Dine Lite: 10 Tips to Dining Asian

Everyone talks about sushi being healthy, but no one ever talks about actually knowing how many calories are actually in their favorite Japanese food. After doing some extensive googling, I was disappointed to find very few Asian restaurants offered nutritional information. Then I looked at calorie counting sites to see what they had to say. It became quite clear that information on most of the popular sites were not very accurate.

Liar Liar Pants on Fire
As you can see in this screen shot (right), information was all over the place – from 260 calories to 643 calories per serving. Or how about the 2 calorie per serving option (obviously incorrect and incomplete). Bottom line: You can’t trust everything you see online and the better it looks, the more likely it isn’t right.

And what is a serving anway? Many calorie counting sites say “1 serving” but they don’t say how many ounces that is and you don’t know if there are multiple servings in one full dish or not. One site listed one serving as 2/5 of the entrée. Who is going to eat 2/5 of their meal? Really?!?!?!?!?!?

Then I looked up Fried Wontons. Answers ranged from 53 calories to 181 calories for ONE. I’ve had little wontons and huge wontons, so I can see where that would vary, but without a reference, how am I supposed to find an equivalent? Then one site said one serving size fed 20 people. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never ordered wontons that could serve 20 people.

Help is Coming!
So, I spent all day researching, adding calories, checking the mat and looking at ingredients so I could put together a list of popular items. Of course I didn’t add a ton of fried food or things that clearly wouldn’t be a good choice (like General Tso’s chicken, which was over 13,000 calories) but I did throw in a few meals to reference so you could get a clear picture of the reality behind making good choices. Plus I added 10 tips to dining Asian. Enjoy!


10 Healthy Tips to Dining Asian:

1. Avoid Tempura items (many times you can order it non-tempura)

2. Ask for sauces, dressings and toppings (like spicy mayo on the side)

3. Choose green – the soy sauce with the green lid I mean (low-sodium)

4. Drink TONS of water during and after the meal to help flush the sodium so you don’t wake up with swollen ankles and puffy eyes.

5. Don’t be afraid to share. Split a salad, meal & sushi roll to add more variety without adding too many more calories.

6. Skip the rice. If your meal comes with rice, only use a teeny bit or ski it altogether. The tasty stuff is the rest of the meal anyway!

7. Invite friends. You can taste more things without having to order a ton for only 2 people if you go with a group of friends and all share. This way you could have a little Pad Thai, a couple of pieces of sushi roll, a spring roll and some edamame without feeling like you have to go straight the gym afterwards to work it off.

8. Stick to white meat. Order chicken or white fish to reduce fat calories.

9. Do the math BEFORE you eat. Plan exactly what, and how much, you are going to eat before you take your first bite.

10. Sip on some hot tea. Instead of ordering a million appetizers, order a cup of tea and let the hot tea entertain your tongue until your main course arrives.

Popular Sushi & Asian Cuisine: 

Ginger Salad                  
170 cal 1p 5c 16f

Seaweed Salad
140 cal 2p 20c 8f 

Miso Soup                       
85 cal 3.5p 11c 3f

Edamame  1c (half a serving)                     
130 cal 12p 12c 6f

1 veggie spring roll           
79 cal 2p 13.9c 2.5f 

Egg Roll 4”                      
250 cal 10p 18c 15f

Fried Wonton (1)           
55 cal 4p 4c 3f

Crab Wontons (8)           
622 cal 20p 53c 38f 

Sishami (fish only)
Ranges from 40-70 calories per piece

California roll
255 cal 9p 38c 7f

Imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, rice, nori, wasabi

spicy tuna roll           
290 cal 24p 26c 11f
spicy tuna, cucumber, rice, nori, wasabi 

Philly Roll                       
350 cal 15p 40g 14f
Smoked salmon, avocado, cream cheese, rice, nori, wasabi 

Dynamite Roll           
370 cal 15p 60c 9f
A tuna roll (with rice inside out) with spicy mayo sauce on top 

Spider Roll                      
533 cal 29p 53c 24f
Soft Shell Crab Tempura Fried, rice, nori, wasabi

Shrimp Tempura            
580 cal 20p 64c 21f
Shrimp tempura, rice, nori, wasabi

Dragon Roll                       
643 cal 22p 63c 34f
Eel, avocado, cucumber, rice, nori, unagi (eel) sauce

Chicken Pad Thai           
1025 cal 70p 100c 40f

Coconut Curry Chicken
775 cal 60p 45c 37.5

Beef & Broccoli           
900 cal 75p 37.5c 45f (rice NOT included) 

Chicken & Broccoli           
525 cal 62.5p 37.5c 17.5f (rice NOT included) 

Chicken Fried Rice
950 cal 62.5p 112.5c 22.5f 

Teriyaki Chicken & Rice 
875 cal 55p 120c 12.5 

Brown Rice (bowl)          
525 cal 12.5p 112.5c 3.5f 

1tbsp Spicy Mayo           
110 cal 0p .05c 10.5f 

Fortune Cookie           
30 calories

How to piece together a hearty meal for 650 calories or less.
Miso Soup & 1/2 Chicken & Broccoli (no rice): 347.5 calories
Miso Soup & Spicy Tuna Roll: 375 calories
Ginger Salad, Miso Soup & 4 pieces of Sishami (yellowfin tuna): 455 calories
Ginger Salad, ½ Edamame & Spicy Tuna Roll: 650 calories
1 Spring Roll, miso soup, California roll and ½ tuna roll: 564 calories
Miso Soup and ½ Chicken Pad Thai with no rice: 597.5 calories
Philly Roll and Tuna Roll: 640 calories
Miso soup, ½ coconut curry and ½ Philly roll: 646 calories
Get creative – add up your own favorites!

NOTE: The above information is from a variety of resources and should just be used as a reference to give you a better idea of how to order. All restaurants have their own recipes and serving sizes so information will definitely vary.

KUDOS to Pei Wei restaurant for being one of the few restaurants that posted nutritional information on their site.

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About Bonnie Pfiester

Fitness Columnist and Lifestyle Coach, Resident Trainer for Designer Whey, Fitness Advisor for FitStudio, powered by Sears, FitFluential Ambassador and Owner of Max Fitness Club, home of BCx Boot Camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

Posted on November 10, 2011, in Diet & Nutrition Tips, PFOODIE, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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