Healthy and Sane

Sushi making… on a diet?

January 6th, 2011 · 37 Comments · sushi

Thank you all for your comments on my Elina vs. a diet post. I’m super determined and am ready to make a real change, not just wishing for it!

Last night I was invited to my friend Katie’s house to make sushi. Shannon was also in attendance. The three of us have been talking about this little sushi making party ever since I attended a sushi making class. Katie even had all the sushi making gear… yet it still took us nearly a year to do this. I suppose it’s better late than never!!

But first, we had to play with Hugo. It’s kind of hard to do any serious work with this little guy around!




I saw that, Shannon! hehe Who me? 

All right, ladies, I’m hungry. Let’s DO this!!

IMG_2648 IMG_2651

[Rinsing rice and cutting seafood]



All ready to roll!




I was somehow deemed the expert so I went first. I didn’t remember exactly hot to do it (should have consulted my own post first!) but honestly it’s kind of intuitive – we all did just fine!







Katie had this fancy nigiri rice former. Looks like a pill box but makes nigiri rice.


Such a cutie [spicy scallop nigiri]


Rolls, rolls and more rolls…




We got pretty funky with the rolls – combining scallops with salmon, cucumber and mango . This last roll above, I kind of went to town on – basically this has every veggie and seafood imaginable. And it was all delicious!

Here is what I learned though – each maki has a cup of rice!! I think sushi has the reputation of being healthy (and it is if you look at the ingredients – rice + fresh fish and veggies) but it’s a lot of calories packed into a little roll. You definitely have to be careful if you’re trying to shed a few pounds!

My strategy? I ate light during the day (because I ate more than enough the day before and wasn’t really hungry) – I was at 12 PointsPlus before dinner, which left me with plenty of wiggle room for the night. I also worked out during lunch and “earned” another 8 PointsPlus. There was wine, there was sushi – I didn’t count but I enjoyed every sip and bite and the company and I stopped when I was full (I probably ate 2 rolls + 1 nigiri and a few bites of seafood “straight up” – normally I’d eat at least double but I found that this was plenty when I actually listened to my hunger cues Smile ). If I stick to this plan every day, I’ll be in good shape! (no pun intended).




Do you love sushi? What’s your typical “serving size”? Are you ever conscious of calories when enjoying this Japanese snack food?

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37 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Daisy

    You guys did a fantastic job with the sushi! I’m very impressed. my typical serving size is probably 2 maki and 2 nigiri? Just a guess. I love sushi!!

    That dog is too cute, especially in the dishwasher.

  • #2 - Lauren

    So much fun! The finished rolls look great. I had NO idea that 1 roll has a whole cup of rice… yikes. I’d love to try making sushi with brown rice!

  • #3 - Michelle

    Your homemade sushi looks fabulous! Growing up with white rice at almost every dinner, I definitely know that there are a LOT of calories in rice. My theory is to do everything in moderation!

  • #4 - Tiffany

    I think the shrimp rolls looks yummy, but I’m still not sold on sushi; but I’m very sold on Hugo! What a cutie!

  • #5 - Lindsey

    I love sushi! My Dad taught me how to make it a few years ago. I’ll have to try to make shrimp rolls next, those look great! Whenever I go out to eat and get sushi, I usually eat 12 pieces, or 6 and a seaweed salad. But, I throw caution to the wind when I make it and don’t count the calories :)

  • #6 - Lauren at KeepItSweet

    I am very weird and don’t like rice at all (it is a texture thing). I get cucumber wrapped sushi at some places. They charge a little more but it is worth it because I’d rather that than just sashimi. It is labeled as “Naruto” on menus.

    • #7 - Elina

      That’s a really great lower calorie/carb option too! Although I do love sushi rice… I think one of each may be a good compromise :)

  • #8 - Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    What a fun evening! I def watch my portions with Japanese foods – you’re right, sushi is “tricky” and actually has a lot of calories! My game plan when eating at a Japanese restaurant is order edamame, a salad with fresh tuna, and a few pieces of sashimi or grilled seafood. It keeps me full and has more volume too!

  • #9 - Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    Wow, a whole cup!
    How much rice in each nigiri?

    • #10 - Elina

      I’m not sure – from a quick google search it looks like it’s typically 3/4 to 1 ounce of rice. Could be a fun experiment one day… also depends on how much you pack the rice in. :)

  • #11 - Christina

    Beautiful sushi pics! Such a cute dog :)

  • #12 - Shelly

    So you used raw fish? Where did you get it? I’m always really scared to make my own sushi with raw fish from the grocery- even from Whole Foods.

    • #13 - Elina

      You have to use sushi-grade seafood – it has to be fresh that day or be frozen with special sushi-grade standards. My friend Katie got it from a local shop specializing in sushi grade seafood – it was all amazing!! :)

  • #14 - christina

    your sushi came out really nice! it’s packed in so well! my sushi (the one time i made it) was falling out all over the place :)

  • #15 - Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    I still think sushi is a relatively healthy food. I think the key is sticking to one roll and filling up on something else (like salad, soup, etc.). I’m not a big fan of eating a bunch of rice, so I really can’t stomach too much sushi.

    • #16 - Elina

      Yeah, I definitely never even THOUGHT of eating only 1 roll. I will going forward. I love soup and salad and edamame and seaweed so there are plenty of “fillers” to still enjoy the meal. :)

  • #17 - Stephanie @cookinfanatic

    I LOVE sushi, but have never made it at home! Looks like so much fun :)

  • #18 - Maria @ Chasing the Now

    I love making sushi. My husband and I took a class here in Japan and it was so much fun. Try subbing the white rice out with brown to make it a little healthier.

    • #19 - Elina

      I’m definitely going to try brown rice next time. We figured it may be easier to do white for our very first attempt. :)

  • #20 - Meghan@travelwinedine

    Oh man. . . I have another dinner planned, but now I want to order sushi! I LOVE sushi, and haven’t made it in years. Looks like so much fun!

  • #21 - Anna S (History Running Girl)

    Now I really want sushi! I usually count Points Plus for it. I’ve never tried a raw fish kind, so I just get veggies.

    Now I want to make it too. Looks fun.

    • #22 - Elina

      I would definitely count next time as well… in fact I estimated this morning and it wasn’t even that bad… but I was talking and eating so who knows how much I really ate. Sushi can definitely fit into the WW plan! :)

  • #23 - alicia

    Your rolls look so pretty! I’m thinking about taking a sushi making class at sur la table in CT. I think you just helped me to decide!!

    Great post Elina!

  • #25 - janetha @ meals and moves

    hahahahahahahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh that PUP! in the dishwasHER>….so fabulous. the sushi looks great, too :)

  • #26 - Shannon

    hehe, what a fun night! and everything was delicious. hugo and i were in a stare-down, *thisclose* :) and i missed him in the dishwasher?!?! bummer. :)

  • #27 - Sues

    Oof a cup of rice is a lot!! I like to get my sushi with whole grain rice (not like that makes it alllll better). But it looks like you had so much fun!! I’m taking a sushi class with Chris, my sister, and her husband at the end of January and I can’t wait :)

  • #28 - Shannon

    ps- that’s why i went light on the rice, i’ve never been a fan of so much in rolls!

  • #30 - Diana (Soap & Chocolate)

    I am impressed! My meager efforts at sushi haven’t turned out super well, but I blame a lot on my knife. You can’t underestimate the power of a good knife! I have since gotten 2 great knives from Japan so I’m better off now – time to revisit sushi making! A cup of rice, though, wow. Definitely something to pay attention to.

  • #31 - annie

    your dog is toooo cute!!!

  • #32 - Kara

    Sushi is a special occasion thing for (the $$ and we just don’t go out to eat that often since the baby) so I order whatever I want. My favorite is the rainbow roll. I usually eat one larger roll and one smaller roll. Or 3 smaller rolls. And whatever my husband can’t finish.

    No, I never count calories, so it doesn’t worry me how much rice is in there :)

  • #33 - Kelly

    Sushi for me is more of a treat as I will confess I generally love the fushion rolls which have wackier ingredients and many of them are fried or creamy.

  • #34 - Lele

    I do have portion control problems with sushi. It never fills me up (whatever the portion I’m served, it seems small)! The calories vs. perceived portion is totally deceiving. The large bite sized pieces doesn’t help either (must get it all in before it falls apart!). I always swallow it down rather than savoring it. After a few bites, my dish is gone, and I feel like my appetite just opened up. It’s an extremely anxious experience for me (though delicious at the same time).

    For me it’s sashimi > sushi. Especially quality fresh salmon sashimi… Heaven in my mouth!

  • #35 - Lizzy

    I love making sushi!!! I have all the gear- I got it for my wedding. I’ve had two sushi making parties but not since I started blogging. I need to get on that. Looks like fun Elina!

  • #36 - Lauren at KeepItSweet

    Elina- wanted to let you know that I gave you the Stylish Blogger Award! Stop by the blog and check it out. I hope you’ll share 7 things with everyone!

  • #37 - Kerstin

    How fun! I’m so impressed and now craving sushi… :)