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Healthy Low Fat Chinese Takeout Restaurant Choices



By Peter Reyes

Navigating the menu at a Chinese restaurant can be a tricky business especially if you're trying to eat healthy. Popular Chinese takeaway meals are often high in saturated fats and simple carbs. And, they can contain as much as your entire day's worth of sodium.

But don't let that stop you from enjoying Chinese cuisine. Keep these healthy eating tips in mind when you dine at a Chinese restaurant or buy from a Chinese takeout. They will help you make better, healthy low fat choices for Chinese food.


Healthy Chinese Takeaway Options

Appetizers usually come in bite-size pieces so it is very easy to overeat. You want to avoid foods such as egg rolls, prawn crackers, fried wantons and spareribs. They are the least healthy appetizers on the menu, and not to mention those accompanying sodium-laden dipping sauces that are made with sugar, flour, or cornstarch. Instead, order a spring roll (100 calories) over an egg roll (200 calories). Better yet, skip the appetizers and opt for an egg drop soup or any low calorie broth-based soup to cut fat intake.


Vegetables are healthy but not when they're swimming in a pool of glistening oil. Your favorite eggplant in garlic sauce packs a massive 1,000 calories and 2,000 mg of sodium. Try to go for healthy low fat vegetable dishes that are cooked with little or no meat such as Buddha’s Feast (a mixture of stir-fried vegetables – asparagus, black mushrooms, baby corn, broccoli, carrots, and snap peas).


As for low-fat main entrees options, you want to order foods that are steamed, braised, roasted, simmered, stir fried, Jum (poached), Chu (broiled), Kow (roasted) or Shu (barbecued).


Steer clear of anything in batter as these foods are high in fat. Choose dishes such as steamed fish and chicken chop suey. Shrimp dishes are amongst the healthiest on the menu but they can still be high in salt. Be wary of Szechwan shrimp and shrimp with garlic sauce because they give you 700 calories.


In place of that, choose shrimp with lobster sauce, which has only 400 calories. Did you know that lemon chicken has a eye-popping 1,400 calories and 13 grams of saturated fat? That's an equivalent of 3 McChicken sandwiches and a 32-oz Coke! If you want chicken, opt for chicken black bean sauce, which has only half the calories of lemon chicken.


Fried Rice, Chow Mein, Chicken Chow Fun are tempting but they are a BIG no-no when you're watching your cholesterol numbers or trying to cut fat intake. These dishes offer little nutrition as they're nothing but greasy, refined carbs.


If you want rice, ask for brown rice. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrates which keeps you full for a longer period so that you're less likely to snack later in the day.


Most Chinese takeout food contain MSG, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce etc. You can request for your food to be prepared without MSG, and ask for low-sodium sauces. Dishes that are prepared with hot mustard, sweet and sour sauce, plum or duck sauce, tend to be low in sodium. Also, ask for foods to be stir-fried with little or no oil.


Chinese cuisine can be part of a healthy eating plan but you have to be prepared and know your healthy Chinese takeaway options. That way, Chinese food is no longer a health hazard. Better yet, browse through our large collection of easy Chinese recipes, and make yourself tasty MSG-free Chinese meal at home.



what are healthy Chinese takeaway options

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