3 Ways to Make Your Chinese Takeout Healthier

Even sesame chicken can be part of a healthy diet


With a little doctoring in your home kitchen, you can transform Chinese takeout into a healthy dinner. 

Perfectly fried egg rolls, neon-yellow egg drop soup, fluffy white rice, fried chunks of Kung Pao chicken smothered in a sweet and spicy (and oddly gelatinous) sauce… These dishes represent all that is right — and wrong — with Chinese takeout. Though this culinary subgenre is beloved for its value, speed, convenience, and flavor, its most popular dishes are a nutritional nightmare. However, with a little doctoring in your home kitchen, you can transform Chinese takeout into a healthy dinner.

Follow these three simple tips to make your Chinese takeout healthier.

Dilute the Soup

A pint of wonton or egg drop soup is a Chinese takeout bargain, but it contains more than a third of your daily allowance of sodium. To cut back on the salt content, add a cup of low-sodium chicken broth to your existing pint of soup. If you’ve diluted the soup too much, just add a touch of soy sauce.

Click here for the best wonton soup recipes.

Add Extra Vegetables

It’s easy to quickly inhale a container of sesame chicken, pork fried rice, or beef lo mein, but after this brief moment of eating bliss, odds are you’ll still be hungry. That’s because a lot of Chinese takeout lacks fiber-rich vegetables and legumes — the stuff that makes you feel full. Mix in some cooked broccoli, zucchini, red pepper, or black beans to turn a calorie-laden pile of food into two relatively healthy meals.

Click here for 10 great dishes to make with frozen vegetables.

Go With the Grain

White rice is the foundation of Chinese takeout meals, but the body processes it the same way it processes any other simple sugar. Many Chinese takeout places these days offer the option of brown rice instead of white; if yours doesn’t, supplement each plate of food with a generous scoop of brown rice of your own, or of quinoa or millet. These grains (or seeds) add texture, fiber, and important minerals to an otherwise nutrient-barren plate of food. Again, an added benefit is that you are able to derive two relatively nutritious meals from an originally unhealthy one.  


Click here for seven uncommon healthy grains.