It’s a safe bet that if you’re following South Beach Diet you’ll find lots of nutritious choices when dining out at Asian restaurants. Authentic Asian food is one of the healthiest cuisines you can enjoy, as long as you make the right menu selections. Whether you prefer Chinese, Japanese, or Thai, traditional Asian cuisine is filled with plenty of fresh steamed vegetables, soy, lean grilled meats, and seafood. However, that’s not the case in every restaurant: Often you’ll find Asian menus that include deep-fried breaded foods and fatty meats, which should all be avoided. One tip when ordering Asian fare: Ask for a double serving of steamed vegetables with your lean meat or fish rather than rice or noodles. Here are some other healthy guidelines to consider the next time you’re dining on Asian cuisine:
Chinese Cuisine: Your best
bet in a Chinese restaurant is to select entrées made with steamed or quickly
stir-fried vegetables. Vegetarian choices can include tofu and bean sprouts.
Look for menu titles that include the terms roasted, steamed, or stir-fried.
Clear soups with vegetables, or any combination of steamed fresh vegetables
with poultry or seafood, are always good options.
What to Watch Out For… Whether you take out Chinese food or dine in at a Chinese restaurant, be sure to say no to heavy sauces, deep-fried breaded foods (like egg rolls and fried dumplings), fried noodles, sweet-and-sour sauce, or sugary hoisin sauce. Pass on the rice if you’re on Phase 1. If you’re on Phase 2 or 3, ask for brown rice instead of white. Also avoid spareribs, lo mein, and moo goo gai pan.
Japanese Cuisine: Sushi,
Japanese-style raw fish served with a small amount of rice, has become one of
the most popular foods in the world. You can enjoy sushi on Phase 2 if you ask
for it with brown rice, a staple in many Japanese restaurants these days. If
you’re on Phase 1, stick to the rice-free rolls or sashimi, thin slices of raw
fish served without rice. A cup of miso or Japanese flower soup is a great way
to start your meal, and edamame, seaweed, or cucumber salad, or stir-fried or
steamed vegetables are always good choices. Look for lean meats and fish that
are steamed, grilled, or stir-fried.
What to Watch Out For…Some foods at Japanese restaurants are deep-fried. Your best bet is to avoid tempura, which is batter-fried fish, shellfish, or veggies, and anything that is prepared using high-sugar marinades. Remember that although teriyaki dishes are grilled, the sauce is high in sugar.
Thai Cuisine: Your best
bets at Thai restaurants include vegetable stir-fry dishes that are served with
lean meats, poultry, and fish or shellfish. You can enjoy dishes made with
spices such as turmeric, coriander, garlic, cilantro, lemongrass, ginger, and
fresh chiles. Tofu is also a great choice, but oftentimes it is served fried —
ask for it steamed or sautéed instead.
What to Watch Out For…Thai green curry with sticky rice and other curries that are coconut cream-based should be avoided. Ask for brown rice instead of sticky rice, if you’re on Phase 2. Deep-fried foods and sweet sauces made from tamarind palm (sweet fruit) and coconut sugars should also be avoided.