While traveling in Thailand, you will notice that everyone wants to know if you have eaten. Before even greeting you with a ‘hello,’ you will be asked, ‘gin kao ruang’ means ‘have you eaten yet?’ To be fair, there are so many enticing snacks and food vendors found on every soi (street), it is hard not to catch yourself snacking on something at any given moment. It is also extremely difficult to keep the pounds off because of this exact same reasoning. There are, however, many healthy Thai dishes you can eat without regretting a single morsel. Here are the 10 healthiest Thai dishes.
Som Tam (Papaya Salad)
Consisting of almost all vegetables and sometimes crab or dried shrimp, this is a perfect dish to eat if you are a devoted healthy eater. That being said, palm or brown sugar is added to this salad, along with a couple of tablespoons of fish sauce, which can be very high in sodium. If you want to exclude the sugar and eat this dish as spicy as it can be, tell the vendor or restaurant, mai won, or not sweet.
Yum Ma-Muang (Green Mango Salad)
Much like its sister dish, papaya salad, green mango salad does not have a lot working against it when it comes to being healthy. Carrots, green mango and fresh lime juice are all added to this dish. If you want to make this salad even healthier, ask to omit the white or palm sugar. Otherwise, devour this meal, guilt free.
Pad Pak (Fried Vegetables)
Broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, you never know what vegetables you are going to get in your pad pak (fried vegetables). Some restaurants and vendors add soy sauce and palm sugar. If you really want these ingredients omitted and are not sure if they are even added in the first place, simply point at whatever it is you do not want added and say, ‘mai ou,’ literally meaning, ‘no want.’ Most food stalls will have all the ingredients in plain sight, making it simple to point out what you do and do not want.
Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng (Stir-Fried Morning Glory)
While the morning glory does lose some of its nutrients when cooked, this salad is still one of the healthier Thai dishes you can order. Be careful, however, as this dish is high in sodium as it is cooked with oyster sauce.
Khao Man Gai (Chicken and Rice)
This dish has plenty of protein and carbohydrates. It is a relatively cheap dish as well, so you are filling up and not getting hungrier sooner, and all at good price. It is usually served with a spicy dipping sauce, as well.
Gai Pad Med Mamuang (Chicken with Cashew Nuts)
This dish might be fried, but it one of the healthiest dishes found in Thailand. Large onion, baby corn and cashew nuts are all added to this dish. Cashew nuts are incredibly good for you as well, filled with both vitamins and minerals. Cashew nuts may be high in fat, but with this dish being almost entirely fat free, you can chow down without worrying about how many cashews you are consuming. Although it may be tempting, opting out of ordering this meal with a side of rice will make it even healthier.
So you cannot order deep fried bananas or mango with sticky rice as your healthier Thai fruit option, fair enough. Thailand is famous, however, for the rare fruits that can be found here due to the country having both a hot and temperate climate: it can grow just about anything. Grab a bag of fruit off any soi (street) for ฿40 (a little over $1) or less. You can find everything from pineapple to rose apple all over the city.
Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp)
Be careful when ordering this soup, because there are a few versions of this dish, and some are significantly less healthy than others. This hot-and-sour soup can be served creamy, made with a significant amount of coconut milk and sugar. That being said, shrimp is a low fat, high-protein substitute for meat, so don’t feel too guilty.
This mixed seafood salad is not only delicious, but also really good for you. It essentially is what it sounds like: a salad consisting of almost entirely seafood, except for some tomatoes and onions. Depending on where you go, this salad can have any combination of squid, shrimp, mussels, scallops or crabmeat in it.
Kaeng Liang Pak Ruam (Vegetable Soup Thai Style)
Either water or chicken stock can be used in the making of this soup. Vegetables usually include baby corn, pumpkin, mushrooms and more, but this could differ greatly depending on where you order it. Regardless, vegetables are vegetables: the more, the merrier. The least healthy ingredient added to this soup is fish or soy sauce. Otherwise, this is one of the healthiest dishes in Thailand.
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