Pad See Ew is a popular Thai rice noodle dish made with wide rice noodles, soy sauce, vegetables and protein. It’s a staple in Thai cuisine and loved for its sweet, savory and lightly caramelized flavors. But is this delicious noodle dish actually good for you? Here’s a comprehensive look at the nutritional value of Pad See Ew and whether it deserves a place in a healthy diet.
Calories and Macronutrients
One serving of Pad See Ew contains around 300-400 calories, depending on the specific ingredients used. This puts it in the moderate calorie range for a main course.
In terms of macronutrients, Pad See Ew is a balanced dish:
- Carbs: 45-55g per serving, from the rice noodles. This provides a good source of energy.
- Protein: 15-25g per serving, from the eggs and protein additions like chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu. This helps keep you full and aids muscle repair.
- Fat: 10-15g per serving, mainly from the cooking oil. This adds flavor and satisfaction.
The carbs, protein and fat in Pad See Ew provide a nutritious mix of macronutrients. The dish can fit into a balanced diet when consumed in moderate portions.
Vitamins and Minerals
Pad See Ew contains a variety of vitamins and minerals:
- B vitamins: From the eggs. B vitamins help convert food into energy.
- Vitamin A: From veggies like broccoli and carrots. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision and immunity.
- Vitamin C: From fresh lime juice. Vitamin C boosts immunity and iron absorption.
- Iron: From meat additions and dark greens. Iron aids the transport of oxygen in blood.
- Calcium: From tofu or shrimp. Calcium strengthens bones and teeth.
- Potassium: From bamboo shoots and soy sauce. Potassium supports nerve signaling and heart health.
The assortment of veggies matched with the protein source provides a solid dose of key vitamins and minerals. This makes Pad See Ew more nutrient-dense than plain noodles or rice alone.
The protein sources in Pad See Ew are high quality:
- Eggs provide the highest quality protein, with all 9 essential amino acids.
- Chicken and beef offer complete proteins.
- Shrimp has an excellent aminio acid profile.
- Tofu doesn’t contain all 9 essential amino acids but combining it with rice provides a complete protein.
Consuming quality protein sources like these as part of Pad See Ew promotes muscle growth and maintenance. It also helps keep you feeling fuller for longer after eating.
Traditional Pad See Ew contains broccoli, carrots and cabbage. Loading up on non-starchy veggies boosts the meal’s nutrient content and fiber, providing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
When ordering, you can ask for extra vegetables or swap out sliced cabbage for spinach, kale or bok choy to increase the veggie count even more. This maximizes the health factor.
Use of Whole Grains
Pad See Ew is made with wide rice noodles rather than refined wheat noodles. Rice noodles have a low glycemic index, meaning they do not spike blood sugar levels as dramatically compared to refined carbs.
Rice noodles are also gluten-free, making Pad See Ew a good choice for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Choosing the whole grain rice noodles makes Pad See Ew a slower digesting, more nutrient-dense carbohydrate source.
Moderate Salt Content
Pad See Ew contains sodium from the soy sauce. However, it’s not an overly salty dish. With around 500-800mg of sodium per serving, it supplies 13-20% of the recommended daily value.
This moderate sodium content makes Pad See Ew a better choice compared to dishes loaded with high sodium sauces. Limiting excess sodium intake can help reduce risk of high blood pressure.
To further reduce sodium, you can ask for light soy sauce or low-sodium soy sauce options when ordering. This keeps the dish flavorful while decreasing the salt content.
Healthy Cooking Techniques
Authentic Pad See Ew uses minimal cooking oil for stir-frying. This limits the amount of added fats.
The vegetables are also lightly cooked rather than deep fried, further reducing the oil content compared to heavy deep frying.
Overall, the cooking techniques used in Pad See Ew make it a lighter and healthier preparation method versus deep frying.
One of the healthiest aspects of Pad See Ew is the ability to customize it. You can directly control the nutrients and ingredients by:
- Choosing lean proteins like chicken breast, shrimp or extra firm tofu
- Increasing the amount of vegetables
- Opting for brown or whole grain rice noodles
- Choosing light soy sauce
- Adding extra herbs, chili and lime instead of heavy sauces
Taking advantage of customization options allows you to craft a Pad See Ew meal high in protein, fiber and nutrients without excess carbs, fat or sodium.
As with any dish, portion control is key for keeping Pad See Ew as part of a healthy diet. Standard restaurant servings weigh 10-12 ounces. Consuming moderate portions prevents overeating.
Here are some tips for keeping portions in check:
- Order a small or regular size versus large or extra large
- Request a to-go box immediately and pack up half before eating
- Share a large order with a friend instead of getting individual plates
- Bulk up on veggies to add more filling volume
Practicing portion control allows you to enjoy the great taste of Pad See Ew while limiting calorie intake.
To further boost nutrition, consider adding:
- Fresh basil – Contains antioxidants
- Crushed peanuts – Good source of protein and fiber
- Sliced onion – Provides prebiotics
- Lime wedge – High in vitamin C
- Fresh chili pepper – Contains capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory effects
These nutritious add-ons introduce new flavors while optimizing the health factor.
Avoiding Unhealthy Alternatives
When dining out, steer clear of unhealthy variations like:
- Pad See Ew made with deep fried noodles
- Protein options like fatty pork or duck
- Heavy cream-based sauces
- Lots of oil or sweet sauces
Choosing healthy ingredients and cooking techniques results in a more nutritious end product.
Benefits Compared to Fried Rice or Lo Mein
Compared to fried rice or lo mein, Pad See Ew is a healthier alternative in several ways:
- Uses less oil and salt during cooking
- Provides more veggies as mix-ins
- Contains whole grain noodles instead of refined carbs
- Lighter soy sauce prevents a sodium overload
- Stir-frying preserves more nutrients than deep frying
The preparation methods and ingredients in Pad See Ew make it a great choice over fried rice and lo mein.
Downsides and What to Watch Out For
While Pad See Ew has many nutritional benefits, there are some potential downsides to note:
- Large portion sizes can lead to excess calorie intake
- Oil used in cooking adds saturated fat
- MSG is commonly added for flavor, which some people are sensitive to
- High glycemic index if served with white rice
- Sodium content adds up if using regular soy sauce
Being mindful of these factors allows you to maximize the pros and minimize the cons when eating Pad See Ew.
Tips for Increasing Nutrition
Follow these tips for boosting nutrition when eating Pad See Ew:
- Load up with extra veggies like broccoli, spinach and cabbage
- Choose brown rice noodles for more fiber and nutrients
- Add fresh herbs like basil and cilantro
- Opt for lean proteins like chicken breast or shrimp
- Use lite coconut milk instead of heavy cream-based sauces
- Flavor with lime, vinegar, chili and garlic instead of salt
- Request low-sodium soy sauce
- Enjoy a side salad for extra veggies and antioxidants
Implementing some of these simple modifications can take Pad See Ew from an occasional treat to a regular healthy meal.
Healthy Preparation Tips
At home, you can make a nutritious version of Pad See Ew with the following preparation tips:
- Use minimal oil for stir-frying
- Load up with tons of different chopped veggies
- Choose brown rice noodles
- Flavor with fresh herbs and spices instead of salt
- Add shrimp, chicken or edamame for protein
- Top with crushed peanuts, chili flakes and lime juice
Preparing Pad See Ew in a healthy way allows you to feel good about eating this takeout favorite.
Is Pad See Ew Good for Weight Loss?
Pad See Ew can be part of a weight loss diet with some modifications:
- Opt for low-carb shirataki noodles instead of rice noodles
- Choose lean proteins like chicken breast or extra firm tofu
- Load up on low-calorie veggies instead of carb-heavy noodles
- Avoid fatty proteins like pork belly or duck
- Use small amounts of oil and ask for low-sodium soy sauce
- Limit portion size to one cup of noodles max
- Enjoy alongside greens or in a salad
When prepared with weight loss in mind, Pad See Ew can be an excellent high-protein, vegetable-based meal.
Is Pad See Ew Keto-Friendly?
Pad See Ew typically contains too many carbs from the noodles to fit a ketogenic diet. However, you can make it keto by substituting:
- Zucchini noodles for rice noodles
- Riced cauliflower for white rice
- Shirataki noodles for rice noodles
This swaps out the high-carb noodles for very low-carb veggies, allowing Pad See Ew to work with a keto meal plan.
Is Pad See Ew Paleo?
Traditional Pad See Ew isn’t considered paleo due to:
- Containing soy sauce
- Using rice noodles from grains
- Typically including peas and peanuts
However, you can modify the dish to fit paleo guidelines by:
- Using coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
- Replacing rice noodles with spiralized sweet potatoes or zucchini
- Omitting the peas and opting for paleo protein like chicken
- Leaving out the crushed peanuts
With these substitutions, you can create a noodle dish reminiscent of Pad See Ew that falls within paleo diet parameters.
Is Pad See Ew Dairy Free?
Authentic Pad See Ew is dairy-free, containing:
- Rice noodles
- Soy sauce
- Meat or tofu
It typically does not include:
So those avoiding dairy due to preference or allergies can comfortably eat most versions of Pad See Ew. Just check that your specific order doesn’t contain added dairy.
Is Pad See Ew Gluten-Free?
Most Pad See Ew is gluten-free because it’s made with rice noodles, not wheat noodles.
However, always check with the restaurant, as some versions may use wheat noodles or soy sauce containing gluten. When ordering, request 100% gluten-free preparation and confirm the soy sauce is tamari, not regular soy sauce.
With rice noodles and gluten-free soy sauce, Pad See Ew can be a tasty gluten-free dish.
Is Pad See Ew Vegetarian or Vegan?
Pad See Ew can easily be made vegetarian or vegan:
- Use tofu instead of meat for a vegetarian option
- Choose vegan egg replacement like Just Egg for a vegan option
- Confirm no fish sauce is used when ordering
- Ask for mushroom or vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
With some simple plant-based swaps, Pad See Ew makes a satisfying vegetarian or vegan meal.
Overall, Pad See Ew is a healthier choice than fried rice or lo mein when made with whole food ingredients. It provides a balanced mix of protein, carbs and vegetables.
Modifying the dish to include more veggies, fresh herbs, lean proteins and whole grain noodles can maximize nutrition. Controlling portions and avoiding fatty proteins or heavy sauces keeps it light.
Incorporating Pad See Ew into your diet in place of less nutrient-dense refined carbs like white rice allows you to satisfy a takeout craving, while still providing quality nutrition.
So with mindful ordering choices and healthy preparations, Pad See Ew can be an excellent addition to an overall healthy diet.