Why The Poke Bowl Is The Ultimate Healthy Food

Meet the new salad.

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Why The Poke Bowl Is The Ultimate Healthy Food
Image: PDX Food Love

The latest healthy food trend is one we think would stay for a very long time.

For the past year or so, poke bowls have taken Malaysia by storm. Every couple months or so, there's ought to be a new poke bowl store popping up somewhere in the Klang Valley.

Here's something that you probably didn't know about poke bowls: while it may seem like a new trend, they have actually been around for centuries. Yup, CENTURIES!

And there's good reason for that: they are healthy, extremely delicious and absolutely unique.

So, what is this poke bowl thing?

A poke a day, keeps the doctor away.
Like we've mentioned above, poke (pronounced "POH-keh") has been around for a very long time.

Originating from Hawaii, poke is an all-time favourite food. In fact, poke is a staple at any traditional Hawaiian get-together. Think of it as the nasi lemak of Hawaii.

Back then, poke was a simple meal; reef fish fillets are mixed together with seaweed, crushed kukui nuts and sea salt. 

Now, in the modern era, a typical bowl of poke usually consists of cubes of raw fish (usually tuna or salmon), vegetables, dried seaweed, chopped dried or fresh chili pepper, furikake (mix of dried fish, sesame seeds, and dried seaweed) and rice, topped with a layer of seasoning.

Think of it like a deconstructed bowl of sushi.

So, how healthy is healthy?

Loaded with so many yummy and nutritious superfoods, of course it is good to consume some poke bowls once in awhile or, if you’d like, it could be your daily staple.  

Rojak Daily spoke to Emiza Merican, a certified nutritionist, and find out why a Poke bowl is the ultimate healthy food:

1) It has an incredible amount of good fats

Your food usually contains a few different types of fat. There are bad fats (saturated and trans fatty acids) and there are some good ones. According to Emiza, a poke bowl is loaded with good fats.

"As even the basic poke bowl which consists of white rice and raw fish such as tuna or salmon, it contains a high amount of protein and good fats; especially Omega 3!" she said.

Omega 3 can help a person fight depression and anxiety as well as improve eye health, so yeah, Omega 3 is extremely good for you.

"Also, Omega 3 acids will help protect your heart and reduce the risk of a heart disease by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate," Emiza added.

2) You eat what you want to eat

If you're not a fan of salads, you would most probably not order salad at a restaurant. It's just how it is. But it's a little bit different with a poke bowl; you get to choose what you want to put in your very own bowl.

Don't like white rice? Subsitute it with brown rice or quinoa. Not a fan of cucumbers? Switch it out for more seaweed.

"It gives you the flexibility to reconstruct your own ingredients, adding a lot of fresh and healthy options such as beans, seaweed, kale, zucchini and edamame," Emiza pointed out.

It's a win-win situation.

3) Quick preparation time 

One of the main excuses Malaysians give when it comes to eating healthy is they are too busy, or they do not have the time to prepare their meals. They won't have that problem with a poke bowl, Emiza said.

Unlike your traditional meal, preparing a bowl of poke does not require a lot of time as there is minimal cooking involved.

"Under 15 minutes and you have a complete, well balanced diet - this is a sure WIN!"

4) Putting a little bit of flavour to salad

Fans of salad would definitely love a good bowl of poke, as Emiza calls it "an even more interesting bowl of salad". Those who are not really fans of salad would probably change their minds when they see a poke bowl, because there are just so many flavours to choose from. In fact, whatever you want to put in your 'salad' is entirely up to you.

It's like eating salad, but not really.

5) It's extremely calorie friendly

If you're one of those who count your calories before you consume any meal (what is wrong with you?), then a poke bowl is your best friend. According to Eliza, one bowl of poke has less than 200 calories. In comparison, one plate of nasi lemak has up to 550 calories!

"You can consume four ounces of poke for under 150 calories. One poke bowl consisting of brown rice, salmon, cucumber, seaweed and a simple dressing will most probably contain not more than five grams of fat, 24 grams of protein and 20 grams of carbohydrates," Emiza told us. 

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