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Registered Dietitians Answer Your Questions about Restaurant Nutrition

What Are the Best Choices for Healthy Chinese Food at Restaurants?


Lucky for you—and for all of us, it’s not too hard to find healthy Chinese food at restaurants; you just need to know what to look out for and what to avoid. 
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Q: I’m following a healthy diet, but I don’t want to give up my favorite Chinese food.  What are the best choices for healthy Chinese food at restaurants for health and weight loss?

A: Chinese food has earned something of a bad reputation over the years for being a higher calorie, fat and sodium choice when it comes to restaurant food.  Many believe there is no such thing as healthy Chinese food.  The truth is that it's not that difficult to eat healthy Chinese food when you're away from home.  As with many restaurants and cuisines, it really depends upon what you order!  In fact, Chinese food has some great choices for a healthy diet when you know how to make the best choices.

Here are some tips to help you choose the best options for healthy Chinese food at restaurants next time you head out or order in:
  • Go Big on the Veggies
    Chinese food really knows how to make the most of vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, bok choy, peppers, bean sprouts, carrots and more.  Whatever your entrée, make sure it has lots of veggies!  Vegetables add vitamins and phytochemicals to your meal; their fiber helps to fill you up; and they add great flavor and texture to all kinds of dishes.
  • Keep Sauces on the Side.
    This can be an easy way to quickly cut calories, fat, sodium and sugar from your Chinese food.  Request sauces on the side to add as needed, or ask that half the usual amount of sauce be used to prepare your dish.
  • Steamed Anything is Your Friend.
    When ordering meats, vegetables, appetizers, and even starchy side dishes like rice, choose steamed, broiled, roasted, or lightly stir-fried options over breaded and fried options. Choose a stir-fried Kung Pao Chicken dish over the fried General Tso’s Chicken.
  • Go with Whole Grain
    Opt for steamed brown rice when available instead of fried rice or lo mein noodles.  This simple swap can increase the nutrition and fiber in your meal while helping to keep your blood sugar steady.

Is Chinese food health?  It certainly can be!  Finding the best choices at Chinese restaurants and more can be an easy way to enjoy your healthy diet.  Use these tips when eating out at Chinese restaurants or find healthier choices like these at Chinese restaurants:
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Registered Dietitians Answer Your Questions about Restaurant Nutrition

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