Chinese food is a genre of food with various flavors and sauces that can be very yummy, but also pack a punch in terms of calories. Depending on where you go for your Chinese food, you can in many instances find buffet options and quick serve restaurants in your local mall or shopping center. Beware of buffets, as with any genre of food, because this type of eating provides too many temptations for over-filling the plate and repeat visits.
Popular dishes such as Sesame Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken should not be kept on your list of go-to options. These types of meals are fried – a major offense right off the bat and then covered in sauces that are full of sugar and in some cases MSG, which is not something you want to be ingesting. Check out my newsletter article from June 2008 where I highlight the negative effects of MSG.
Beware of sauces that you don’t have control over that are found in most Chinese entrees; a sauce can signify the food has been fried. Additionally, Lo Mein noodles are another fried entrée that is typically over the top in the use of oil.
Chinese entrée recommendations and tips:
- Appetizer – Start your meal with two of the more common soups on the average Chinese menu, either Egg Drop or Sweet and Sour. You’ll keep your initial calorie count under 100. This start will help satiate your appetite and prevent the indulgence into higher calorie count foods.
- Steamed – Entrées that are steamed are your best friend in a Chinese restaurant. You can order vegetable as well as poultry dishes steamed with a sauce of choice on the side. This allows you to stay in control of your meal.
- Rice – When offered the option, always opt for brown rice. Brown rice provides fiber and protein, while also helping you to feel fuller longer.
- Dessert – Many Chinese restaurants will provide you with freshly cut fruit after your meal, which is a great end to your meal. You will also likely be provided with fortune cookies as well, fun treats with hidden messages inside. One cookie can add up to 50 calories, so allow yourself to enjoy, but avoid eating all that are provided to your table!
Also try these healthy Chinese recipes at home:
Stay tuned next week as the How to Dine Out Series continues with “How to Dine Out: Pub Food”.