Why Is Sushi So Filling? Read this First!

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When I am extremely hungry after a long day at work, my go-to food is usually sushi. It not only fills up my growling stomach but also comforts my mind. I usually order about 2-3 sushi rolls and by the time the third one arrives, I am almost full!

So, why is sushi so filling? I believe it’s partly due to sushi rice which is loaded with carbohydrates and when seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar, it feels heavier. When paired up fish, meat, vegetables or fruits, there’s a lot going into the stomach, and after a few rounds, you are sure to feel fuller.

I know some people who complain that they feel hungry after a sushi dinner, but that’s probably due to the wrong choice of rolls. White rice can be filling for the time being but make you hungry soon afterward and crave for simple carbs. So, it’s essential that the other ingredients keep you full for longer.

If you are watching weight I would suggest that you order rolls that contain brown rice as they are more filling and you will not be hungry soon. A simple maki roll may not be a satisfying lunch option when you haven’t eaten anything since morning. So, when you are too hungry, consider getting a sushi bowl (chirashizushi ) or fried sushi rolls.


Ingredients That Make Sushi So Filling

Some foods react differently from others on the satiety scale, which can be used as an index to measure the feeling of fullness. A study showed that filling foods tend to have a higher level of protein content. Another important constituent is fiber, which helps in slows down the rate at which you feel hungry.

There are some foods that contain a higher percentage of water or air, which also helps in making you feel more satiated. Let’s take a look at the ingredients commonly present in sushi and the role they play in making you feel fuller.

#1. Fish


Fish is an integral part of sushi and it is known to be packed with high-quality protein. It also has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which are the good fats needed by the body. As per one study, it was shown the omega-3 fatty acids can help obese people feel fuller for longer and thus eat less.

Some sources also indicate that protein found in fish play a major role in making you feel fuller than other types of protein. When compared with the protein found in beef and chicken, fish protein scores higher in terms of satiety level.

#2. Meat

Food Japanese Teriyaki Chicken

While salmon, tuna and shrimp sushi may ride the popularity wave, non-traditional sushi rolls containing teriyaki chicken, beef, and pork are also much sought after. Lean meats are rich in protein, and when they are used in sushi along with vinegared rice, the dish becomes extremely filling.

Beef has a strong effect on the satiety level and it is considered as the second most protein-rich food after fish. For example, if you are eating a sushi roll containing roasted beef, you will be fuller after just one roll, while you can easily eat 2-3 vegetable rolls and still have room for some more.

#3. Vegetables

Besides fish, seafood, and meat, vegetables are also an important ingredient in sushi. There are some incredibly popular sushi rolls that only contain vegetable fillings such as cucumber, red bell peppers, carrots, scallions, spinach, eggplant tempura, sweet potato tempura, pickled daikon radish, and so on.

Vegetables are not only extremely nutritious, but they are also loaded with a good amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, and other plant compounds. They are the high-volume foods that are low in calories, hence they can make you feel fuller.

Some vegetables contain higher amounts of fiber and water that aids in bulking up the meal, which in return escalates the satiety scale pretty fast. Furthermore, the vegetables take time to chew so you spend more time enjoying the flavors in your mouth.

#3. Cottage cheese

Many sushi rolls contain cheese slices along with fish and vegetables to add creamy and rich flavors to the dish. While cottage cheese is low in carbs and fat, they have a higher content of protein which again makes the sushi roll filling.

So, if you are too hungry, order a sushi roll that contains cottage cheese slices. They are often paired up with smoked salmon, tuna or veggies to make a satisfying meal. 

#4. Fruits

Strawberries Fruit Strawberry Grape Food Grapes

I know some people only think fish when they hear sushi, so this will come as a surprise for them. Sushi contains some of the most exotic fruits and they can be blended with seasoned rice in the most unique ways to create vegan alternatives.

Fruits have a low energy-density and they are rich in fiber, which helps in slowing down the digestion process. Hence, they help you stay full for longer. Some inside-out sushi rolls may contain an entire avocado cut into slices and layered on the top beside the fillings present inside.

Some of the common types of fruits found in sushi rolls are avocado, strawberry, kiwi, apple, watermelon, mango, pineapple, and so on.

#5. Quinoa

Quinoa is often used as a healthier substitute for sushi rice, and it is known to be a great source of protein. The seeds/ grains contain all types of essential amino acids, hence they are a complete and wholesome meal.

Quinoa also contains more fiber content than other types of grains. The high protein and fiber percentage together play a role in making you feel fuller even if you consume less calories.

Types Of Sushi That Are More Filling

When you are not looking for a light snack but more satisfying lunch or dinner, here are the types of sushi rolls that can be more filling than others. Order these when you are in a sushi restaurant and you will come out feeling full and satiated.

Shrimp tempura sushi roll

Fried foods are always on the heavier side and the crunchy shrimp tempura along with other fillings like avocado and cucumber create an extremely filling treat. Besides being a savory roll that you can order at the sushi restaurant, it is also a fun recipe you can try at home.

If you are a vegetarian, substitute shrimp tempura with eggplant tempura or sweet potato tempura. I have created an article that contains step-by-step instructions on how to prepare tempura sushi roll at home.

Philadelphia Roll

This exotic sushi roll brings you the best of flavors from the sea and land. Sushi rice, smoked salmon, avocado, cucumber, cream cheese, and masago make this as extremely filling delicacy. If you are a vegan, you may substitute smoked salmon with baked carrots.

Spider Roll

This is another satisfying and filling sushi roll that contains soft shell crabs cooked in butter, avocado slices, and cucumber strips. When you are too hungry, 2-3 spider rolls can make you feel fuller for longer. Drizzle the sushi roll with a rich and creamy sauce for a more satisfying meal.

Shaggy dog roll

Although this is not a traditional sushi roll, you will find it in most western sushi restaurants. It contains a perfect combination of sushi rice, avocado cucumber, shrimp tempura, crab meat or surimi, mayo, and sriracha sauce to build up the satiety level.

Vegan sushi rolls

If you thought veggie sushi rolls are lighter than their fish/ seafood/ meat counterparts then think again. There are a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and other vegan items that can be used in sushi rolls. Some common fillings are tofu, cheese, shitake mushroom, natto (fermented beans), and so on.


Inari Sushi

Some people complain that they don’t find sushi so filling and I suggest them to try inari sushi other than the above-mentioned sushi rolls. Inarizushi is fried tofu pouches that contain seasoned rice, and they are more filling than the humble maki or uramaki rolls.

5 Tips To Enjoy A More Filling Sushi Meal

#1. When eating at a sushi restaurant, remember to order a few side dishes along with your sushi roll to enjoy a more filling meal. The side dishes may include boiled or steamed edamame, vegetable tempura, miso soup, and sake.

#2. Conclude your sushi meal by ordering a few desserts such as green tea ice cream, mocha ice cream, sorbet, fresh fruits, fluffy tamagoyaki, or red bean ice cream. Just go with whatever is available on the menu and your meal with be more satisfying.

#3. If you are the kind of person who can’t get full easily, try the all-you-can-eat sushi. Check out which sushi restaurants in your city offer an AYCE menu (some may offer it on special days or specific hours of the day). This is the best way to gorge on as much sushi as you like.

#4. Another good option to enjoy a filling sushi meal is to skip the trip to a restaurant and go to the nearest Asian grocery store instead. Get the ingredients needed to make sushi at home and put on your chef cap. If you are still hungry after 2-3 sushi rolls, you may eat leftover sushi rice with the remaining fillings as a sushi bowl.

#5. If you wish to enjoy sushi that not only fills your stomach but also gives you an enriching experience then try an Omakase or Kaiseki meal. An omakase course may consist of 20 different types of sushi that are creatively designed by the sushi chef. Kaiseki is a traditional sushi meal that has a pre-planned menu comprising of 6-15 different courses. Read more about the differences between omakase and Kaiseki here.

Related Questions

What drinks can you enjoy with sushi?

Sushi is all about balancing different types of flavors without letting anyone overpower the other. Some of the best drinks you can enjoy with sushi are crisp whites, champagne, Japanese beer, rice wine (sake), or green tea. For more:Best Drink For Sushi : The Beginner’s Guide

Where can you find sushi-grade fish?

If you are planning to cook sushi at home, always buy sushi-grade fish from a trusted fishmonger who understands the meaning of ‘sushi-grade’. You may also purchase from the supermarket or get it online from Catalina Offshore Products, my go-to source for fish and seafood.

Can I eat sushi the next day?

If you have leftover sushi rice and fillings from a dinner or sushi party, you may eat it next day provided that they are stored correctly. I have created an article that explains the shelf life of different ingredients used in sushi and tips for proper storing.

See Also:
Can You Make Sushi with Supermarket Fish?
Why Is Sushi Ginger Pink? (Detailed Explanation)
Is Sushi Chinese Or Japanese Food? (Detailed Explanation)
Is Sushi Halal Or Haram? Read This First!