Healthy Asian Food on the South Beach Diet

healthy asian food for dieters
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Just because you've started The South Beach Diet, you don't have to give up eating at your favorite ethnic restaurant. In fact, according to Dr. Agatston the creator of The South Beach Diet, many Chinese, Indian, and Japanese foods are perfect for healthy eating on the weight loss plan. You just have to know which healthy Asian foods to choose and which menu selections you should skip when you dine out.

How to Choose Healthy Asian Food

If you want to eat less at any restaurant, it's always smart to check the menu online before you go. Whether you are on The South Beach Diet or any weight loss program, you'll be more likely to make a healthy menu choice if you decide what you're going to eat before you get hungry. Then, when you visit the restaurant, don't even look at the menu. Simply order your food, free from the distraction of high-calorie food and drink choices.

If you're following The South Beach program, it might also be helpful for you to check their resources as well. Both the book (The South Beach Diet Super Charged) and The South Beach Diet website provide helpful advice about ordering healthy Asian food in a restaurant. The book even provides recipes to help you make your own healthy Asian food at home. The recipe for Asian Chicken Noodle Soup, for example, is easy to make, will curb your hunger and keep your family satisfied at meal time.

How to Choose South Beach Diet Chinese Food

The biggest problem with Chinese food is that many Chinese dishes served in restaurants have been "Americanized." The portions are often too large and include rich sauces. They don't include as many vegetables and they use more fried meats. Sweet and sour chicken is a perfect example.


To stick with your South Beach program when you're dining out, you should avoid white rice. Noodles are a no-no, too. You can, however, ask for brown rice with your meal if you're on Phase 2 or Phase 3. 

Here are some other general guidelines for ordering healthy Chinese food:


  • Sweet and sour chicken
  • Fried rice, dumplings, and noodles
  • Lo mein
  • Egg rolls
  • Crispy duck
  • Moo Goo Gai Pan

Instead order:

  • Chicken and broccoli
  • Egg drop soup
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Brown rice (Phase 2 or 3 only)
  • Meat, poultry or shellfish that is grilled, steamed or broiled

According to Dr. Agatston, you should also ask for your food to be prepared without MSG.

How to Choose South Beach Diet Indian Food

Indian food can be a good choice when you're on The South Beach Diet. You can get Tandoori style meat (basically roasted meat) in most restaurants and you can find salads, chickpeas, beans and dishes made with other vegetables such as lentils (dal) and spinach. Masalas and raitas are good choices, as well.

But there is a danger zone, too.

The most tempting part of any visit to an Indian restaurant is the traditional bread prepared in the Tandoori oven. While it may be prepared in a healthy way, this starchy carb should be avoided if you want to maintain your South Beach eating plan.

How to Choose South Beach Diet Japanese Food

Japanese food is another good choice when you're living the South Beach lifestyle because fish, shellfish, and vegetables are staples of the traditional fare. Miso soup is completely acceptable. Sushi may be eaten if you are in Phase 2 or Phase 3 as long as it is served with brown rice. And sashimi is acceptable as it does not include white rice.

There are also vegetarian options that you may enjoy as well. For example, you may want to try dishes made with tofu or edamame. Teriyaki dishes are grilled, but should be avoided because the marinade is high in sugar and tempura is a definite no-no.

Remember that living The South Beach life is about learning to enjoy healthy Asian foods and foods of all nationalities. Experiment with different tastes and new dishes that keep your South Beach Diet on track.

*Edited by Malia Frey, Weight Loss Expert

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