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Spam musubi calories

Spam Musubi, a beloved snack popular across the United States and beyond. This treat features a slice of grilled Spam nestled atop a block of rice, all wrapped together with nori seaweed. The simplicity and mouthwatering flavor combination have made Spam Musubi a cherished food item among many. Best of all, you can easily make Spam Musubi at home, allowing you to satisfy your cravings whenever they strike.

However, as with any food, health-conscious individuals may be curious about the calorie content and nutritional value of Spam Musubi. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Spam Musubi calories from the perspective of a registered dietitian.

Understanding the Ingredients

To grasp the caloric content of Spam Musubi, it’s essential to break down its components:

  1. Spam: A 2-ounce (56g) slice of Spam contains approximately 180 calories, 16g of fat, 6g of protein, and 790mg of sodium.
  2. Rice: A 1/2 cup (90g) of cooked white rice contains around 125 calories, 28g of carbohydrates, and minimal fat and protein.
  3. Nori: A single sheet of nori seaweed is low in calories, providing only 10-20 calories per sheet, along with iodine and other trace minerals.
  4. Flavoring Sauce: Spam Musubi is often brushed with a sweet and savory sauce made from soy sauce and sugar. A typical serving of this sauce (about 1 tablespoon) can add around 20-30 calories, depending on the recipe, with most of the calories coming from added sugars.

Calorie Content of Spam Musubi

Whats in inside:

A single serving of Spam Musubi, made with a 2-ounce slice of Spam and 1/2 cup of rice, packs around 300-350 calories. That calorie count might seem okay for a snack or small meal, but the real concern: the amount of fat and sodium it has.

A 2-ounce serving of Spam contains:

  • About 180 calories
  • 16 grams of fat (including 6 grams of saturated fat)
  • 790 milligrams of sodium

The Concern:

In addition to the Spam:

  • The white rice used in Spam Musubi is a simple carbohydrate that will more likely cause higher, faster blood sugar spikes.
  • The flavoring sauce used in Spam Musubi, which is typically made with soy sauce and sugar, adds to the overall sugar content of the dish. This added sugar can contribute to the potential blood sugar spikes and it also increase the calorie count of the snack.

Nutritional Considerations for Spam Musubi

From a nutritional standpoint, Spam Musubi does offer some benefits:

  • Protein: The Spam provides a decent amount of protein, which can help with satiety and muscle maintenance.
  • Carbohydrates: The rice offers a source of simple carbohydrates for energy.
  • Iodine: Nori seaweed is a good source of iodine, essential for thyroid function.

However, there are also some drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • High sodium: Spam is known for its high sodium content, which can be a concern for those with hypertension or other sodium-sensitive conditions. The sodium comes not only from the curing process but also from the soy sauce used in the flavoring sauce.
  • Added sugar: The flavoring sauce used in Spam Musubi also contains sugar, which contributes to its sweetness and may be a consideration for those monitoring their sugar intake.
  • Saturated fat: The fat in Spam is primarily saturated, which, when consumed in excess, may increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Limited fiber content: important for digestion and feeling full.

Exploring Healthier Alternatives to Spam

For those looking to enjoy Spam Musubi while minimizing some of its potential drawbacks, there are several alternatives to consider:

Lower-sodium Spam:

Hormel, the maker of Spam, offers a lower-sodium variety that contains 25% less sodium than the original.

  • A 2-ounce serving of the lower-sodium version has 580 mg of sodium, compared to 790 mg in the original.
  • This can be a better option for those watching their salt intake.

Turkey Spam:

Hormel also produces a turkey-based Spam, which has a lower fat content and slightly less sodium compared to the classic pork version.

  • A 2-ounce serving of Turkey Spam provides 4.5 grams of fat and 520 mg of sodium.
  • In comparison, the original Spam has 16 grams of fat and 790 mg of sodium per 2-ounce serving.
  • Turkey Spam can be a leaner alternative for those seeking to reduce their saturated fat consumption.

Vegetarian or vegan alternatives:

For those following plant-based diets, there are vegetarian and vegan Spam alternatives available, often made from soy protein or seitan.

  • These options are typically lower in fat and sodium, and free from animal products.
  • For example, the Omni brand offers a plant-based alternative with 4 grams of fat and 180 mg of sodium per serving.

While these alternatives may offer some nutritional advantages, it’s important to note that they may not perfectly replicate the taste and texture of traditional Spam. Experimenting with different options can help find a satisfying substitute that aligns with individual dietary needs and preferences.

Modifying the Spam Musubi Recipe for Healthier Options

In addition to exploring alternative ingredients, modifying the traditional Spam Musubi recipe can help reduce its calorie and sodium content. Some simple adjustments include:

  • Reducing the amount of Spam used in each musubi, or cutting the Spam into thinner slices to decrease the overall portion size.
  • Opting for low-sodium soy sauce or using less sauce in the recipe to cut down on added sodium and sugar.
  • Replacing white rice with brown rice, parboiled brown rice or quinoa to increase fiber and nutrient content while slightly reducing calories.
  • Grilling or baking the Spam instead of frying it to reduce the added fat and calories from cooking oil.
  • Adding extra vegetables, such as sliced carrots, lettuce and cucumbers, to the musubi to boost fiber and nutrient intake while maintaining a satisfying texture.

By making these small changes, it’s possible to create a healthier version of Spam Musubi that still captures the essence of this beloved snack.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while Spam Musubi is a beloved snack, be mindful of its calorie and nutrient content. A single serving contains around 300-350 calories, which isn’t a calorie bomb, but the significant amount of fat and sodium is more concerning. Spam Musubi is a delicious snack, best enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

However, by making simple adjustments to the recipe and exploring healthier alternatives, it’s possible to create a more nutritious version of this iconic dish.

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