Cooking and Eating Vietnamese Food: How to Make Healthy Traditional Food Healthier


The healthy cuisine of Vietnam is a hot topic. With the rise in healthy food trends and healthy eating, people are looking for new ways to incorporate healthy options into their diet. 

In this blog-post, we will discuss what foods are deemed healthy in Vietnamese cooking. We’ll also go over how to make some popular Vietnamese dishes healthier by making simple substitutions or removing certain ingredients altogether!

Why are people in Vietnam so healthy?

Vietnamese healthy food to lose weight
Vietnamese healthy food to lose weight

One reason could be that they have more access to healthy foods than other populations around the world. There are four key staples: 

  • rice, 
  • noodles, 
  • vegetables, 
  • and fish sauce (or soy sauce). 

Though these may not sound very healthy at first glance, when combined with fresh produce grown locally or imported from China or Thailand there’s plenty of nutritious food available for Vietnamese families every day. 

Small fact: The country as a whole produces about 80% of their own food – which can be attributed to healthy cooking and eating habits.

In general, Vietnamese people are more conscious about healthy food than other countries in Southeast Asia (due in part to the French colonial influence). Vietnam has a culture of fresh-pressed sugar cane juice which is served at breakfast as well as fruit shakes for an afternoon snack – unlike many Western cultures that focus on cereal or toast with jam. 

Other healthy foods common here include green leafy vegetables such as:

–  watercress, 

– lettuce, 

– cucumbers; 

– local rice noodles made from rice flour instead of wheat flour; 

– chicken broth soups containing mostly meatless ingredients like: ( tofu skin sheets, mushrooms, lotus roots and lily buds. )

– simple stir fries prepared using spices such as ( coriander roots, anise seeds and cinnamon sticks );

– healthy desserts like: ( banana fritters made with rice flour batter instead of wheat flour. )

Moreover, Vietnamese culture is also known for its love of fresh fruit – which the locals eat every day at least once or twice a day. There are about 800 types of tropical fruits grown in Vietnam, including mangoes, oranges; dragonfruit (called pitaya); bananas red as coconuts; star apples (or shapotat) shaped like stars.

As a result, these healthy eating habits mean Vietnamese people will live longer than those in other countries around the world according to experts from Harvard Medical School.

Last but not least, Vietnam’s healthy food culture is also due to the Buddhist belief in moderation and vegetarianism. 

The Vietnamese people often eat three meals a day: 

  • breakfast from around 08:00-09:30 with foods like rice porridge served with banana; 
  • lunch at noon consisting of one dish prepared with vegetables that have been lightly stir fried (or boiled) until just cooked through; 
  • dinner between 18:00-19:30 which includes two dishes – usually one soup and another containing grilled fish or barbecued meats such as squid wrapped in betel leaves and lemongrass.

Top healthy foods in Vietnam: 

– Rice

which is considered a healthy staple of Vietnamese cuisine and can be made with brown rice instead of white rice to add more fiber to your diet – make sure it’s cooked the right way by using enough water so that each grain is separate after cooking.

– Noodles 

They are an important part of every meal – they’re served hot either as soup (like pho) or stir fried noodles with meat such as pork belly, beef or chicken. Try making them at home from scratch where you know what ingredients have been used. It’s worth spending some extra time in the kitchen for healthy noodle dishes like bun cha, which is grilled pork with rice noodles.

– Vegetables: 

A healthy dish will always contain vegetables – they should be stir fried or boiled until just cooked through and served as accompaniment to another dish. 

You’ll need at least one vegetable side dish such as watercress salad made by hand from fresh ingredients that can be eaten cold or hot; lotus root soup containing vegetables like green onion, carrots and celery – this healthy food option also has medicinal properties that are believed to reduce fever. 

– Fruit: 

Healthy fruit options like bananas, mangoes and dragonfruit that have a high water content are popular with Vietnamese people. Fruit is usually eaten for breakfast though it can also be served as a healthy dessert after dinner (banana fritters made from rice flour batter instead of wheat flour).

How to make Vietnamese healthy foods

Vietnamese Daily Healthy Meals
Vietnamese Daily Healthy Meals

At home: 

– The most important thing when cooking any dish in Vietnam is not to overcook the vegetables or noodles – they should always remain green because this means they are still healthy 

– You don’t need too many ingredients but you do need some fresh herbs such as coriander leaves, cilantro stems, basil leaves; veggies like carrots and cucumbers; spices including cinnamon sticks, star anise seeds, cloves, coriander seeds and cassia buds; healthy oils like coconut or peanut oil 

– When making a healthy Vietnamese dish at home from scratch it’s also important to choose the right cooking methods – try using steaming vegetables instead of deep frying them in oil. You can use an electric rice cooker (remember not to overcook) or pan fry with little oil on medium heat 

– If you’re looking for healthier options when eating out then try street vendors selling noodles made without meat such as bun cha (rice vermicelli served cold with grilled pork, papaya slices, lettuce leaves and carrots tossed together); banh mi thit nguoi cua chay which is vegetarian fast food consisting of bread rolls filled with healthy ingredients such as shredded vegetables, grilled tofu and pickled carrots

When choosing a restaurant: 

– If you’re eating at a Vietnamese restaurant then try pho or bun bo hue which are dishes made from rice noodles – these can be eaten hot in soup form or cold over lettuce leaves. Both are healthy food choices because they don’t contain any meat

– Try banh xeo as well – this healthy dish consists of crispy fried rice flour pancakes filled with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts that have been stir fried until cooked through (banh xeo should not include eggs) 

– Healthy options can be a vegetable bun (rice vermicelli) or banh mi thit which is bread with healthy fillings like tofu and vegetables

– If you’re planning to eat at home then try cooking healthy dishes such as pho ga Vietnamese people also love eating banana fritters for dessert however it’s important not to use wheat flour when making them but instead opt for rice flour batter 

– Another popular dish in Vietnam is chao long – this healthy meal consists of fresh fish fillets steamed gently over hot water together with ginger leaves for about 15 minutes. 

– Another healthy option when eating at home is to make some healthy Vietnamese food recipes such as banh beo. Banh beo are usually filled with fried shrimp (with the shell on) that have been stir fried until cooked through.

– Alternatively you could try making bun gio chay. This dish traditionally includes slices of carrots, coriander leaves and peanuts; to make healthy Vietnamese dishes even more healthy.

– Finally if you’re looking for something sweet then try making banh trang nuong which is made from rice flour dough that has been fried in coconut or peanut oil. Once the pancakes are cooked through they can be topped off with fruit cut into strips such as bananas, mangoes and other tropical fruits 

How to make Vietnamese dishes healthier with a few simple substitutions

The answer is simple – just use healthy substitutes! Here are some ideas for cooking Vietnamese dishes at home or ordering it when eating out:

– Replace the meat with white fish fillet such as catfish or tofu. Some other healthy alternatives include using vegetables like broccoli, carrots, string beans, mushrooms etc. 

– Use low fat coconut milk instead of condensed milk or cow’s cream to add some healthy fats 

– Grilled beef is a popular dish in our country but eating it more than once or twice a week isn’t healthy because the meat contains high levels of saturated fats that increase cholesterol levels leading to heart disease and stroke risk. Instead, we could grill chicken breast instead which is lower in fat content.

– Replace sugar with honey for a natural sweetener (or use stevia as an alternative)

– Swap out white rice with brown rice or another healthier grain like quinoa – it’s gluten free so you don’t have to worry about that! Brown rice is healthy because it’s rich in fiber and antioxidants 

– Swap out the oil (or use healthy fats like coconut or olive oils) for something lighter such as cooking spray, water or broth. For fried rice dishes you can even skip this step altogether by using a nonstick pan to fry your vegetables instead of flouring them with egg white and cornstarch before frying – it’ll cook more evenly!

– Substituting shrimp paste for oyster sauce when making pho bo (beef noodle soup) can lower the fat content of this healthy dish and create more healthy alternatives. 

– Swap out shrimp paste for oyster sauce when making pho bo (beef noodle soup) to make this healthy dish healthier.

– Skip sweetened condensed milk in coffee drinks like iced coffee, find an organic brand or use strong brewed espresso instead – you’ll save on calories consumed during the day without feeling deprived!


The healthy food choices in Vietnam are a delicious way to stay healthy and live longer. To make Vietnamese dishes even healthier, just add some healthy substitutions such as using different types of protein or vegetables/fruits instead of meat – this will ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs while still enjoying traditional cuisine. Also, if you love fast food but want to keep fit, click here to get some awesome tips!


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