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Ultimate Guide to Healthy Chinese Food

Updated on February 14, 2008
Vegetable Dumplings
Vegetable Dumplings

CHINESE food is one of the most popular cuisines throughout the world. It is quick and delicious and offers a nice alternative to fast food.

Traditional Chinese food is relatively low in fat, with an emphais on rice, noodles and vegetables. However, some Chinese food can be very high in calories and fat if one does not order smartly.

Here are some tips on how to order healthfully from Chinese food restaurants. Here is the ultimate guide to healthy Chinese food.

To start, why not try some soup? Most soups on a Chinese menu are very low in fat, a great way to start a meal. A good choice is chicken or vegetable with rice soup, or even egg drop.

Chinese food appetizers can be high in fat, such as fried wontons and egg rolls. Instead, try steamed dumplings. The vegetable dumplings are simply delicious. When ordering main entrees, look for items that are steamed, braised, roasted, simmered, or stir fried (ask for foods to be stir fried with little or no oil). Try vegetable-based dishes to further lower fat and calories. Many Chinese food restaurants now offer steamed traditional items such as chicken and broccoli, with varying sauces on the side. Try these dishes with some steamed rice for a healthful meal. you can even go one step further in the direction of healthy and ask for brown rice.

When ordering noodles and rice, order them plain, not fried. Also, be aware that meats in sweet and sour dishes are often breaded and fried. Insted, ask for rosated and grilled meats to cut down on the fat and calories.

Most Chinese cuisines is very high in sodium, from the use of MSG and soy sauce. So you can request that your meals be prepared without MSG or even request for low-sodium soy sauce. Dishes prepared with hot mustard, sweet and sour sauce, plum or duck sauce, tend to be low in sodum.

For dessert, go a head and enjoy that fortune cookie, with a nice cup of grain tea. The fortune cookie has only 15 calories and is a wonderful way to end a delicious meal.

  • Look for dishes that feature vegetables instead of meat or noodles.
  • Ask for extra broccoli, snow peas or other veggies.
  • Steer clear of deep-fried meat, seafood or tofu. Order it stir-fried or braised.
  • Hold the sauce and eat with a fork or chopsticks to leave more sauce behind.
  • Avoid salt, which means steering clear of the duck sauce, hot mustard, hoisin sauce and soy sauce.
  • Share your meal or take half home for later.
  • Ask for brown rice instead of white rice.


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    • chantelg4 profile image

      chantelg4 9 years ago from Northern Ontario

      I love Chinese, and most of what I enjoy, are high in fat. This is a good article if someone wants to enjoy this cuisine more often. Thanks for the info!

    • babybrownfox profile image

      babybrownfox 9 years ago

      My friends and I visit Chinese restaurants very often chantel.. We love it too...

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Love Chinese food! It is true that when you order out, you have to watch all the grease/oil, whatever they did to make it taste good! Thanks for sharing.

    • AllMomNeeds2know profile image

      AllMomNeeds2know 7 years ago

      One of my favorite foods! Great tips, thanks.

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