.9 grams
- Carbs: 18.4 grams
- Fat: 0.7 grams
- Sodium: 428 mg, or around 18% of the Daily Value (DV)
Spicy tuna and salmon rolls
These rolls are made with white rice with vinegar, avocado, cucumber, sesame seeds, and a chili sauce that adds a kick of flavor and spice.
They contain either raw tuna or salmon. In Japanese, raw fish is called sashimi.
Two to three pieces (100 grams) of spicy tuna roll contain (
- Calories: 175
- Protein: 7.5 grams
- Carbs: 16.7 grams
- Fat: 7.5 grams
- Sodium: 217 mg, or 9% of the DV
Two to three pieces (100 grams) of spicy salmon roll contain (
- Calories: 190
- Protein: 6 grams
- Carbs: 24 grams
- Fat: 6 grams
- Sodium: 330 mg, or 13.6% of the DV
Shrimp tempura roll
“Tempura” is a Japanese term that indicates that a food — seafood, meat, or vegetables — is lightly battered and deep-fried.
For this roll, shrimp is dipped in a batter of flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs; deep-fried; and served with an accompanying tempura sauce made of soy sauce, sugar, and a type of rice wine called mirin.
Shrimp tempura is another great sushi option if you prefer cooked seafood to raw or prefer crispy textures.
Two to three pieces (100 grams) of shrimp tempura contain (
- Calories: 175
- Protein: 3.7 grams
- Carbs: 28 grams
- Fat: 5.9 grams
- Sodium: 421 mg, or 17% of the DV
Although sushi is best known as a dish that contains raw fish, there are many varieties to choose from, including vegetarian options.
Two to three pieces of avocado roll (100 grams) contain (
- Calories: 140
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 24.8 grams
- Fat: 3.7 grams
- Sodium: 483 mg, or 20% of the DV
The rainbow roll can be considered a more adventurous sushi dish, as it combines imitation crab with raw seafood like tuna, salmon, tilapia, or shrimp.
It also contains avocado, cucumber, mayonnaise, and sesame seeds, all wrapped in seaweed and served with wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce.
Two to three pieces (100 grams) of rainbow roll contain (
- Calories: 146
- Protein: 7.3 grams
- Carbs: 17 grams
- Fat: 5.7 grams
- Sodium: 301 mg, or 12.5% of the DV
Two to three pieces (100 grams) of Philadelphia roll contain (
- Calories: 170
- Protein: 7 grams
- Carbs: 20.5 grams
- Fat: 6.5 grams
- Sodium: 285 mg, or around 12% of the DV
Salmon avocado roll
This roll is made with raw salmon.
Mashed avocado is rolled up with raw salmon, white rice, sushi vinegar, avocado, pickled ginger, sesame seeds, seaweed, and lettuce (
Two to three pieces (100 grams) of salmon avocado roll contain (
- Calories: 179
- Protein: 5.8 grams
- Carbs: 30 grams
- Fat: 4.6 grams
- Sodium: 357 mg, or around 15% of the DV
There are several varieties of dragon roll sushi, including vegetarian options and versions made with eel.
There is a notable difference in ingredients and calories between packaged dragon roll sushi and freshly made versions from a restaurant. For the most accurate information, make sure to read any available nutrition tables on restaurant menus or product packages.
Generally, 100 grams (2 to 3 pieces) of prepackaged dragon roll sushi with eel and imitation crab may contain (
- Calories: 175
- Protein: 4.8 grams
- Carbs: 20.6 grams
- Fat: 7.9 grams
- Sodium: 397 mg, or 16.5% of the DV
It features a variety of sauces, including spicy chili sauce, a blend of burdock and soy sauce known as gobo, and a type of soy sauce called ponzu (
Two to three pieces (100 grams) of cucumber roll contain (
- Calories: 78
- Protein: 4 grams
- Carbs: 5 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Sodium: 319 mg, or 13.3% of the DV
Spider roll is a type of cooked sushi made with tempura soft-shell crab and spicy mayonnaise rolled in vinegared rice and nori seaweed.
Half a spider roll (around 100 grams) contains (13):
- Calories: 214
- Protein: 6.5 grams
- Carbs: 16.5 grams
- Fat: 13.5 grams
- Sodium: 373 mg, or 16% of the DV
Sashimi is rice-free sushi. It consists of thinly sliced raw fish served with wasabi and soy sauce. The most common sashimi types are raw tuna and salmon.
Given that this type of sushi is neither fried nor served with high fat ingredients like mayonnaise or cream cheese, it’s lower in calories and carbs than most other types.
For instance, 100 grams of salmon sashimi contains (
- Calories: 127
- Protein: 20.5 grams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Fat: 4.4 grams
- Sodium: 75 mg, or 3.2% of the DV
Nigiri is a type of sushi that is not rolled. Instead, it’s served as a thin slice of raw fish on top of a small bed of rice. A small piece of wasabi is often placed between the rice and the fish, and the fish may be topped with pickled ginger.
Other varieties of nigiri include cooked shrimp or eel in place of raw fish. Like sashimi, nigiri is lower in calories than many other types of sushi.
One hundred grams (two pieces) of tuna nigiri contain (15):
- Calories: 117
- Protein: 15 grams
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
- Sodium: 26 mg, or 1.1% of the DV
Traditional Japanese sushi dishes contain minimal ingredients and are generally low in calories.
However, popular westernized adaptations of sushi often have high fat ingredients and sauces that make them higher in calories.
Here are some simple ways to make your next sushi night healthier:
- Choose alternative grains. Though these options are not as popular, some restaurants offer sushi made with brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice. This can boost the fiber and nutrition content of your meal.
- Go rice-free. Sashimi is a rice-free, low calorie option. If raw fish is not a deterrent for you, this may be the healthiest choice.
- Get soy sauce on the side. Soy sauce is high in sodium, and excess sodium intake in linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Instead of covering your sushi in soy sauce, keep the sauce on the side and lightly dip for some flavor (
- Choose low fat. Tempura sushi and sushi made with mayonnaise and cream cheese are higher in calories. You can opt to have these less often than lower fat alternatives.
- Focus on sides. Sushi is often served with sides like pickled ginger, wasabi, miso soup, and edamame beans. Explore various tastes and textures with these sides, and don’t rely only on soy sauce for flavor.
- Choose fresh whenever possible. Freshly made sushi often has fewer ingredients than packaged sushi. For example, packaged types often contain additives to improve their quality and safety and prolong their shelf life.
Sushi is a popular Japanese dish made with raw and cooked seafood, vegetables, rice, and seaweed.
Although traditional Japanese sushi contains just a few ingredients and is low in calories, many adaptations of the dish contain high fat ingredients and are therefore higher in calories.
Per 100 grams of sushi — typically equaling 2 to 3 pieces — calories range from 93 to 190, with vegetarian, rice-free, and non-fried options being lower in calories.
In addition to considering the fat and calorie content, keep an eye on the sodium to make sure you keep your daily intake within recommendations.
Just one thing
Try this today: The next time you order sushi, keep soy sauce on the side and lightly dip your sushi pieces instead of drizzling with soy sauce. This can help reduce your sodium intake.