So, you’ve arrived in Thailand and you’re ready to indulge in all the delicious and spicy dishes Thai cuisine has to offer. There’s plenty of street food vendors and restaurants just waiting to fry you up something drenched in oil, fat, sugary sauces and more.
It will get you saying ‘aroy mak mak!’ (Meaning very very delicious in Thai) but it won’t get you shedding those extra pounds you promised yourself would be gone by the end of the month.
Unhealthy eating options are easy to come across when in Thailand. I’ve paced under the midday sun in search of healthy alternatives and many times failed. I don’t know about your temptation threshold but for me, it doesn’t take much until I grab that sugar glazed donut on the shelf. A fair amount of restaurants do offer healthy alternatives with steamed or boiled options instead of fried. If you really want to stick to your diet plans however, you’re going to have to choose the ultimate junk or fast food replacement – vegetables. When you incorporate more veggies into your diet, you are replacing all those unhealthy fats void of essential nutrients with nutrient-rich foods.
We have compiled a list of effective fat-fighting vegetables readily available in Thailand. Incorporate these into your meals and snacks to keep your weight loss on track:
Famous papaya (In the savoury papaya salad or as a whole fruit)
The Papaya (I know I promised vegetables but bare with me on this one!) is a readily available and reasonably priced fruit in Thailand. You can actually find papaya trees on the sides of roads and pick them fresh yourself. This nutritious fruit can be eaten in its bright orange form (much sweeter) or when it’s green (less sweet and normally used in salads).
Why papaya helps you lose weight fast:
Because Payapa’s an energy dense fruit, you will feel full quicker without exceeding your calorie limits as you digest a larger amount of food. The high levels of fiber could help to lower the amount of calories you absorb from food too. It also promotes regular bowel movements, assisting your weight loss.
Live Strong advises people to lose weight fast by using papaya to replace food that’s not as healthy and has a higher number of calories, creating a calorie shortfall. For each pound you lose you want a calorie deficit of 3,500 which alongside exercising more and eating the right foods, is a highly effective way of loosing weight.
Mushrooms (not the magical kind)
This versatile fungus goes with numerous dishes and can be easily found in local Thai markets and shops. If you are a solid meat eater, substituting fattier meats with mushrooms is a great idea due to their taste and texture. Here are some popular mushrooms you can find in Phuket:
- Straw Mushroom
- Shiitake mushrooms
- het hu nu (aka ‘mouse ear mushrooms)
- het khon (the classic capped mushroom with gills on the stalk)
- het lom (a brown mushroom commonly found on logs)
Why mushrooms help you lose weight:
In just one cup of mushrooms you will find 20 calories. A research study published as an abstract in The FASEB Journal in 2013 reveals a positive correlation between weight management and consumption of mushrooms. The study involved participants exchanging meat for mushrooms once every day. The group who ate the mushrooms consumed fewer calories (173) and the average person lost seven pounds!
The Thai eggplant is commonly found in Southeast Asian curries, soups and is another low-density vegetable. So once again, replace fatty meats or less healthy foods in your diet with eggplants to give your weight loss a boost. There are several varieties you will see at the market and all offer powerful fat-fighting properties.
Why eggplants help you lose weight:
Eggplant contains Saponin, a substance that lessens the fat your body absorbs. You can take this in vegetable form but making your own eggplant water is just as effective. The juice cleanses your body of toxins whilst giving your kidneys a boost by acting as a diuretic.
Hot Peppers (Can you handle the heat?)
Everyone wants to lose weight fast. Use this piece of advice to speed things up – let spice be your best friend. If your taste buds can’t handle heat, spend a few days eating Thai food! If you don’t already know, Thai food has some of the spiciest dishes in the world.
Why hot peppers help you lose weight:
Hot peppers can speed up your metabolism and add a kick to your meals. The spicier your food is, the slower you will eat too. Yet another good weight loss strategy.
TOP TIP! Include fresh chilies in your cooking in order to introduce capsaicins, a beneficial element known to help your body burn more calories.
This underrated yet powerful vegetable assists you in your efforts to keep excess weight at bay. Contained in many Thai Stir-fry’s, soups and curries, broccoli can be brought virtually anywhere so you can steam, boil or prepare it in your own healthy way.
Why broccoli helps you lose weight:
Broccoli contains absolutely no fat but still has a good amount of carbohydrates. These are the good kind of carbs however. Your body can burn them much slower to keep you energised for longer. Did you know one cup of broccoli has only 30 calories! The low calorie amount doesn’t compromise on nutrition as raw broccoli gives your body over 100% more vitamin C and K then it needs. Containing many micro-nutrients and phytochemicals, this effective fat-decreasing veggie also helps break down fats.