Chinese food can be deceptive if you’re trying to watch your weight. It looks like it contains nothing but healthy ingredients—vegetables, chicken, tofu, rice—but, in fact, it can be chock full of calories. Many of the sauces contain high levels of sugar and sodium, and lots of the dishes—even the vegetable-based ones—are fried. However, if you know how to navigate the menu, you can find plenty of healthy, low-calorie meals. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind the next time you’re in the mood for Chinese food.
Go for steamed, rather than fried, options. Choose menu items to build a meal that includes a protein and a vegetable. And always opt for brown rice over white. Ask for your sauces on the side, and check to make sure that they don’t contain sugar, cornstarch, or MSG.
Choose sides, sauces, and appetizers like:
- Fried rice
- Fried egg rolls
- White rice
Choose main dishes like:
- Brown rice, steamed
- Vegetable or shrimp dumplings
- Steamed vegetables
- Pancake (just one per meal)
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