Healthy Low-Calorie Korean Food Choices

Healthy Korean Food
Koji Hanabuchi/ Image Source/ Getty Images

Are you a dieter who loves Korean food? If so, then you've probably wondered if Korean food is healthy. The fact is that some Korean food is good for your diet and some are not. But there are ways to eat healthy Korean dishes and keep your weight loss program on track.

Is Korean Food Healthy?

Healthy Korean food choices may not be as easy to find as other cuisines, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to stay on your diet at Korean restaurants. In fact, Korean food can be more healthy than other styles of Asian cuisine.  

Korean food uses less oil than many Chinese dishes. So you'll often consume less fat if you choose Korean. And Korean restaurants often serve the traditional foods family style, which means you can eat small amounts of different foods without overdoing your portions.

Healthy Korean Restaurant Food

If you're new to Korean cuisine, try kimchi. This popular Korean dish is spicy, pickled cabbage and it is good for people who are trying to lose weight. Kimchi (sometimes spelled kimchee) is 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. But it has a unique and tasty flavor that many dieters enjoy.

Here are a few of my favorite diet-friendly food choices for your next visit to a Korean Restaurant.

  • Bulgogi - barbecued beef
  • Mandoo guk - beef stew
  • Galbi tang - beef rib stew
  • Panchan (or, banchan) - assorted, small dishes of food with rice
  • Spring rolls with vegetables (not fried)

Less Healthy Korean Food

One drawback of Korean cuisine is that there are few fresh vegetables available. So you can't fill up on them at a Korean restaurant to curb your appetite. Before you dine out on the traditional fare, you may want to eat a small, ​fiber-rich snack to curb your hunger and prevent overeating when you dine out.

There are a few entrees you should look out for. One very popular Korean dish is called bimibap. This traditional dish is a type of casserole that combines meat and rice. The dish is full of flavor, but unfortunately, casseroles aren't a diet-friendly option in most any cuisine. You'll have a hard time determining the nutritional value of the mixed dish, which means it won't be your top choice if you're seriously cutting calories.

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. It can be enjoyed on a diet if you eat it in moderation. But you need to ask your server for very little oil to be used in its preparation, which can save you considerable fat and calories.

Make 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.

Was this page helpful?