Thai Food Nutrition Facts: Menu Choices & Calories

Thai Food nutrition facts
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If you love light, fresh vegetables, seafood, and meat, then you'll love many of the menu items at Thai restaurants. But not everything on a Thai menu is nutritious or suitable for your particular eating plan. Find out what to order and what to avoid to keep your eating program or weight loss plan on track when you eat Thai food.

Thai Food Calories

As with any cuisine, there is a wide range of calorie counts for Thai food. Many Thai dishes are packed with veggies and lean protein, like chicken, fish, and tofu. And they don't tend to be deep-fried or otherwise prepared with cooking methods that add calories. Depending on the sauce used, and the amount of rice or noodles in a dish, many Thai favorites may be lower-calorie.

If you are eating Thai food at a restaurant, though, portion sizes may be large. For example, pad Thai with chicken has about 300 calories per cup, and a massaman curry dish with chicken and vegetables has about 180 calories per cup (not including any rice or noodles it may be served with). But a restaurant portion might be 2 or 3 cups, so if you're counting calories, you'd need to double or triple that number.

Thai Menu Nutrition

Many of the menus at Thai restaurants are quite extensive. If you are not familiar with Thai food, you might get overwhelmed trying to navigate page after page.

Remember that you can always ask your server for a suggestion. Clarify whether you want foods that are low in calories, low in fat, or low in carbohydrate.

Many traditional Thai restaurants serve curries. While you might be familiar with the common spice blend called curry, a "curry" served in a Thai restaurant is slightly different. Thai curries are creamy dishes (sometimes soupy) that usually include coconut milk, curry paste, vegetables, herbs, and meat or seafood.


Curries come in different spice levels such as spicy red curry, sweet and spicy green curry, lightly sweet and spicy Panang curry, or the mild massaman curry that is often sweet and peanutty.

Curries can be higher in calories because of the coconut milk that is usually one of the main ingredients. But if you order a very spicy curry, you may eat less of it.

If you prefer less spicy food, there is still plenty to enjoy on a Thai menu that will keep your diet on track. Fresh meat and seafood, fruits, herbs, and vegetables are all popular ingredients in Asian food.

Pad Thai Calories and Nutrition

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for a 1-cup serving (200g) of chicken pad Thai.

  • Calories: 306
  • Fat: 14.1g
  • Sodium: 684mg
  • Carbohydrates: 28.6g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Sugars: 8.3g
  • Protein: 17.5g

One of the most popular dishes on a Thai menu is pad Thai. Pad Thai is stir-fried rice noodles with egg, bean curd, bean sprouts, scallions, and crushed peanuts. There is usually some variation in the dish from restaurant to restaurant. You often order pad Thai with meat, seafood, or tofu. Because there are different variations, pad Thai calories can vary as well.

While the dish isn't usually the highest calorie option on a Thai menu, it does provide significant calories because it is stir-fried using oil, and because the dish includes peanuts. Pad Thai nutrition is sometimes called into question because of the sugar in the dish.

Most people don't expect a savory dish to be high in sugar, but a single serving provides 8.3 grams. Lastly, Pad Thai is high in sodium, so it may not be an ideal option for those watching their salt intake.

What about the nutrition for other popular dishes? Many are made with rice or with cellophane noodles. These are clear noodles made from starch and water. According to USDA data, one cup of cellophane noodles provides 491 calories, 121 grams of carbohydrate, and less than one gram of fat and protein.

Healthiest Options

If you want to keep your calorie and fat intake low when you visit a Thai restaurant, scan the menu for any of these options.

  • Thai spring rolls. ​These rolls usually are made with fresh shrimp, vegetables, and/or tofu. They are wrapped in clear-ish spring roll wrappers and not fried.
  • Soups. While some soups in Thai restaurants are made with coconut milk, others are made with clear broth and include chicken, beef, or tofu with vegetables and herbs, scallions, or garlic.
  • Thai salads. Many of these fresh, light salads are made with mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, shallots, or tofu. They are often served with peanut dressing or a citrus vinaigrette dressing.
  • Chicken sate. ​ These skewered chicken breast appetizers are marinated with herbs and grilled. They are often served with dipping sauce.

You will also find many stir fry choices on a Thai menu. Many of them might be slightly higher in fat because of the preparation method, but if you keep your portion size in control, these dishes can provide healthy servings of lean meats and vegetables.

Less Healthy Options

So, what should you avoid at a Thai restaurant? Skip the foods that are fried. Fried wontons or crispy rolls are popular on many menus but provide little nutrition. You might also see fried calamari or fried fish cakes on some menus.

If you want to be very careful about calories, skip the peanut dipping sauces as well. Some of them are quite high in fat, sugar, and calories.

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. USDA, FoodData Central. Massaman medium curry chicken.

  2. Pad Thai with chicken. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  3. Noodles, Chinese, cellophane or long rice (mung beans), dehydrated. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.