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Eat what you love – 5 healthy Thai food dishes

Thai food can be deceiving. Universally adored and perceived as the healthy choice, it can trick one into believing that we can eat it all day, every day, without consequences. But like with just about anything in life, there is a flip side to this. Deep-frying, coconut milk based curries, MSG, sugar (lots of it), saturated fats…the list of sins associated with Thai cuisine is long enough to keep any nutritionist awake at night.

Luckily, and despite all of the above, the myth of healthy Thai food is mostly true and it is perfectly possible to eat Thai all day, every day, without risking ones health, it’s all about the choices we make. To help you make the right ones, next time you browse through the menu of you favorite Thai restaurant, we’ve put together a list of healthy Thai food dishes.

Grab your forks and chopsticks, here we go!

Five healthy Thai food dishes

Som Tam – green papaya salad

healthy Thai food
Som Tam. Photo: Takeaway

You’re never far from a Som Tam vendor in Thailand. The tangy, spicy, delicious green papaya salad is the country’s daily driver

and for many Thais, a day without Som Tum is a day wasted.

Som Tum has all the benefits of any vegetable salad, being full of fiber and vitamins while remaining low on calories, fat and carbs.

 Extra health bonus:

Fish sauce: a necessary ingredient in any Som Tum, is a healthy alternative to salt used in many salad dressings.

Chilies: are known to be great mood and metabolism boosters and posses anticancer properties.

Tip: Ask the vendor to skip MSG (“mai sai pong chuu rot“) for even healthier Som Tam.



Tom Yam – hot and sour soup


Photo: Takeaway
Tom Yum by Takeaway

The hot and sour Thai soup could be the world ambassador for healthy Thai food cuisine, as it represents all that is great on a Thai table – intensity of color, aroma and flavor, abundance of fresh herbs and spiciness only of the daring. And all this comes low on fat, carbs and calories but with lots of proteins if right ingredients are used.

 Extra health bonus

  • Seafood: Most popular versions of Tom Yam are packed with seafood, be it shrimps, squid or even fish, all of it a great source of lean proteins and omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Coconut Milk: Traditional Tom Yum contains NO coconut milk and that’s good news if you try to keep your calories intake low.




Gai Yang – grilled chicken


Gai Yang. Photo: Takeaway
Gai Yang. Photo: Takeaway

Sold mostly on a street side, together with bags of Som Tum and fistfuls of sticky rice, Gai Yang – Thai grilled chicken, is one of the healthy Thai food meat dishes in Thailand and probably one of the most delicious BBQ dishes you’ll try anywhere in the world. A delicious healthy Thai food choice!

Extra health bonus

  • Protein: Go for the grilled chicken in place of the equally popular deep fried chicken (Gai Tod) to enjoy a protein punch without all the fats that come with deep-frying.
  • Sticky rice: Gai Yang is often paired with Thai glutinous rice and Som Tam salad. We won’t lie to you, it’s a perfect combination. But if you skip the rice, you’ll save yourself some useless carbs. Order an extra helping of the salad and you will enjoy your meal just as well.




Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng – stir-fried morning glory

 One of the biggest myths about Thai cuisine is that it’s good for vegetarians, which is hardly true with spoonfuls of fish sauce

morning glory by Takeaway
Stir fried morning glory. Photo: Takeaway

used by Thai cooks with impressive persistence. But if you can turn a blind eye on that tiny detail, you will still be able to enjoy great numbers of vegetable based dishes in Thailand, stir-fried morning glory being one of the most popular ones. Might be worth it, if not for the flavor than for all the fiber and vitamins that veggies contain.

Extra health bonus

  • Fresh greens: a good Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng is fried long enough to make it safe for your stomach but short enough to keep all the nutrition value of fresh vegetable intact.
  •  Garlic: one of the main ingredients of the dish, garlic, is not only delicious but works as a natural antibiotic; helps boost your body’s natural resistance and contains a whole bunch of microelements to get you through the day.

Tip: Try preparing stir-fried morning glory at home and use olive oil in the recipe for an even healthier version. Healthy Thai food is all around you!


Fresh Fruits

Thai fruits. Photo: Maciek Klimowicz
Thai fruits. Photo: Maciek Klimowicz

Thailand is word famous for its fruits, and rightly so. Fresh fruits are available all year round, affordable and simply delicious. There are so many different kinds of them here, that you could spend a whole week, eating a different fruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you’d still be left with some to discover.

Extra health bonus

  • More than desert: Try eating fruits not as dessert but as a side dish. A popular Thai fruit salad, Som Tam Polamai will make a nice change from the usual serving of green papaya salad.
  • Fruit smoothies: Skip the boxed juice and go for a fresh, fruit smoothie. When ordering it on the street or in a restaurant, remember to ask the vendor or waiter to skip the extra sugar, to keep your smoothie light and healthy. Or just order it at Thanyapura where the huge  variety of imaginative smoothies on the menu will sweep you of your feet.


There are loads of healthy Thai food options to choose from – you just have to look around and find them. We cannot wait for you to try these healthy Thai food dishes.