Healthy Korean Food Choices

Korean stew with shrimp on spoon

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Are you someone who loves Korean food? If so, then you've probably wondered if Korean food is good for your weight loss program. The fact is that it is possible to find healthy Korean food but there are definitely dishes to avoid. Some may be high in saturated fat, sodium, or calories.

Use this guide to keep your diet on track when you dine at your favorite Korean restaurant.

Is Korean Food Healthy?

Healthy Korean food options are possible to find. In fact, some Korean dishes are considered to be healthier than other types of Asian cuisines because they use less fat. Korean food uses less oil than many Chinese dishes so you'll often consume less fat if you choose Korean cuisine.

Korean restaurants often serve the traditional foods family style, which means you can eat small amounts of different foods without overdoing your portions. That said, family-style eating can be problematic if you're not careful. It is easy to mindlessly overeat when large bowls and plates of food are in front of you.

If you dine family-style at your favorite Korean restaurant, choose foods wisely, fill your plate once taking a single serving of each food and consume your food slowly so that you can recognize the signs of fullness.

Check the menu online before you visit your favorite restaurant so that you can peruse different options in advice and decide on your menu choice before you go to the restaurant. Choosing in advance can help to prevent you from making an impulsive decision once you are seated at the table.

Healthy Korean Food Choices

So what's the best thing to eat if you're looking for healthy Korean food? If you're new to Korean cuisine, try kimchi. This popular Korean dish is spicy, pickled cabbage often combined with fish and it is good for people who are trying to lose weight.

Kimchi (sometimes spelled kimchee) is a fermented food and fermented foods are filled with probiotics to help you maintain optimal health. Kimchee is also low in fat and calories so you can fill up on the traditional dish without packing on the pounds.

The only downside is that kimchee is usually high in sodium. If you're watching your salt intake, you might want to avoid this dish. But it has a unique and tasty flavor that many dieters enjoy.

Here are a few more health conscious food choices for you next visit to a Korean restaurant.

  • Bulgogi (barbecued beef)
  • Mandoo guk (beef stew)
  • Kimchi jjigae (spicy kimchi stew)
  • Galbi tang (beef rib stew)
  • Sundubu jjigae (soft tofu stew)
  • Oi Naengguk (cold cucumber soup)
  • Jang uh gui (grilled eel)
  • Panchan or banchan (assorted, small dishes of food with rice)
  • Pa jun (korean pancake with scallions)
  • Gimbap (seaweed rice rolls)
  • Spring rolls with vegetables as long as they're not fried

Korean Food Items to Avoid If You're on a Diet

There are a few entrees you should look out for. One very popular Korean dish is called bibimbap. This traditional dish is a type of casserole that combines meat and rice.

Bibimbap is full of flavor, but you may have a hard time keeping your calories in check if you are eating it. Because it is a mixture of rice and meat, it's hard to determine portions. A good rule to keep your portion in check is to keep your serving to about a fist full.

Another popular dish is called chap chae. This dish can also be called Japchae or chop chae. The mixture is somewhat similar to Chinese lo mein, made up primarily of stir-fried noodles.

Chap chae can be enjoyed if eaten in moderation. You may also ask the server to alter the preparation method—requesting less oil or added vegetables which can decrease calories and add volume to your meal.

If you don't dine out often and are looking forward to trying Korean food, allow yourself to order what you want and savor each bite. If you are trying to be more conscious about your food choices there are certain items on the menu that may not fit into your mantra.

Tips for Making Healthy Korean Food at Home

The best way to enjoy healthy Korean food is to make your own dishes at home. When you cook at home, you control the ingredients and the cooking techniques so you can use less fat in the preparation of the meal. You can also increase the number of veggies you use and decrease the amount of meat and high-calorie sauces.

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