What are the Healthy Choices in Asian Cuisine?
Asian food has a good reputation in the diet world for being low in fat and high in nutrients – Asian countries top lists for having the healthiest people in the world. It’s also a popular takeaway choice across the globe, meaning that what was once a nutrient-rich meal may not arrive at your doorstep in quite the same way. So what do you choose if you want to enjoy a takeaway but still want to maintain your diet? There are ways to get the best of both worlds, by choosing the healthiest options on the takeaway menu.
Chinese food is notoriously high in fat and calories, not to mention the huge quantities of sugar and salt that are used to make it appealing to Western taste buds. Whether deep fried, doused in sweet and sour sauce or laden with salt on the buffet table, Chinese food isn’t good for your waistline. Instead of choosing a fried dish, you may want to try the Kung Pao chicken, meat dishes containing mixed vegetables, prawns and snow peas, or stir fries. Try not to soak everything in soy sauce, as this is high in sodium. See if your restaurant of choice offers brown rice instead of white, as this will be a healthier choice. You should also avoid the egg rolls and spring rolls, as these are fried and high in calories. If possible, also avoid noodle or rice-based dishes.
Japanese is often considered to be the healthiest choice when it comes to takeaways, thanks to the high quantities of seafood and the fact that few dishes are fried. Sushi is healthy as it blends rice with fresh vegetables and seafood for a low-fat and high nutrient meal. There are other healthy choices too though, such as stir fries and miso soup. Avoid meals that have fried dumplings and tempura in them, as these make your meal unhealthy.
One of the spicier cuisines, Thai food has a number of hidden bad diet foods, such as the large amount of coconut cream that is used in these dishes. However, there are ways to keep this diet friendly, such as opting for satay dishes. These are dishes which take chicken, beef, tofu or shrimp and grill it on bamboo skewers. Naturally, they contain limited amounts of fat. Steamed or stir fried dishes are also healthy, as well as those with copious amounts of vegetables. Avoid choosing a dish which is made up of noodles or rice, as this will bulk up your meal with starchy carbs. Opt, instead, for vegetable-based dishes that will ensure you get plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Indian dishes are often vegetarian, but this doesn’t mean that they are automatically healthy. If the dish uses a lot of oil or butter, don’t assume that it’s fine just because it doesn’t contain any meat. Aim for vegetable dishes which include saag paneer ( a spinach dish with cheese) or aloo gobi (steamed and marinated cauliflower). Try to avoid the side dishes too, such as naan bread or samosas as these up the calorie count. There are a number of drier curry dishes which avoid the heavy cream or coconut base – these will be better for you if you do want a curry dish. If you want to avoid the vegetarian route, you could opt for something with a lean meat or fish, such as prawns or chicken.