You may find it challenging to order healthful Thai food, especially if the foods are new to you.  You may have questions about how dishes are prepared, how eating Thai food can help you manage your nutrition goals or what to order.  These suggestions can help take some of the mystery on the menu!

Expect to share
Generally served family style.  Everyone at the table has the opportunity to taste many things.

Start with a healthy soup or salad
Tom yum goong soup and green papaya salad with shrimp are excellent choices.  Both are flavorful, lower-calorie appetizer choices.

Choose spring or summer rolls
Spring and summer rolls generally are a healthful and a refreshing substitute for fried rolls, which may absorb a lot of unwanted grease.  If you feel like having a dumpling or fried egg roll, these rice paper rolls, filled with steamed vegetables and meat, are a delicious alternative.

Go for the antioxidants
Choose foods made with turmeric, galangal, coriander, lemongrass, and chiles; which have antioxidants and are believed to have immune-boosting properties.  They are all very flavorful and contribute delicious flavor without unwanted sodium, calories or fat.

Make meat more of a side dish
Many dishes are made with chicken, meat, duck, shrimp, fish, or tofu. Choose fish, tofu, or mostly vegetable dishes, and try to make meat more of a side dish.  Vegetables are the most nutritious choice!

Order steamed, grilled or baked dishes
Look for dishes that are steamed, grilled, or broiled. These are the most healthful preparation methods. A great choice is lime-marinated steak salad, which is intensely flavorful without unhealthful ingredients.

Look for dishes with aromatic herbs and vegetables
Dishes that are quickly sautéed with lemongrass, basil and other aromatic Thai herbs and vegetables.

Watch out for dishes prepared with coconut milk
While delicious and healthful, coconut milk is high in calories.  Undermining weight management goals.

Select dishes served with rice
‘Pad’ usually means a noodle dish.  For best health, choose entrees that come with steamed rice, rather than a pad dish.  Because rice is a whole grain, you can modify how much sauce you put on it.  A pad dish will generally come with sauce already incorporated, making it more difficult to control.

Know what foods to avoid ordering
Limit dumplings, fried appetizer rolls, massaman curry, tom ka goong soup, pad thai, black bean sauce, fried rice, and deep-fried whole fish.

Try curry
It comes in green (hottest and most spicy), red (original form), and yellow (most mild).  All three are delicious and healthful if ordered with mostly vegetables.

Ask for what you want
As always, do not hesitate to ask for no monosodium glutamate (MSG) or if you are watching your sodium intake, have the chef substitute low-sodium soy sauce.