If you’re tired of ferreting out the ingredients in restaurant food and dismayed to learn of the hidden calories in many menu choices, you might be interested in trying a Pho Hoa restaurant.
The ingredients appear in picture and text form on the menu, and you choose the meats and vegetables you want included in the main-course soup and noodle dishes.
Pho Hoa — pronounced fuh hwa — is a small chain of Vietnamese restaurants in 10 states, four Canadian provinces and in about two dozen sites in Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Bowls of soup come with platters of uncooked vegetables on the side, and you select the thinly sliced raw meat that cooks on its way to the table in your broth. The nutritional content of a meal at Pho Hoa relies almost entirely on you.
Beef Noodle Pho
The Pho Hoa house specialty is beef noodle pho. Each large bowl contains rice, noodles and broth. A serving of beef noodle pho contains from 190 to 200 calories, 29 to 45 grams of carbohydrates and four to nine grams of protein, according to LIVESTRONG's food database MyPlate.
Each bowl comes with a selection of fresh vegetables, including bean sprouts, scallions, sweet basil, chili and coriander. You can also add freshly squeezed lemon to your soup.
Chicken Noodle Pho
A serving of chicken noodle pho contains just from 194 to 240 calories, 40 to 51 grams of carbohydrates and four to five grams of protein, according to MyPlate. You can customize your dish in the same ways as the beef noodle pho. Keep in mind each additional ingredient changes the calorie, carbohydrate and protein content of your dish.
For the vegetarians and vegans out there, a serving of tofu pho contains 35 calories, three to four grams of carbohydrates and two to three grams of protein, according to MyPlate. The customizations available in the previous dishes are also available for this dish.
The vegetables in the beef noodle soup and vermicelli bowls provide low-calorie nutrition. Bean sprouts contain 50 calories per cup, according to MyPlate, as well as 5.3 grams of protein, vitamins B and C, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Onions, studied for their potential to promote heart health and lower cholesterol, contain fiber, magnesium, folic acid, calcium, chromium, iron and vitamins A, B and C, according to the Juicing for Health website.
Chili peppers may help speed up the metabolism. And coriander, a source of antioxidants called flavonoids, may help lower cholesterol, balance your blood sugar and protect against urinary tract infections.
Your low-calorie, nutritious meal at Pho Hoa could take a waistline-bulging turn depending on your choice of beverage. You could stick with water or espresso without adding calories to your meal; or choose a soybean milk that includes nine grams of protein for its 140 calories.
But the calorie count could quickly add up if you try one of the tapioca pearl smoothies. The tapioca pearls themselves contain up to 544 calories per cup, including 135 grams of carbohydrates, according to MyPlate.
More About MyPlate
The free LIVESTRONG MyPlate calorie tracker app for iPhone and Android has helped millions of people lose weight the healthy way — by getting support from an active community as they track their eating and exercise. Consistently a top-rated app, MyPlate offers the latest technology in an easy-to-use tool that includes millions of foods and recipes, 5-minute in-app workouts and a robust support community.