Everything You Need To Know About The Poke Bowl Trend: A Nutritionist Explains
If you haven't heard of poke yet, you will soon. It's one of the biggest trends to come on to the culinary scene this year—and it's perfect for summer.
Pronounced poh-kay, this raw fish salad is typically served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. Poke is the Hawaiian verb for "slice" or "cut," so it often includes either small cuts of fresh tuna or octopus. Typically, poke is seasoned with soy sauce, scallions, and sesame oil. It might also include a variety of other seasonings, such as wasabi, seaweed, and chili pepper.
So, why should you try this fishy new food trend? As a registered dietitian, and here are five reasons I recommend poke:
1. It's a nutritional rock star.
Poke is one of freshest, tastiest, healthiest new food trends around. You can consume 4 ounces of poke for just under 150 calories, only 5 grams of fat, and 24 grams of protein. Not only is it naturally low in calories, but it also usually doesn’t come with rice. Unlike sushi, poke is served with a variety of veggies and fresh marinades. Glutinous rice and mayonnaise need not apply.
2. Your heart will thank you.
Poke delivers those important heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help to protect your heart and reduce the risk of death from heart disease by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate and improving other cardiovascular risk factors.
Fish intake also has also been linked to a lower risk of stroke, depression, and mental decline as we age. Consuming poke regularly also will keep you in line with the American Heart Association’s recommendation1 to consume fish at least twice a week.
3. It will protect your pocketbook.
Less expensive than a pricey sushi dish, you can walk away with a bill for less than $15 and be quite satisfied from your poke bowl full of fresh fish and crunchy veggies.
4. Poke prep takes no time at all.
With our need for speed in the preparation department, especially during warm summer days, poke is a winner. It requires minimal cutting of fresh fish and greens, a quick mix of your favorite spices, and voilà: Dinner is served without even having to turn on the oven.
5. You can travel the world with this dish from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Many different spices can be used to season your dish, so make poke any way you crave it. The variety of spices can take you to Hawaii, Japan, China, and India without even having to leave home.
For more healthy bowl ideas and recipes, check out our Super Bowl Sunday series.
Amy Margulies, R.D. CDE LDN is a licensed dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Retrofit, a leading provider of weight-management and disease-prevention programs. She has been teaching clients about healthy eating for nearly 25 years. She has a B.S. in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Wisconsin. Margulies is a marathoner and triathlete herself, always focusing on keeping the balance of training, racing and proper nutrition. When she's not on the trails, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, biking and laughing.