How to Order at a Thai Restaurant

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

Traditionally, Thai food is considered healthy. Many of the dishes use a lot of vegetables and are flavored with natural herbs and seasonings. However, there are certainly choices that contain a lot of MSG, oil and sugar, so you should be careful when it comes to your selection. Knowing what to order and what to avoid will go a long way in helping you make healthy choices when dining at a Thai restaurant.

Instead of this…

In general, when eating at a Thai restaurant, you should avoid anything that is deep fried. Words like “crispy” or “golden brown” are definitely red flags even if the menu item doesn’t say “fried.” Duck is not only a high-fat meat, but is commonly served fried, so it tends to be one to avoid. Similarly, eggplant is often fried when served in Thai restaurants. You may also want to steer clear of coconut-milk dishes, cream-based dishes and soups that are high in sodium such as tom ka gai or chicken-coconut soup.

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Order this…

Look at some of the salad options and ask for the dressing on the side. Or, choose healthier soups such as tom yum koong or po taek. Vegetable dishes can also be a great choice, as can steamed dishes, such as mussels. How your meal is cooked will have a tremendous impact on its health factor. Look for dishes that are braised, sautéed, steamed or stir fried as opposed to deep fried.

When it comes to your drink, opt for water. While Thai iced tea is a popular choice, it’s usually served with sweetened condensed milk and a lot of extra sugar. It’s super sweet and packed with calories.

Ask for this…

Some simple changes to your order can also go a long way. You could ask the chef to add more vegetables to your dish in place of meat. You could ask that sauces be served on the side when in doubt about what’s in it. You can also make some healthy substitutes such as switching beef dishes with healthier choices like scallops or shrimp.

When dining out, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t typically dine at Thai restaurants and you don’t know much about the menu, then ask for some help. Explain that you’re looking for a healthier option. Many times, healthy eating goes astray without even knowing it because of misunderstanding something on the menu. For instance, a vegetable dish may seem like the healthiest option—until you find out it was deep fried in oil. Sometimes you don’t know unless you ask.

Being an informed diner will go a long way in helping you to make healthy choices. If your local Thai restaurant has its menu online, you can even do some research ahead of time and choose a dish that is healthiest. You’ll be able to enjoy dining out at a Thai restaurant without any guilt.

Check out this handy guide to better understand what you should order and avoid while out to eat:

Thai food eating out guide

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