Vietnamese Pho: a dieter’s friend or foe?

November 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Nutrition Tips

Have you ever wondered how many calories are in a bowl of Pho? The nutritional information is actually quite tough to track down but after some digging, here is what we found.

For those of you who don’t know, pho is a Vietnamese dish consisting of predominately rice noodle (which has little to no fiber), with some beef or chicken, very few veggies and salty broth.  One large bowl of Chicken Pho (equivalent to ~3 cups) has approximately 600 calories. Not so shabby if calories were all you were concerned about.  At Spectrum Nutrition we recommend using the plate model so your meal lasts as long as it should while keeping calories in check.  Pho actually has all the right ingredients for the plate model, but there are far too many noodles and not enough vegetables; with some slight modifications however, you can fit a bowl of Pho into the plate model.

Here is what I would recommend to makeover this meal:

1. Choose chicken, shrimp, or tofu versus beef to keep calories down.

2. Specify that you would like a ½ portion of noodles (this could trim nearly 150 kcals off your meal).

3. Ask for extra vegetables in the soup (you might pay extra for this – but well worth it, just ask your waistline).

4. Take advantage of the bean sprouts that are served with the soup for an extra boost of veggies.