Panda Express has a few things going for it. All of their dishes are trans-fat free, they don’t add MSG to the food, and you can get a number of options that are heavy in the vegetable department. But can this Chinese fast-food chain measure up to the recommendations by our registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield and the new daily sodium recommendations that all meals contain less than 500 calories and 500 milligrams of sodium? We recently examined the menu to find the healthiest menu options, and were pleasantly surprised with the variability!
Healthiest Meals at Panda Express
1. Half an Entree of Eggplant and Tofu and Half an Order of Steamed Rice. Enjoy this veggie-based meal for only 365 calories and 340 calories. If you have a sweet tooth after, you can even indulge in a Fortune Cookie for just another 32 calories and 8 milligrams of sodium.
2. Half an Entree of Orange Chicken and Half an Entree of Mixed Veggies. If you’re looking for a lower-carb meal, try this half-entree combination that gives you lots of protein and fiber. And with 220 calories and 450 milligrams of sodium, you can feel good about eating it.
3. Half an Entree of Mandarin Chicken and Half an Order of Steamed Rice. This filling meal has just 365 calories and 370 milligrams of sodium. An easy choice.
4. Full Entree of SweetFire Chicken Breast and Half an Order of Mixed Veggies. If you like spicy foods, give this combo a try for 450 calories and 500 milligrams of sodium.
5. Half Entree of Beef Broccoli and a Full Order of Steamed Rice. One of my personal favorite dishes, this has just 485 calories and and 370 milligrams of sodium, making it a solid meal.
The real standout on this menu is that the restaurant actually serves a side with zero milligrams of sodium — rice! Granted, it’s not calorie free, but it’s nice that you can pair half an order of it with half of an order of another main entree and have a filling meal. Now if only they’d only offer brown rice…