Is Pho Healthy? How many calories in a bowl of pho?

As you indulge in a satisfying and comforting bowl of pho, you may not be preoccupied with its calorie content and instead focus on relishing the flavorful combination of broth, noodles, and fragrant herbs. However, after savoring the last spoonful and feeling fully satiated, the question of whether pho is a healthy choice may arise in your mind.

Undeniably delicious, the classic Vietnamese soup known as pho is frequently consumed as a comforting winter meal and reputed for its revitalizing and restorative qualities when one is feeling under the weather.

A bowl of beef noodle soup – Pho Bo

Nevertheless, does pho have a high calorie content? Are the purported health advantages of pho genuinely grounded in reality, or are they merely unfounded myths? To delve deeper into this widespread dish’s pros and cons, let’s examine them below!

What is Pho?

Pho, a Vietnamese soup based on broth, has gained immense popularity worldwide in recent times. This delectable soup has transcended its country of origin through a combination of Vietnamese migration and travelers seeking to satiate their craving for pho when they return home.

Pho comprises a comforting broth infused with herbs and spices, accompanied by noodles. While it is frequently consumed as a hearty breakfast in Vietnam, it can be enjoyed at any time of the day!

What sets pho apart from the vast array of other Asian soups?

Firstly, pho is typically made with a bone broth (usually beef), which gives the soup a hearty texture and distinctive flavor that differentiates it from ramen or a classic vegetable soup. While vegetable stocks are now commonly used in pho preparation for added nutritional value.

Secondly, the broth is infused with an enticing blend of herbs and spices such as ginger, anise, onions, chilies, and more. Pho is a slow-cooked dish, with the best pho simmered for hours.

Thirdly, soy, tamari, or fish sauce is frequently added for an extra flavor layer that offers an exotic aroma and taste.

The toppings and ingredients that truly make Pho a standout soup

However, it is the pho toppings and ingredients that truly make it a standout soup. While there are numerous variations, a bowl of pho from a Vietnam street vendor usually contains rice noodles, strips of beef or chicken (which can be swapped out for tofu), vegetables like bean sprouts, mushrooms, broccoli, and fresh herbs like cilantro or basil to finish it off.

Lastly, the ingredients utilized determine whether pho is a healthy or unhealthy noodle soup. Nonetheless, with the ability to customize your pho to suit your preferences and dietary needs, there are countless ways to enjoy this delicious soup.

How many calories are in a bowl of pho

The calorie count in a bowl of pho depends on various factors, including the type of noodles, broth, and toppings used.

Vietnam Chicken Noodle – Pho Ga

While the calorie count can vary, a standard 20-ounce serving of pho typically contains around 500 calories, including rice noodles, tofu or a meat topping, vegetables, and garnishes. However, considering the filling nature of a bowl of pho, this calorie count is reasonable.

To assess the overall healthiness of pho, let’s examine the nutritional content of a standard bowl of this delicious Vietnamese noodle soup!

The healthy benefit of Pho

A typical 20-ounce serving of pho contains around 500 calories, 5 grams of fat, 100 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein. Additionally, pho provides various essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin A, iron, and magnesium. However, it’s worth noting that the exact amount of these nutrients can vary based on the specific ingredients used. For instance, a meat-based broth will typically contain more sodium than a vegetable-based broth.

One of the key ingredients in pho is ginger, which plays a significant role in its rejuvenating qualities. Ginger has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it an ideal ingredient for anyone feeling under the weather. Additionally, ginger has been known to alleviate joint pain, combat nausea, and potentially aid in weight loss.

Pho is good for stomach

The soothing and fresh qualities of pho make it a great option for those with stomach issues, in addition to the benefits of ginger. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or just need a comforting meal, a bowl of pho can help ease any stomach pains and keep you satiated.

Vietnam Beef noodle soup – Pho Bo

In the long term, the excellent array of nutrients and vitamins keep your gut healthy and strong as well. 

Pho is full of protein

No matter your dietary preferences, pho is a great source of protein. For meat-lovers, traditional pho options with beef or chicken provide ample protein. However, for vegetarians and vegans, tofu is a great substitute for meat in pho. Not only is tofu rich in protein, but it also readily absorbs the rich flavors of the broth while being low in fat and calories.

Pho is low in calories

A 500 calorie bowl of pho makes for a great low-calorie meal option, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Opting for a vegetable-based broth and adding plenty of veggies can help lower the calorie count even further.

Including pho in your diet can be a great way to maintain your energy levels while also keeping your calorie intake in check, making it a great option for those on a weight management journey or looking to make healthier food choices.

Drawbacks of Pho

To answer the question “is pho healthy?” properly, we need to consider the potential drawbacks of consuming this dish as well. Although pho is a low-calorie option, it has a relatively high carb content. These carbs can convert to sugar and contribute to chronic health issues like diabetes in the long run. Additionally, sodium levels in pho can be significant, particularly if you’re not using a vegetarian broth.

How to make Pho healthier?

There are several easy ways to make pho healthier:

  • To reduce the carb content, consider reducing the portion size of noodles or eliminating them altogether. Pho can be a keto-friendly meal if you skip the noodles.
  • You can increase the protein and reduce the fat by using tofu instead of beef or chicken.
  • Choosing a vegetable-based broth instead of a beef bone broth can help lower sodium levels.
  • Adding plenty of vegetables and herbs can increase the nutrient content of the soup, such as Vitamin C from lime or lemon juice.

In summary, pho can be a healthy and satisfying meal that is low in calories and high in nutrients. Why not try making your own healthier version at home?

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