Order Healthy Chinese Food

Published: 21st October 2007
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Is Chinese food really healthy? Well that all depends on what you order. Many people have the misconception that Chinese food = healthy eating. This belief is only true if the restaurant is serving truly authentic Chinese food. There are quite a few menu choices found in Chinese carry out restaurants that have become "westernized", making them high in fat and sodium. Many of the dishes are fried and surrounded by heavy sauces which render the food unhealthy, and are really no better than eating fried fast food.
Here are a few tips to keep the in mind when dining out or calling in for carry out:

Appetizers
- Swap out high fat and high calorie appetizers such as egg rolls and spare ribs for meal starters such as Won Ton Soup or Hot Sour Soup.
- Pick the low cal and lower fat spring roll over egg roll.

Meals
- Swap out fried rice for steamed rice. If offered by the restaurant, order brown rice over white.
- Avoid crispy noodles or pan fried noodles if possible.
- Reduce food quantity. For some reason it is easy to go wild and order four to five different items on a Chinese menu. Keep it simple and order one dish/one soup.
- Choose items on the menu that will be preferably steamed rather than fried.
- Split your meal into two meals. No need to finish it all in one sitting. Most serving sizes sold are actually two servings. Take home the white box and have a second meal. This will cut down the calorie count.
- Many popular dishes range from 1300 to 1500 calories per order (e.g. Lemon Chicken and General Tso). Pick a healthier alternative. Several can be found in Cantonese dishes (e.g. Moo Goo Gai Pan)
- If offered pick shrimp or fish over meat.
- If you must have that heavier corn starched based sauce, see if the cook will skip the breading (e.g. sweet sour pork or chicken).
- Avoid double carbohydrate picks such as rice and noodles. Pick one or the other, not both.
- Drop the fork, use the chop sticks.
- Use Soy Sauce in modest amounts. This sauce is loaded with sodium. If dish is prepared at home you can purchase low sodium based soy sauces at the grocery store.
- Go heavy on vegetables and light on meat (Beef with Broccoli)

Beverages and Dessert
- Drink tea with meal instead of soda. If possible order green tea which is highest in antioxidants.
- For Dessert opt for the low calorie fortune cookie.

Chinese food can be one of the healthiest ethnic foods to consume. I like to order Chinese food as well as prepare it at home using my wok. One of the best attributes of Chinese dishes is the varieties and quantity of vegetables that you can blend together in a stir fry. I like to incorporate such vegetables as bok choy, spinach, carrot, shitake mushrooms, etc. I blend these dishes together using some great sauces such as hoisin, soy, peanut, etc. I serve the finished product over brown rice and end up with a satisfying meal. Let me emphasize that I add these sauces sparingly. Cooking via stir fry or through steaming methods can have enormous health benefits and there is a great Chinese cookbook available that can offers several different ways to prepare this fantastic food. The cookbook is called Real and Healthy Chinese Cooking by Nicholas Zhou. Mr. Zhou's five hundred and forty three page cookbook cover Mandarin, Szechwan, Cantonese, and Hunan dishes. These recipes are authentic Chinese and are healthy recipes that cater to most diets. Check it out now at Eat Healthy Chinese Food Now












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