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Registered Dietitians Answer Your Questions about Restaurant Nutrition

What are Healthy Choices at Chinese Restaurants?
Lucky for you—and for all of us, it’s not too hard to eat healthy at Chinese restaurants; you just need to know what to look out for and what to avoid. 
Healthy Food

Q: I'm never sure what I should order at Chinese restaurants to fit with my diet. Are there healthy options available? A: This question about healthy choices at Chinese restaurants is almost as popular as Chinese food itself. Luckily, it’s not too hard to find healthy choices at Chinese restaurants as long as you know what to look for and what to avoid. Use these tips next time you’re eating out at your local Chinese restaurant:

  • Start with Soup.
    Starting a meal with soup can actually help decrease calorie intake from the entire meal. Regardless of cuisine, broth-based soups are often lower in calories and fat than cream-based soups. Choose from broth-based soups like miso, hot and sour, or egg drop soup.

  • Know your appetizers.
    Appetizers can be excellent sources of vegetables and lean protein, but they can also be diet-destroyers. Choose vegetable-heavy apps—and only those that are not fried such as vegetable spring rolls (vs. fried egg rolls), steamed vegetable dumplings (vs. fried dumplings), and lettuce wraps.

  • Focus on vegetables.
    Whatever your entrée, make sure it contains veggies! Vegetables add vitamins and phytochemicals to your meal; their fiber helps to fill you up; and they add great flavor. Look for healthy Chinese choices that include vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, Chinese eggplant, cabbage, green onions, peppers, and bean sprouts.

  • Be wary of sauces.
    They can add lots of calories, fat, sodium, and/or sugar. To reduce your intake of these while keeping the delicious flavor, ask for your dish to be prepared with half the usual amount of sauce or with the sauce on the side to add in moderation.

  • Steamed anything is your friend.
    Whether meats, vegetables, appetizers, or starchy side dishes, choose steamed, broiled, roasted, or stir-fried options over breaded and fried options. Choose a stir-fried Kung Pao Chicken dish over the fried General Tso’s Chicken. Opt for steamed brown rice instead of fried rice or Lo Mein noodles.  Nibble on steamed edamame instead of fried crab rangoons.

Use these tips when eating out at Chinese restaurants or find healthy choices at Chinese restaurants reviewed and recommended by dietitians.  Here are just some of the Healthy Dining choices you can find on HealthyDiningFinder: