You would think that someone could make Chinese food healthful, considering the tons of vegetables, host of seafood options, and great potential to keep saturated and trans fats down. Almost all of the preparation uses vegetable oil. Brown rice is almost always an option, and usually a section of the menu focuses on steamed dishes, prepared with no added fat or sodium. Still, navigating a Chinese food menu is confusing, as many entrees contain much more than 1000 calories—at least half a day’s worth of calories for the average person. Sodium is usually high in Chinese foods because of all the sauces, and portions are often twice as big as necessary. If you’re looking to lose weight by following a, try the tips below to make your meal that much more healthy.
Helpful tips for ordering
Try these helpful tips when ordering:
▪ Have tea! It will slow down your meal, and you will feel fuller sooner. Also, tea will replace caloric beverages you may otherwise consume.
▪ Order a lunch-sized portion, if available. Some restaurants will let you order a lunch-sized portion any time of day; lunch portions are smaller than the dinner size and will help prevent overeating.
▪ Choose soup to start your meal, unless you struggle with hypertension or sodium-sensitive medical issues. Egg drop soup, hot and sour soup and wonton soup average 100 calories per cup. They are better choices than most appetizers, which may have more calories and fat than your entrée.
▪ Choose one spring roll or two steamed dumplings as alternatives to soup, if you have a friend to share the order with (most spring rolls will come two to an order and most dumplings have five or six per order). They average 100-150 calories and are lower in sodium than the soups.
▪ Order a vegetarian entrée that is stir-fried or steamed. Choose a vegetable-based dish that does not absorb oil readily (think snow peas vs spinach). Portion some of the dish onto your plate of rice, so that your food does not continue to sponge up the added sauce that accumulates in the bottom of the serving dish.
▪ Choose something from the steamed menu if you are ordering from the vegetarian menu. Ask for the sauce on the side to “dip”; keep your dipping down to a tablespoon and you’ll have made a better choice.
▪ Pick a chicken, shrimp, or vegetable dish vs noodle and rice dishes, which tend to be skimpy on the vegetables and heavy on the fat and sodium. It is best to stay away from the combination choices.
▪ Select a dish without the added sauce. In the calorie department, soy sauce, duck sauce, and mustard sauce won’t put you over the edge. However the added sodium is something you can live without; the food is most likely salty enough.
▪ Include a serving of rice (1 cup brown or white), which has approximately 200 calories and no fat. Rice is going to help fill you up, and make your meal more satisfying and balanced.
▪ Split your entrée or take half home for another time.
▪ Ask for low-sodium sauces. Request that the kitchen substitutes broth or water for the oil normally used to prepare your meal.
▪ Ask if nutrition information is available. Because Chinese food restaurants can vary greatly in preparations and methods, it is difficult to determine the nutrition content of what you are eating.
At Shane Diet Resorts, we promote adult weight loss through nutrition and physical activity. For more information about healthy eating, visit .