Why do Bostonians love sushi? It’s trendy, affordable, creates a sexy ambiance, and offers a variety of exotic flavors to tickle the tastebuds. Contrary to the “uber-healthy food belief,” sushi can be a diet demon when ingredients such as tempura, spicy sauces, and imitation meats come into the mix. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing better than a fresh, spicy roll loaded with colorful sauces hitting the palate. With Bostonians becoming more mindful of healthy eating, they turn to sushi for a nutritious option. So, where do we go wrong when uttering our order?

Take TEMPURA, oozing with flavors. Also oozing with artery-clogging saturated fat, and adds hundreds of “nutritious-less” calories to a single roll. Tempura is a batter comprised of flour, eggs, baking soda, baking powder, starch, oil, and spices. This batter coats selected vegetables and fish, and then deep-fried in hot oil and served on your plate. There is no need to de-healthify your fish when you can order it just as delish! Instead of the 550 calorie Spicy Shrimp Tempura Roll (shrimp, tempura, tobikko, rice, scallion & spicy sauce), save over 300 calories by ordering a Cooked Shrimp roll (cooked shrimp, cucumber, avocado, rice).

SPICY SAUCES tend to drizzle over many sushi plates. Most sauces are mayonnaise-based, contain 11g of fat, and add over 100 calories per dish! Can’t help yourself? Choose the 290 calorie Spicy Tuna roll over the 380 cal Spicy Shrimp roll.

IMITATION MEATS are used to stuff some of your favorite rolls, such as those containing crab meat and lobster. The processed ingredients used to mold the imitation meat are higher in carbs and sugar, and lower in protein. Real meat is rich in omega-3 fatty acids – important for brain functioning and lowering cholesterol. In the popularly ordered California Roll (250 cal), restaurants may use imitation crab. Make sure to request the REAL MEAT for a high-protein, nutrient-rich, delicious roll.

AT Boston’s finest. These nutritious, mouth-watering rolls are high in protein and omega-3s; while being low in fat, cholesterol, and carbs. A couple to try; Douzo’s “Back Bay Roll” (Asparagus, cucumber, avocado, seared tuna with touch of wasabi sauce and wasabi tobiko) and Oiishi’s “Oishii Sashimi Maki” (Bluefin Tuna, king salmon, yellowtail, mutzu wrapped in cucumber).

Stay on track by choosing vegetable-based sushi and fishes that are naturally lean, such as white fish. Steer clear of the fried and battered foods, and heavy sauces.

Sushi can be great for the mind, body, and soul. Never deprive, but be mindful. Sip sake (equally partnered with waters, of course), slowly nibble on a roll or two, and enjoy the whole sushi experience!