So, as the Healthy Eating editor, I’m supposed to champion all things nutritious. But I have a confession: I love Chinese food. Should I be ashamed? Must I repent to the cashier at Whole Foods?
All joking aside, being able to navigate through a basically unhealthy Chinese takeout menu without giving up your healthy lifestyle is important because the techniques and strategies used can be applied to any fast-food restaurant experience. It’s important to remember that every menu has healthy alternatives, and Chinese takeout menus are no exception. Sticking to stir fried instead of batter fried, starting with a soup and replacing thick sweet sauces with a hit of hot sauce are all ways to lighten your out of the house dining experiences.
I can already sense your skepticism, but let me address your doubts here and now: I will not simply recommend dishes from the “diet” column or variations on “The Buddha’s Delight.” There are tasty Chinese takeout dishes that don’t come loaded with fat, calories, or guilt. But there are also some that should raise a mental red flag and that you should just flat-out avoid.
Not all Chinese food is created equal. Each restaurant has its own style, ingredients, and dish composition. Oh, and just so I don’t forget, always ask for extra hot sauce, which can add low calorie excitement to any plate of food. Here are the healthiest, and unhealthiest, Chinese takeout dishes.