My boyfriend and I recently went to dinner at a nice Thai place, and since we’re watching what we eat, we both found ourselves trying to make better choices with the menu in front of us. Inspired by the decisions we made during the half-hour that we poured over the menu, I thought I’d write a series on the healthiest choices to pick at different restaurants. Since we started with a Thai restaurant, I’m going to start off the series with that!
Thai appetizers are pretty good for you overall. With all sorts of salads and soups to pick from, you can easily cut down on calories, sodium, fat, or whatever else you’re watching in your diet. Hot and sour soup without cream or milk is often one of the healthiest soups you can get at a Thai restaurant, as is Thai-style vegetable soup. I’m not much of a soup person, though, so I always gravitate towards mango, papaya, or seafood salads. Thai cuisine uses a lot of vinegar and sugar in some dishes, so you can always ask for the dressing on the side, or ask for your salad to have no (or very little) sugar if you like more sour flavours.
Fish, chicken, and tofu are the best proteins to go for in your mains, because pork is often very fatty and red meats can be more caloric than you’d like. Stir-fries are great choices, though you’ll have to watch the sauce: these can often be loaded with sodium or oil! Having grilled fish or chicken is usually what I go for, and if I’ve been on top of my eating I like having it with a side of rice or rice noodles. One great chicken dish to look for is khao man gai, which is just simply prepared chicken and rice.
Thai desserts are absolutely delicious, often making use of the tropical fruits that are so abundant in Thailand… but they’re also quite sugary, and many make extensive use of condensed milk. If you absolutely must have dessert, opt for a fruit salad if it’s on the menu, though you’ll have to ask if anything has been sweetened with a sugar syrup at all. If there’s nothing fruit-based on the menu, consider just splitting something with your partner or friend so that you can try something delicious without blowing your diet for the day.