Eating Healthy on Thai Takeout Day: 4 Tips for a Smarter Office Lunch

Posted by on Monday, February 24th, 2014 with Comments Off on Eating Healthy on Thai Takeout Day: 4 Tips for a Smarter Office Lunch Comments

Eating healthy at the office can be tricky, especially when your coworkers get together to order lunch from a favorite delivery place. While it’s almost always better for your health to have an actual meal than skipping lunch (or raiding the vending machine at 2 pm), it can be challenging to know what the healthiest options are when you’re talking take-out.

Thai takeout fried egg rolls

Not all Thai takeout is created equal when it comes to health. Image source: flickr user penguincakes

This is especially true when it comes to Thai food: while most entrees are packed with vegetables and lean meats, and may read as healthy options on the menu, they often come swimming creamy curries or sweet sauces that quickly undermine your good intentions. Choosing a healthy option requires a little bit of knowledge, a few rules of thumb, and, in some cases, careful modifications to what arrives in the delivery bag.

While everyone’s health goals are different — a coworker set on reducing calories may want to order a different office lunch than someone watching their sodium intake — here are four tips that will set you up for success on Thai takeout day at the office. These suggestions are based on dishes you’re likely to find on any Thai restaurant menu, but of course preparation methods and ingredient choices can vary widely!

Tip #1: Steer clear of coconut milk-based curries.

Thai curries are delicious: a zing of spice mellowed by the coolness of coconut milk. Unfortunately, that coconut milk also comes loaded with saturated fat and calories. Avoid curries altogether (sad, we know!) in favor of stir-fried dishes with lots of vegetables. For entrees, this includes items like Gai Pad Mamuang Him Ma Pahn (cashew chicken) — the cashews, like most nuts, offer healthy fats that lend this dish a more nutrient-packed punch. Another option to look for is a simple shrimp, tofu, or chicken in basil sauce stir-fry.

spicy papaya salad

Som tam is a healthy starter that can be part of a well-rounded meal. Image source: flickr user WordRidden

Tip #2: Build a meal of starters.

The healthiest options on a Thai menu are in the appetizer section, so consider building your own meal by ordering a few starters. Seafood summer rolls are a no-brainer: delicate rice paper filled with fresh vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and cabbage, along with a serving of diced shrimp. Tom Yum soup is another winner: this hot and sour soup is broth-based and studded with lean meat or shrimp and mushrooms. Finally, the spicy green papaya salad known as “Som Tam” is full of fresh vegetables and fruits, and a refreshing companion to the earthy Tom Yum soup. Bottom line: all three are packed with flavor and texture, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything despite skipping the entree section!

Thai summer rolls with dipping sauce

Summer rolls are a smarter alternative to crunchy fried rolls. Image source: flickr user calamity_hane

Tip #3: Satay it up.

Sometimes served as an appetizer, sometimes as an entree, satays are meat skewers, usually grilled (one of the healthiest preparations), and coated with spicy peanut sauce. Opt for chicken to get the leanest choice, and don’t go overboard with the sugary sauce, but overall this meal is a protein powerhouse perfect for low-carb diets. It may be found in the appetizer section as well, but since it’s just straight-up meat, it’s generally quite filling as a main dish!

chicken satay with dipping sauce

Chicken satay is a healthy, low-carb option for a Thai takeout lunch.

Tip #4: Split whatever you order.

Thai restaurants in America are no exception to the rule of huge portions, even at lunchtime. Arrange with a like-minded coworker to share a meal, or dish half of your order out onto a real plate and save the rest for the next day. Especially if you eat lunch at your desk, you’re likely to continue mindlessly eating after you’re full… but you can avoid that trap if the remainder of your oversized office lunch is safely tucked away in the fridge!

Crafting a healthy Thai lunch may require a little legwork, but getting it to your office is easy with help from With an extensive selection of restaurants, easy online ordering, and prompt delivery, you’ll be chowing down — healthily — in no time!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

Comments are closed.