10 Healthiest and Unhealthiest Chinese Takeout Dishes Slideshow
August 18, 2016
Don’t fear your next Chinese food encounter
Chicken and Broccoli
With lean, white meat chicken and bushy, fiber-filled broccoli, this dish is an excellent choice for someone trying to get the taste of Chinese food without the fat. According to LIVESTRONG.COM, a one-cup serving only contains around 280 calories. If paired with brown rice, this could be a very modest lunch.
Chinese Eggplant With Spicy Garlic Sauce
Chinese eggplant is longer and more tender than its Italian cousin, which makes it better for a quick stir-fry. Often you can request additional vegetables to give the dish more textural contrast and body. The eggplant serves as a perfect substitute for a fattier meat, and its extra fiber will keep you feeling satiated.
Chop Suey can be very disappointing to someone expecting the long greasy strands of lo mein, but I prefer the hearty vegetable dish because you can eat an entire plate without feeling guilty. Traditional chop suey consists of sautéed onion, celery, and carrots in a light sauce. Add chicken, shrimp, or even hot sauce if you’re craving something a little extra.
Moo Goo Gai Pan
For everyone wondering what this dish actually is, here’s the big reveal: The Cantonese name is a literal description of the dish’s contents of button mushrooms (moo goo), sliced chicken (gai pan), and a variety of vegetables such as snow peas, cabbage, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. It’s usually lightly stir-fried and served in mild white sauce. If you want to spice the dish up a notch, put those extra hot sauce packets to good use.
Shrimp and Lobster Sauce
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Another Chinese takeout classic, the shrimp with lobster sauce is a dish with a tinge of mystery. Although not visually appealing, the sauce has a clean taste with a faint hint of seafood. Floating around the thick broth is hunks of shrimp and a mixture of carrots and peas. Shrimp is low in calories, and the sauce gets its viscosity from non-threatening cornstarch.
The starter soup is the key to managing portion control. Although many soups are high in sodium, they are low in calories and fat, and can even provide an extra boost of protein. Try starting your meal with a soup such as egg drop or sweet and sour, but try to avoid the wonton soup if concerned about fat intake This will fill some space in your stomach that otherwise might be occupied by an extra helping of lo mein or dumplings.
Avoid: Deep-Fried Wontons
I know, they’re one of the cheapest items on the menu, with 12 coming in your average order, but that’s still no excuse to eat them. These wontons have no redeeming qualities. They are loaded with grease from being submerged in the deep fryer. To be quite honest, they’re a monstrosity.
Whether you call it a cheese wonton, crab puff, or crab Rangoon, it’s still bad for you. Why this dish even exists is a mystery. Wonton wrappers are loaded with cream cheese and imitation crab meat, then tossed into the deep fryer. The artery-clogging bites are served with a side of sweet dipping sauce — because why not?
Don’t let the seemingly harmless noodles fool you. This iconic Chinese food staple is the dietary equivalent of a kick in the groin. The noodles are refined carbohydrates that do nothing for your health, but do a lot for your waistline. Lo mein often comes in an oil-drenched sauce, increasing its sodium, fat, and calorie count. If you’re really craving it, try these healthier lo mein recipes that you can make at home.
Avoid:Sweet and Sour Chicken
It’s difficult to let this childhood dish go, but we are older and wiser now. Sweet and sour chicken is like taking a chicken tender and dipping it in sugar. The blood red sauce is more sweet than sour, and the oil from the deep fried chicken does you no favors. Most takeout restaurants serve this dish without vegetables or even a side of rice.