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What to Eat/What Not To Eat: Chinese Restaurants

By: Caley Walsh

When dining at Chinese restaurants, be careful to avoid deep-fried dishes and choose stir-fried or steamed options. Here's What to Eat and What Not to Eat at Chinese restaurants. You can stick to your diet and still get delivery every once in awhile!


What to Eat

  • Soup- Start the meal off with soup or wonton soup, which is a broth soup featuring dumplings made with lean pork and shrimp. Starting with soup helps you to not over-eat the rest of the meal and avoid unhealthy appetizers.
  • Vegetables- Look for dishes made with vegetables (Buddha’s Deligh) or a good portion of vegetables, such as Moo Goo Gai Pain (stir-fried chicken and vegetables). Try tofu if it’s available. Just make sure you ask for it stir-fried (such as in Ma Po Tofu) rather than deep-fried.
  • Shrimp Dishes- Most shrimp dishes will have a higher percentage of vegetables and shrimp themselves are lower calorie. Try Szechuan shrimp.
  • Brown Rice- Ask for brown rice, but if not available, have plain boiled white rice. Go easy on the high-sodium soy sauce or try the low-sodium variety (green top). When having your dish over rice, use the chopsticks or a fork to bring the foods over to your plate, which will bring less sauce and oil to be soaked into the rice.

What Not to Eat

  • Egg Rolls- This fried appetizer is an obvious no-go. Try spring rolls which are smaller and sometimes steamed rather than fried.
  • Sweet & Sour Dishes- These are generally breaded and fried before adding the sweet and sour sauce. The chicken varities are lowest calorie though.
  • General Tso’s Chicken- This Chinese restaurant classic is battered and deep-fried, delivering around 1,300 calories on average.
  • Kung Pao Chicken- Although often stir-fried rather than deep-fried, the nuts in this dish are responsible for the high number of calories.
  • The whole dish- Eat only half and save the rest for tomorrow’s lunch.
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Thanks for this tips. I agree that we should always start with the soup.


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