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What to Eat at a Thai Restaurant (Healthy Choices)

Everybody LOVES Thai food. But let’s face it: it’s not as healthy as we think. A lot of Thai food is loaded with oil, salt and sugar.

When you’re in Thailand, food is everywhere. And lucky for us, fruit is everywhere, too! You can find street vendors everywhere who will sell you delicious cut-up fruits such as fresh pineapple, watermelon, and more.

But let’s talk about Thai restaurants for a moment. Thai food is popular everywhere in North America, and some restaurants make food that is more authentic than others.

But generally, you’ll find similar staples. So if you care about your health, what should you order at a Thai restaurant?

By far, the healthiest meal you can order is a Thai Papaya salad with a side of sticky rice. I love papaya salad, which is made with green papayas, tomatoes, green beans, and seasonings (usually fish sauce too, but you can ask to be made without it).

It can be very spicy, but you can ask for the level of spiciness that you prefer. It’s traditionally served in Thailand with a side of sticky rice, so why not go for that?

The soups, such as Tom Yum, are generally healthy, but very salty. They taste amazing, though. If you want to keep calories in check, avoid the ones made with coconut milk.

Curries are popular, but are definitely some of the richest meals you can order on the menu, due to the generous use of coconut milk and oil.

Not every Thai curry is made with coconut milk. In Thailand, many curries don’t contain any coconut milk and are much lighter. If you go to a more traditional Thai restaurant, those curries may be available.

The noodle dishes, such as Pad Thai, are generally your worst choices. Too much vegetable oil is used, so it’s very, very greasy!

You can easily order a vegetable dish in a light sauce with a side of rice in most Thai restaurants.

Don’t order the imperial rolls: they are fried. But summer rolls, when available, are wrapped in a rice paper sheet and include lots of vegetables. Those are a great choice.

So, as you can see, there’s a lot you can eat at a Thai restaurant without going totally off the wagon. Just the Green Papaya Salad with a side of sticky rice can be a great meal.

You can eat a high-raw diet without giving up the social benefits of cooked foods. All it takes is a little planning.

Check out my new book Raw Freedom, which discusses exactly how to make this flexible approach work in the real world!

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.