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5 Healthy Dishes in Southeast Asia Cuisine

Food dishes Bangkok thailand

Southeast Asian cuisine is rich in flavors, spices, and nutrients. From fragrant curries to fresh salads, there are plenty of healthy dishes to explore in this region. Here are five of our favourite healthy dishes in Southeast Asian cuisine, along with their nutritional benefits.

Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)

Som Tam is a popular salad in Thailand made with shredded unripe papaya, tomatoes, green beans, peanuts, and a dressing made from lime juice, fish sauce, and palm sugar. This dish is low in calories and fat but high in fiber and vitamins.

Healthy tip: Use a lower-sugar or no-sugar-added fish sauce, and skip the added sugar altogether if you’re making your own dressing. To boost the protein content, add some grilled shrimp or tofu on top.

One serving (200g) of Som Tam provides:

  • Calories: 87
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 14g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Vitamin C: 60% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 22% of the RDI

Gado-Gado (Indonesian Vegetable Salad)

Gado-Gado is a colorful and tasty vegetable salad from Indonesia. The salad consists of boiled vegetables such as cabbage, green beans, and bean sprouts, topped with a peanut sauce. This dish is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

One serving (200g) of Gado-Gado provides:

  • Calories: 265
  • Protein: 10g
  • Fat: 20g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Vitamin C: 60% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 45% of the RDI
  • Iron: 15% of the RDI

Healthy tip: To make it even more nutritious, try using a peanut sauce made with natural peanut butter and reduced-sodium soy sauce. You can also add some edamame or roasted chickpeas for an extra boost of plant-based protein. Just be mindful of portion sizes when it comes to the calorie-dense peanut sauce.

Tom Yum Soup (Spicy Thai Soup)

Tom Yum Soup is a hot and sour soup from Thailand made with lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, chili, and shrimp or chicken. This soup is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, making it a great choice for boosting the immune system.

One serving (200g) of Tom Yum Soup provides:

  • Calories: 70
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Vitamin C: 90% of the RDI
  • Iron: 15% of the RDI

Healthy tip: To make it even healthier, try using lean protein sources such as shrimp or chicken, and add in plenty of fresh vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes, and cilantro.

Bun Cha (Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Noodles)

Bun Cha is a traditional Vietnamese dish made with grilled pork, vermicelli noodles, and fresh herbs such as mint and coriander. This dish is high in protein and low in fat, making it a great choice for those looking to build muscle or lose weight.

One serving (200g) of Bun Cha provides:

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Iron: 10% of the RDI

Healthy tip: Use lean protein sources like grilled chicken or tofu instead of fatty meats like pork belly. Additionally, try to use plenty of fresh herbs like mint and cilantro, and add in plenty of vegetables like lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers. Avoid using too much sugar or soy sauce, and opt for healthier seasonings like fish sauce or lime juice.

Chicken Adobo (Philippine Stewed Chicken)

Chicken Adobo is a classic Filipino dish made with chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and bay leaves. This dish is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, making it a great choice for those on a low-carb diet.

One serving (200g) of Chicken Adobo provides:

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 30g
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Iron: 8% of the RDI

Healthy tip: Try using skinless chicken breasts instead of dark meat, which can be higher in fat. You can also reduce the amount of soy sauce and vinegar used in the marinade to cut down on sodium. Serve with brown rice or a side of steamed vegetables to boost the fiber and nutrient content of your meal.

Southeast Asian cuisine offers a variety of healthy and flavorful dishes that can contribute to a well-balanced diet. From the fresh herbs and spices to the use of lean proteins and plant-based ingredients, Southeast Asian cuisine offers a range of healthy options for those looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The dishes discussed in this article, such as Tom Yum Soup, Pho, Nasi Goreng, Papaya Salad, and Green Curry, all offer unique and delicious flavors while providing essential nutrients and vitamins.

It’s essential to note that the nutritional value of these dishes can vary depending on the preparation and ingredients used. When preparing or ordering these dishes, it’s important to pay attention to the cooking methods and ingredients to ensure they align with your nutritional needs and goals. By making informed choices and incorporating these healthy dishes into your diet, you can enjoy the flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine while supporting your overall health and well-being.

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