Is Vietnamese Food Healthy? Should You Eat It More?
FAQs - Did You Know? Nutrition
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April 9, 2022
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Is Vietnamese food healthy for you

Is Vietnamese food healthy and should we eat it as a more nutritious alternative to standard American fare? There is a widespread sentiment that Asian cuisine – across virtually every country’s dishes – is a nutritious choice. That said, is this just a good reputation or is true that eating our meals from Asian countries is a healthier choice?

Is Vietnamese Food Healthy at a Restaurant?

When it comes to eating out at restaurants serving food other than typical American dishes, Italian and Mexican cuisines are by far the most popular. That said, Asian restaurants with cuisines from a spectrum of countries have all taken off and are continuing to grow in popularity.

After all, it’s not difficult to find Chinese food, Thai dishes or sushi in pretty much any US city. That said, while these may be a delicious adventure for the palate when compared to the usual chain restaurant, it’s also important to know that many are highly Americanized, to the point that someone visiting from one of those countries likely wouldn’t recognize them as a dish they’d serve at home. That said, is Vietnamese food healthy if you choose it over a steakhouse, for instance?

What’s in a Dish?

To start, we’ll need to take a step back. The first thing that we need to recognize is that a country’s cuisine – any country’s cuisine – is vast. Not all American foods are bad for you! At the same time, they’re certainly not all good for you. The same can be said about the dishes coming from any other country. So, if you’re asking if Vietnamese food is healthy, it’s like asking if the food in a grocery store is healthy. Some is! Some is not.

If Vietnamese food is healthy depends on what you choose.  Many of the most popular dishes at American restaurants featuring Vietnamese food are selected and altered to fit the local palate and preferences.  We love our starches, so you’ll find many dishes based on a pile of noodles, rice, or even bread.  Bahn Mi, Noodle Bowls, and Pho are all highly appealing, but they’re also super high in starches. Moreover, since we’re used to massive portions, the quantities served will also be substantially larger than what you’d get if you were to travel to Vietnam.

Lots of Healthy Vietnamese Food Options

If you make the right choices – avoiding deep fried ingredients, for instance – then you’ll likely find that Vietnamese food is healthy when compared to what you’d likely order at another one of your favorite restaurants.  If you choose a dish piled high with veggies, you’ll be getting a nice range of nutrients with every bite.

The key is to control your portion size.  Since these dishes are usually served in the massive quantities we expect, think of your order as two meals. Get a dinner and a lunch out of it, for instance. That way, you’ll be able to benefit from all that nutrition, but within a much more reasonable calorie range.  It will also help you to slash your sodium intake because restaurant dishes from any cuisine are notorious for their salt content.

When in doubt, choose greens! Fortunately, when it comes to Vietnamese food, you’ll find that healthy greens are very easy to find. Moreover, they’re far from plain iceberg lettuce.  They’re all punched up in flavor with herbs and spices that will make your taste buds dance. Even better? If you like spice, the capsaicin content in some of these meals will give you a temporary metabolism spike that can approach the level of fast fat burner pills!

 

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