For the past couple years, Hawaiian food has been one of the top food trends. Fusion cuisine was practically created in Hawaii, when traditional Pacific Islander dishes were influenced by immigration from different Asian countries, Portugal, and from mainland United States to create a cuisine unlike any other. Think poi (fermented mashed taro), saimin (a noodle soup similar to ramen), and spam musubi (sushi).
The easiest way to enjoy the Hawaiian food trend (other than eating Luvo’s Hawaiian unfried rice) is at one of the many poke shops popping up all over the nation’s cities. Served all over Hawaii, poke is a raw fish salad, traditionally made with ahi tuna tossed with onions and a soy-sesame dressing. In Hawaii, there are many different types of poke made from a variety of seafood (octopus is popular!) and dressings. In the mainland, poke shops mainly serve poke bowls, big bowls of rice topped with a generous scoop of poke and your choice of toppings.
You’ll be happy to know, poke bowls are not only addictively tasty, but also a nutritious way to celebrate the Hawaiian food trend, especially when it’s piled high with nutrient-packed toppings! Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you’ll find in your poke bowl.
Salmon/Tuna: The two most popular fish used in poke bowls are salmon and tuna, two fatty fish that are rich in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown eating omega 3 rich fish regularly can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve cognitive health.
Brown Rice: Choose brown rice over white for a fiber rich carbohydrate to fuel you through the day! Brown rice is also a good source of selenium, magnesium and phosphorus.
Nori: Nori is a type of seaweed that’s used for sushi, but also sprinkled over poke bowls as a garnish or tossed into the dressing. Although the portion size isn’t enough for it to be a significant source of nutrients, a nori garnish still contains a nice dose of vitamin A and C, calcium and protein. It’s is also a rich source of iodine, a mineral that plays a critical role in thyroid health.
Edamame: Protein rich edamame is often served as a topper for poke bowls. Research suggests isoflavone rich foods, like soybeans, may reduce the risk of breast cancer
Sesame Seeds: Besides being packed with nutty flavor, sesame seeds are also packed with minerals. Two tablespoons of sesame seeds is considered a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium.
Avocado: It might cost an extra dollar, but don’t forget a chunk of avocado on the side! The monounsaturated fat in avocado not only makes it more filling, but also helps lower cholesterol.
Like all food trends, poke bowls will surely fade away at some point, but we want it to be because its 15 minutes are over, not because tuna is overfished. With poke, it’s important to seek out shops that source their fish sustainably. Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, as there are many types of yellowfin and blackfin tuna that are still considered a sustainable option.
What are your favorite poke bowl toppings? Share your favorites with us in the comments section and be sure to sign-up for Luvo’s newsletter for more nutritious recipes and exclusive giveaways.