The Best and Worst Options for Ethnic Dining on a Diet

on September 9, 2015

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Choose Right, Feel Great

Everyone loves a night out for ethnic cuisine-but if you're trying to eat healthy, it can pose some problems. Here's how to enjoy your favorite Indian, Thai, Chinese, and sushi without setting yourself back.

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Indian: The Don'ts

Indian food is delicious, but fried items such as naan and samosas can be fattening. In addition, most dishes are served with lots of rice and very few vegetables, which adds lots of carbs without a lot of nutritional value.

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Indian: The Do's

Opt for whole-wheat roti or pappadams over naan, which are lighter and less calorie-dense. For the main course, a grilled dish like chicken tandoori is your best bet. Try and load up on vegetables and fresh green salad instead of rice.

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Thai: The Don'ts

Although you might think that Thai food is naturally healthier than other options, be warned-like Indian food, fried options are everywhere. In addition, coconut milk, which is high in saturated fat, can be found in many Thai soups and sauces.

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Thai: The Do's

Opt for broth-based soups as an appetizer, like hot and sour shrimp soup. And if you end up ordering Pad Thai, which doesn't contain coconut milk, keep it healthier by skipping the rice and asking for extra vegetables instead.

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Chinese: The Don'ts

Chinese food is notorious for containing exorbitant amounts of sodium, fat, and sugar. Among the most unhealthy dishes are crab rangoon, fried egg rolls, and lo mein. Without realizing it, you could consume well over your daily caloric needs with just one of these dishes.

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Chinese: The Do's

Replace fried options with steamed variations to cut down on fat, and opt for low sodium soy sauce when possible. Dishes that are full of vegetables like chop suey can save on calories while still being filled with nutrients and flavor.

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Sushi: The Don'ts

Seaweed and rice-how bad could it be? When ordering at a sushi restaurant, there are a few things you should keep an eye out for. Any roll that has been fried loses its inherent low-fat value, and non-traditional cream based sauces can be loaded with unhealthy fat and calories.

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Sushi: The Do's

When selecting fish, choose options that are high in omega-3's, like salmon and tuna. Many sushi restaurants will make rolls with brown rice, which will leave you more satisfied. And follow this general rule when ordering: the simpler the dish, the better.