Chinese food is fabulous, something we crave and rave about, but it also comes with an insane amount of sodium, MSG and other ingredients that thwart our healthy workout behaviors and reduces these benefits when it comes to healthy eating habits. Many of the staples found in traditional Chinese fares at a restaurant near you are fried in different types of oils that can be loaded with fat. Sauces are also packed with sodium, sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
But there are healthier alternatives to ordering from this fantastic, fast-food option. Whether we’re dining in or taking it on the run, think about these options when considering some of the best take-out options we have at our delicious disposal:
Start With The Soup
Go for broth-based soups like Wonton or Hot and Sour flavors. Although they may contain a fair amount of salt, they are usually low in total calories. These types of soups usually only weigh in at around 100 calories per serving. Also, when you begin your meal with a serving of hot broth, you’ll likely eat less in the long run and this will help to cut calories.
Sauce On The Side
As with many restaurants, much of the calories and sodium come from the mysterious ingredients found in their sauces. Depending on the particular restaurant, see if you can order their dishes with the sauce on the side. This way, you can control how much goes onto the meal.
Instead of fried rice, opt for the steamed variety instead, which will have less fat and total calories per serving. As a matter of fact, try and steer clear of anything that’s fried, like wontons, chicken or other dishes. This will obviously cut down on total fat in these foods.
Pack On The Veggies
One of the best parts of good Chinese food is all the colorful vegetables that are included in many of their dishes. Pick one of those dishes that has a protein source, like chicken or beef, and double down on the vegetables if you can. Many of these restaurants have a steamed vegetable dish as a side and you can add this to your other protein-packed item.
Mind Your Portions
Keep your portion control in check, especially when it comes to sides packed with empty carbs like chow mein, rice and noodles. Load up on plenty of vegetables and at least one protein choice with your meal.
Steer Clear of Chains
Not to name any particular names, but try to avoid the chains when it comes to Chinese take out since they won’t usually veer from their method of preparation. Most of these venues cook their meals in large, pre-made batches, which means they’re not always the freshest. It also means that sometimes ordering something like ‘sauce of the side,’ simply isn’t an option.
While Americans are getting about one-third of their food intake from outside their homes, with the newer FDA nutrition law in place, restaurants must divulge the calorie count of their foods to the public. But other information like cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, and protein might only be made available in writing on request.