Thanks to a hectic work schedule and changing socio-economic dynamics eating out has become the norm for most people. However regularly eating outside can play havoc with your health and dietary requirements. Chinese and Thai cuisine is very popular these days but these food items tend to be high on calories and are loaded with sodium and fat. Here are some simple amendments you can make to enjoy a delicious meal and not sacrifice your healthy regime:
- Begin your meal with a soup. Order a broth based soup instead of a creamy one. This will help you to fill up quickly and helps you eat less.
- Steamed items like steamed dumplings, steamed fish and vegetables dishes are good options as they contain fewer calories compared to fried items.
- If you are ordering dishes with sauces, ask them to serve it on the side. This will help you limit the amount of sauce you consume. Avoid thick sauces.
- Choose brown rice over white rice or noodles. Order steamed or boiled rice to fried rice. Brown rice contains more fiber than white rice.
- Eat lots of vegetables. Salads and boiled or steamed rice with lots of vegetables is a healthy option. Adding vegetables to your meal is one of the best ways to ensure that you are eating healthy.
- Stay away from deep fried dishes. Avoid egg rolls, fried rice, fried wanton, crispy noodles. By avoiding fried food you avoid the extra calories and fat.
- Avoid calorie high curries like Thai curries cooked with coconut cream. If you absolutely must have some then you can share the dish. Take a small portion of your favorite dish and follow it up with a large portion of steamed vegetables. This will bring down calories, fat and sodium.
- Using chopsticks or forks will prevent you from eating extra sauce as it will remain at the bottom of the dish when eating. Chopsticks will slow you down (if you’ve never used one before they might stop you from eating at all) and reduce the amount of food you take in.
- Try to avoid desserts and if you are craving for one then limit your portion. You can have date pancakes or fruit salads or lychee with ice-cream and skip the brownies, pastries, fudge and ice-creams.
- Regular sodas, juices and energy drinks are huge sources of empty calories (empty calories imply food items or beverages that contain a lot of calories without having additional nutritional benefits) and increase your daily calorie intake. You can have water or lime juice.
- Always enquire about the method of preparation of the dish you are planning to order. You can ask if MSG is added to the dish and request them to cook without MSG.
- There are many healthy Chinese and Thai food options available, you can wisely choose them and enjoy these cuisines without sacrificing your health.
The table below will help you in ordering healthy options next time you dine at Chinese or Thai restaurant
Less healthy choices
Clear Soups (Veg/Chicken)
Tofu Hunan style/ Steamed dumpling
Steamed or Baked tofu
Dishes with vegetables
Chopsuey with soft noodles
Steamed Rice/ Pot Rice (vegetable/ chicken)
Water or Lime juice
Cream based Soups
Egg rolls/ Fried wanton
Deep fried tofu
Dishes with fried meats
Chopsuey with crispy noodles
Fried rice like Chicken fried rice/ Crabmeat fried rice/ Veg fried rice
Regular soda, juices and energy drinks