For all of the health benefits associated with authentic Asian cuisine, it's important to understand that Americanized versions of these same dishes, depending on the restaurant, may not pack the same rewards. Here are a few words to the wise for those craving Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese or other Far East-inspired dishes.

SUSHI

If you want to eat clean, steer clear of anything with tempura or mayo in the sushi rolls. Those words simply translate to high calories and high fat. I like to order an avocado and cucumber roll in brown rice and the Vegi-Vegi Roll at Lemongrass in Royal Palm Place. It's one of the lightest meals on the menu; this all-vegetable roll is wrapped in potassium-rich cucumber.

Z-TIP: If you're eating raw fish, make sure to dip it into soy sauce and have a generous amount of wasabi with it. Those two ingredients can help kill bacteria and parasites.

THAI

One of my top Green Goddess-approved meals is papaya salad. Papaya is knows for its high concentration of digestive enzymes that can help digest fats and aid with assimilation and weight loss. Try it at the Chow Thai on Sandalfood Plaza Drive. My second favorite healthy Thai dish is vegetable curry. I prefer to skip the tofu, unless it is organic, and load the dish up with seasonal vegetables. Besides the delicious flavor, curry dishes are rich in inflammation-fighting turmeric that has even been shown to help reverse Alzheimer’s disease.

Z-TIP: If you choose to go with the curry, opt for waist-trimming steamed brown rice which, unlike white rice, has extra fiber.

CHINESE

Chinese food has been getting a bad rep due to the high-calorie dishes such as General Tso’s chicken or pork fried rice. Despite this not-so-healthy fare, you can find plenty of dishes that are low in calories and high in taste. One of my favorite restaurants for healthy Chinese food is the famous P.F. Chang's on Glades Road; try the low-calorie Buddha Feast or the tasty steamed vegetarian dumplings. I love the extensive nutritional chart on the menu, which allows diners to check what each dish offers. Another bonus is that they have a separate gluten-free menu, so those avoiding wheat, barley or rye can rest assured they will be eating clean!


About Alina Z.

Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida, Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinazhealthcoach.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/fabulousfoodAZ) or Twitter (@FabulousFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.