Healthy Thai Takeout

Dieters steer clear of Asian cuisines like Thai food that get a bad rap for being "unhealthy," but food lovers like us know to choose dishes with figure-friendly ingredients. Plus, a little kick to your meal is good for you, so sprinkle on some chili peppers.

Look for the green flag words below on your menu from nutrition expert Hope Warshw's Eat Out, Eat Right: The Guide to Healthier Restaurant Eating and eat what you want when you want it!

Green Flag Words


  • basil or basil leaves
  • lemon grass
  • mint or mint leaves
  • lime juice, kafir limes
  • green papaya
  • pineapple
  • chili, chili paste, crushed dried chili
  • Thai spices
  • fish sauce
  • sweet-and-sour sauce
  • bean-thread noodles
  • napa (cabbage), bamboo shoots, black mushrooms (other vegetables)
  • green beans, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes
  • scallops, shrimp, squid, chicken
  • bed of spinach or mixed vegetables

Cooking Methods/Menu Descriptions/Names

  • stir-fried
  • sautéed
  • sizzling
  • braised
  • marinated
  • barbecued
  • clear broth soup
  • basil sauce
  • lime sauce
  • Thai salad

Red Flag Words


  • topped with peanuts, ground peanuts
  • topped with cashews
  • coconut milk
  • fried tofu
  • roasted duck (skin and fat usually left on)

Cooking Methods/Menu Descriptions/Names

  • golden brown
  • fried
  • deep-fried
  • crispy
  • coconut milk soup
  • mee-krob (crispy noodles)
  • red, green, yellow, or mussaman curry sauce
  • served with peanut sauce

Excerpted from Eat Out, Eat Right by Hope S. Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE. Copyright © 2008 by Hope S. Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE. Excerpted by permission of Surrey Books, a division of Agate Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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