What To Eat At Itsu According To A Nutritionist

What To Eat At Itsu According To A Nutritionist

When it comes to buying your lunch, Itsu is high up the list. The menu celebrates Asian-inspired flavours, which are traditionally high in nutrients and refreshingly low in calories and saturated fat. Naturally some of the options at Itsu are healthier than others and to help you make the best choice possible, we’ve asked David Wiener, nutrition specialist at fitness app Freeletics, for his expert analysis on the dishes on offer...

Lean Chicken Machine 

What It Is: Poached British chicken with mixed leaves, pickled red cabbage, broccoli, edamame and sushi rice with spicy sesame satay sauce made with soy and tahini with a hint of chilli and lemon.

Calories: 276

Verdict: The addition of a poached chicken breast makes this a lean, low-fat dish. Broccoli is a great source of vitamin C and K and a very powerful antioxidant. Red cabbage is also loaded with antioxidants which fight a range of diseases. Sushi rice provides a clean source of energy and edamame is rich in fibre. 


Chicken Miso Greens Soup

What It Is: Miso-marinated British chicken with wholegrain brown rice, seasonal veg, ginger greens and miso soup.

Calories: 264

Verdict: The protein-packed, lean chicken breast in this low-fat soup will help you stay full, while wholegrain brown rice, which contains natural fibre as well as vitamin B6 and magnesium, will give you plenty of energy. Miso soup is rich in vitamins B, E and K and as a fermented food it provides the gut with healthy beneficial bacteria which could help boost immunity and promote overall wellbeing. On top of that, seasonal greens are full of minerals and antioxidants. 

Avo Baby Rolls

What It Is: Avocado rolled in nori.

Calories: 306

Verdict: This 306-calorie dish is made up of just rice, avocado and nori: it’s a no-brainier for those looking for a tasty yet sustainable energy boost. Vitamin C and E-rich avocado also contains folate which supports the immune system, while nori is packed with vitamin B.


Classic Fit Eggs 

What It Is: Two runny poached free-range eggs with miso soup, wakame and tofu.

Calories: 136

Verdict: Part of Itsu’s breakfast menu, this dish is primarily made of low-calorie, protein-rich eggs and is great for vegetarians. You can also choose to add spinach, which is a good source of vitamins K, A and C, folate, manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. 

Mixed Sashimi

What It Is: Omega 3-rich line-caught yellowfin tuna and sashimi-grade salmon sashimi on wakame, edamame and pickled ginger.

Calories: 355

Verdict: Containing tuna and salmon, this dish is not only packed with muscle-building and repairing protein, but also with omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to help ease inflammation, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of certain diseases. Wakame – a type of seaweed – is low in calories and rich in magnesium, while edamame beans are rich in fibre and antioxidants. This dish also helps towards your daily intake of copper, which aids the transportation of iron around the body.

Veggie Thai Soup

What It Is: Silken tofu, wholegrain brown rice, seasonal greens, pumpkin seeds and Thai-spiced coconut soup.

Calories: 410

Verdict: Tofu is a great source of protein containing all nine essential amino acids and is a brilliant plant-based source of iron, calcium and magnesium. The wholegrain rice in the soup adds additional fibre and the seasonal greens are packed with antioxidants and minerals. Pumpkin seeds are a source of antioxidants, magnesium and fatty acids, and the fibre- and vitamin C-rich coconut broth will also provide calcium and iron.

Well’Being Warrior Bento

What It Is: Biona organic quinoa burger, avocado, pumpkin seed and fresh veg salad and sushi rice with an optional pot of Itsu green herb dressing made with coriander, silken tofu and a hint of citrus.

Calories: 497

Verdict: This quinoa burger contains all nine essential amino acids. High in vitamin E, the seeds and avocado provide 36% (4.28mg) of your recommended daily intake. Sushi rice will help with energy levels and the functioning of the nervous system, and the range of greens contains all-important disease-fighting antioxidants. This dish also includes avocado, which provides healthy, monosaturated fats and omega 3.


Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl

What It Is: Miso-marinated British chicken with wholegrain brown rice, ginger greens, herbs, teriyaki sauce and sesame seed mix.

Calories: 589

Verdict: At 589 kcal a serving, this is on the higher end of the calorie scale when it comes to Itsu’s menu. Teriyaki sauce is high in sugar causing this dish to have nearly 20g per serving: over half the RDI for men (37.5g) and nearly all the daily allowance for women (25g). This complex carbohydrate-rich rice dish contains a whopping 86.9g of carbs, so is not one for those on low-calorie or low-carb diets. 


Chicken or Salmon Teriyaki ‘On A Bed’

What It Is: Grilled British chicken breast or poached salmon fillet with vegetable salad, sushi rice and teriyaki dressing.

Calories: 449/453

Verdict: This isn’t the healthiest dish on the menu for pretty much the same reasons as above. It’s the teriyaki sauce in general that I would avoid. A meal based mainly on stodgy rice and sweet sugar coated protein isn’t very balanced or healthy.


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