7 Healthiest Foods at Japanese Restaurants

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Japanese food is so tasty (and healthy!), but some Japanese foods are healthiest than others.

What are the healthiest foods at a Japanese restaurant?

If you are searching for the healthiest food to order at a Japanese restaurant, continue reading to find the best (and worst) food to order.

Note: The recommendations on what to eat at Japanese restaurants are based on the nutritional information from Benihana and the nutritional information from Japanese recipes online.

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Healthiest Food at a Japanese Restaurant

Basically, all Japanese healthy food is healthy, but some options are better than others.

Below are the healthiest foods to order at a Japanese restaurant.  

1. Tuna or Salmon Sashimi – 50-100 Calories Per Piece

salmon and tuna sashima
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Sashimi is thin slices of raw fish served without rice. Sashimi is high in protein (20-30 grams of protein per 100 grams), making it nutritious and filling.

Sashimi is also a good source of healthy omega-three fatty acids, keto-friendly, and gluten-free. (Just make sure to skip the sauces.)

Between sashimi or nigiri, sashimi is the better option because you are skipping the white rice.

2. Nigiri – 40-80 Calories Per Piece

Salmon Nigiri
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Nigiri is slices of raw fish placed on top of rice.

Tuna, salmon, albacore, eel, shrimp, and octopus nigiri are all low in calories and relatively high in protein.

All types of nigiri are relatively low in calories, but these types of nigiri tend to be lower in calories:

  • Tuna nigiri (lowest in calories)
  • Yellowtail
  • Squid
  • Shrimp
  • Scallop

The only problem with nigiri is that it is made with white rice, which isn’t particularly nutrient-rich or filling.

3. Tuna Roll ~ 250 Calories

The number of calories in a tuna roll can vary from 210 calories to 400 calories.

At Benihana, a tuna roll has 200 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fat.

Because tuna is a low-calorie fish, you really can’t go wrong with a tuna roll at any Japanese restaurant.

4. Salmon Roll ~ 300 Calories

Like a tuna roll, a salmon roll is a healthy food to order at Japanese restaurants.

A salmon roll has more calories than a tuna roll, but that’s because salmon has healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

A salmon roll at Benihana has 250 calories and 14 grams of protein.

5. California Roll ~ 330 Calories Per Roll

California roll at Japanese restaurant
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A California roll is made with rice, seaweed, imitation crab, avocado, and cucumbers. A California roll at Benihana has 330 calories, 13 grams of protein, and only 6 grams of fat.

6. Chicken Teriyaki ~ 370 Calories

chicken teriyaki at Japanese restaurant
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Chicken teriyaki is usually white rice, chicken, and a sweet sauce.

Most chicken teriyaki dishes have about 370 calories.

Chicken teriyaki is usually high in protein (around 52 grams), which will keep you full. 

7. Rainbow Roll ~ 430 Calories

A rainbow roll is a type of sushi roll made with colorful ingredients (like a rainbow!).

A rainbow roll usually has avocado, cucumber, salmon, tuna, and yellowtail.

At Benihana, a rainbow roll has 430 calories and 25 grams of protein.

Tips for Ordering Healthy Food at Japanese Restaurants

If you want to eat healthy at a Japanese restaurant, you really can’t go wrong with sushi rolls or sashimi.

Order sushi rolls with brown rice (if available) and order sushi rolls made with salmon or ahi tuna.

Avoid sushi rolls made with shrimp tempura or mayonnaise.  

Basically, any kind of sashimi at a Japanese restaurant will be low in calories. Order as much sashimi as you’d like!

Low-Calorie Appetizers at Japanese Restaurants

miso soup low calorie appetizer at Japanese restaurant
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Japanese restaurants have so many low-calorie appetizers to choose from!

Below are low-calorie appetizers to order at a Japanese restaurant with the estimated calories. 

Miso Soup – 35 Calories

Cucumber Salad – 45 Calories

Tuna Sashimi – 50 Calories

Seaweed Salad – 110 Calories

Edamame – 120 Calories

Sources: Benihana Nutritional Information and My Fitness Pal

Healthiest Drink to Order at a Japanese Restaurant

Love to get an alcoholic beverage while dining out?

If yes, you are in luck if you are watching calories while dining out at a Japanese restaurant.

The traditional Japanese drink, sake, only has about 60 calories per shot.

If you don’t want to order sake, go with a low-calorie glass of wine.

Many Japanese restaurants also serve tea, which is a zero-calorie beverage at a Japanese restaurant.

Foods to Avoid at Japanese Restaurants (High-Calorie Foods)

tempura vegetables
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The good thing about Japanese food is that it is relatively low in calories, even at large chains like Benihana.

For example, even the Teriyaki Chicken entrée at Benihana only has 370 calories. Similarly, the Hibachi Steak only has 230 calories.

If the Japanese restaurant has tempura vegetables, avoid the tempura. Tempura is usually deep-fried and high in calories.

Frequently Asked Questions About Calories in Japanese Food

Below are some common questions about the calories and nutritional information in Japanese food.

How many calories are in a Japanese sweet potato?

Japanese sweet potatoes (AKA Satsumaimo) are slightly different than “normal” sweet potatoes.

Japanese sweet potatoes are a little bit sweeter. Japanese sweet potatoes are also redder/purple in color and are yellow on the inside vs. orange on the inside.  

An average Japanese sweet potato has about 260 calories and 4.5 grams of fiber.

In contrast, a sweet potato has about 165 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber.

How many calories are in Japanese ramen?

Most Japanese ramen has between 450 calories and 550 calories in a bowl. Depending on the ingredients, Japanese ramen may have up to 800 calories or more.

How many calories are in Japanese curry?

Japanese curry
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The number of calories in a Japanese curry really depends on whether it is made with vegetables, chicken, or beef. And of course, it depends on how much oil is used.

Most Japanese curry dishes have between 450 and 550 calories.

How many calories are in a Japanese bento box?

The number of calories in a bento box can vary greatly. Bento boxes usually have rice, protein (such as chicken, fish, or tofus), and a variety of vegetables and pickled side dishes.

The bento boxes from Sarku Japan have between 800 and 950 calories in a bento box.

In contrast, a healthy bento box may only have 430-600 calories.

How many calories are in Japanese fried rice?

Japanese fried rice, AKA hibachi fried rice, has about 200-30 calories per cup.

How many calories are in Japanese cheesecake?

The number of calories in one slice of Japanese cheesecake depends on the recipe.

Some Japanese cheesecakes have as little as 125 calories per slice whereas other Japanese cheesecake recipes have about 450 calories in a slice.

How many calories are in Japanese mayonnaise?

Japanese mayonnaise is made with soybean oil, rapeseed oil, vinegar, and egg yolk as the main ingredients.

Japanese mayonnaise has about 100 calories per tablespoon, which is slightly more than normal mayonnaise, like Hellmann’s mayonnaise (90 calories per tablespoon).

Summary – Healthiest Japanese Food

In summary, the healthiest foods to order at a Japanese restaurant are sashimi, nigiri, and sushi with salmon or tuna.

Japanese food is usually low in calories and high in protein.

If you stay away from food with the word “deep fried” or “fried” at a Japanese restaurant, you can rest assured that the entrees and appetizers will be relatively low in calories and healthy.

More Healthy Eating Guides

How to Eat Healthy at Popular Restaurants

Healthy Foods to Eat

Low-Calorie Foods for Weight Loss

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