It’s hard for me to turn down a plate of Pad Thai, but with summer looming, gorging on Thai food can send my weight (and body fat) skyrocketing. Getting your fill of Thai food needn’t be an impossibility, however–by eating smart, Thai restaurants can be a great way to wind down your evening without overdoing your calorie count. Here’s how to make it work.
How to Diet at Thai Restaurants
Need to stay on your diet while eating out? Use these tips to keep your calorie count low:
1. To save calories, skip the appetizers. Most Thai appetizers can carry unnecessary calories and fat–extra if you order something crunchy, like fried egg rolls. It’s best to skip the appetizers here and focus your meal on the main course instead. If you’re absolutely stared for food, however, you can keep the calorie damage to a minimum by looking for appetizers that are rich in veggies but low on the fry factor–such as summer rolls or satay. Alternatively, you can opt for a broth-based soup, which can take the edge off your hunger without adding extra calories to your diet.
2. Avoid noodles. Most Thai restaurants serve a plentiful amount of noodle-based dishes, such as Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, and Khao Soi. Unfortunately, most of these dishes tend to be higher in calories and carry extra fat. For slimmer pickings, look for dishes with meat and vegetables as the main constituent–such as Phat Kraphao, Phat Phak Ruam, or Kai Phat Khing. For soups, the same still holds true here. Skip the noodle-based soups and go for something lighter instead, such as Tom Yum soup.
3. If you love curry, ask for Gaeng Pah. Gaeng Pah is a spicy, nutritious curry filled with spices, vegetables, and your choice of meat. How it’s better: Unlike most Thai curries, which has a base of coconut milk, Gaeng Pah has a base of water, meaning it has fewer calories and fat, according to Men’s Health . Although it’s not as creamy, it’s still flavorful and filling–the extra spices help fill you up without the extra poundage!
Other Tips for Eating Out
If you plan to eat out at a Thai restaurant, then use common sense–obviously, eating fried meat or ordering a curry with a creamy coconut base probably won’t be friendly for your waistline. To avoid eating too many calories, focus on eating dishes plentiful in lean meat and vegetables while cutting out the higher calorie portions, such as rice and noodles.
“10 Ways to Eat Healthily at the Thai Restaurant,” MensHealth.com