Eating Out at Chinese Food Restaurants

Published:  03/09/2017

Chinese Foods

There are some healthy chinese food takeout options if you're craving Chinese. But don't be fooled. 

Chinese cuisine can be both healthy and unhealthy, depending on the specific dishes and cooking methods involved. Traditional Chinese cuisine emphasizes a balance of flavors, colors, and nutrients, often incorporating a variety of vegetables, lean proteins, and grains. However, some Chinese dishes can be high in sodium, unhealthy fats, and added sugars, particularly when they are deep-fried or heavily sauced.

So learn how to avoid the menu choices that are loaded with calories, fat and sodium and how to identify those dishes that are a bit more nutritious than the rest.

Some High Calorie Chinese Dishes to Avoid

  • Lemon Chicken contains a whopping 1,400 calories which is equivalent to the worst fast food meal.
  • Deep fried items like General Tso, Crispy Orange chicken or beef, Crispy Beef, Sweet and Sour chicken or pork or Chili Beef should be avoided because the batter on the meat soaks up the fat when deep fried. These items are likely to have over 1500 calories a platter.
  • Fried Rice has a giant number of calories and fat; up to 1600 calories. 
  • Chow Mein (with soft noodles) has 1,200 per serving.
  • Eggplant in garlic sauce, with 1,000 calories and 2,000 milligrams of sodium.
  • Egg rolls, crab rangoons, sweet and sour chicken are all deep fried and high in calories and fat

Luckily, there are some healthier takeout options if you’re craving Chinese food

  • Appetizer options: Spring Rolls or Steamed dumplings have about 90-125 calories each.
  • Cucumber and mushroom salad
  • Cucumber daikon salad
  • Buddha’s Delight with tofu and vegetables has about 400 calories.
  • Chicken with black bean sauce has about 800 calories.
  • Chicken with snow peas has about 500 calories.
  • Shrimp with vegetables and spicy sauce about 700 calories.
  • Happy Family with chicken, scallops, shrimp and mixed vegetables has about 600 calories.
  • Miso, hot and sour soup or egg drop soup are all low in calories — containing only 65–90 calories per 1-cup serving — and you can make them even healthier by avoiding the fried lo mein noodles that are often offered as a topping. 
  • Moo goo gai pan is a lightly sauced chicken and vegetable stir-fry dish that contains mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, and water chestnuts. Because it’s full of vegetables and lean chicken, it’s relatively low in calories. Furthermore, the chicken provides plenty of protein, making it a filling dish. Two cup contains only 160 calories and 30 grams of protein.
  • Steamed fish or seafood with ginger, scallions and soy sauce
  • Stuffed green peppers with shrimp
  • Tofu and broccoli stir fry
  • Chinese steamed scallops and glass noodles
  • Chicken with green peppers
  • Chicken with garlic sauce
  • Shrimp with Chinese vegetables in a black bean or white sauce

Suggestions for Minimizing the Number of Calories

  • Share an entrée or ask for a box to take home half your entrée.
  • Always start with a low calorie soup dish like Wonton, Hot and Sour or Egg Drop. It’s only about 100-150 calories and will fill you up so you will eat less when your main dish comes.
  • Look for dishes that feature vegetables, not meat or noodles. Ask for extra vegetables. Chinese cuisine often includes a wide range of vegetables. Incorporate vegetable-based dishes, such as stir-fried greens or mixed vegetable dishes, to increase your nutrient intake.
  • Order steamed rice instead of fried. Order brown rice if it is available.
  • Order chicken, tofu, or seafood that is stir-fried or braised; avoid breaded, battered, or deep-fried items.
  • Don't add extra salt by adding high-salt sauces to your food, such as soy sauce, duck sauce, and hoisin sauce.ome Chinese dishes may be accompanied by high-sodium or sugary sauces and dressings. Request them on the side or ask for lighter options, such as low-sodium soy sauce or steamed dishes without added sauces.
  • Ask for your dish to be prepared with minimal oil.
  • Use chopsticks or a fork (not a spoon) to get food from the serving plate. This helps keep some of the high-fat and high-sugar sauce on the serving plate.
  • Avoid deep fried and breaded items or even lightly fried food items. Deep-fried dishes, such as sweet and sour chicken or spring rolls, tend to be higher in unhealthy fats and calories. Opt for healthier alternatives like steamed dumplings or grilled options instead. Pick items that are baked, steamed, boiled, or sautéed in just a bit of oil.
  • Watch your portion size and avoid second helpings.Chinese food servings can be generous. Be mindful of portion sizes and consider sharing dishes or taking leftovers home for later.
  • Opt for steamed or stir-fried dishes: Steamed dishes are often a healthier choice as they retain the nutrients without adding excessive oil or fat. Stir-fried dishes with plenty of vegetables and lean proteins are also good options.
  • Choose lean protein sources: Look for dishes that feature lean protein sources like chicken, fish, tofu, or shrimp. These provide essential nutrients while being lower in saturated fats.

Categories:   Food 

Tags:   #weightloss

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