Eating out is a fun and easy way to socialize with others and relax at the same time. Chinese food is one of the favorite cuisines because there are so many flavorful dishes. Although, many of the foods at Chinese restaurants are cooked with dark meats and a lot of oil, so they are loaded with calories, fat, sodium and even sugar. It's possible to eat healthy, yet still palatable foods while dining at a Chinese restaurant, provided that you know what keywords to look for on the menu.
Different Steps of Choosing Healthy Chinese food:
Spring rolls are smaller than egg rolls and have a thinner wrapper. Usually, they are filled with vegetables and rice. Chinese soups are also low in calories. One serving of wonton, hot & sour or egg drop soup is a wise option to choose. Avoid the fried noodles that often come with these soups. Sprinkling them on top increases both the calorie and fat content.
Avoid sweet and sour pork or chicken, fried dishes and crispy beef. Large portion sizes can turn a low-calorie meal into a calorie-laden feast. Try shrimp with lobster sauce, which is composed of shrimp in a light wine sauce with egg, mushrooms and scallions
"Buddha's Feast" is a vegetable side dish that comes either steamed or stir-fried. The steamed option is lower in calories and includes a variety of vegetables, such as snap peas, asparagus, black mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn and carrots.
In general, there are five traditional Chinese cuisines from five different regions in China. Cantonese is the cuisine of southeast China and, in general, is known for lighter fare. While not all Cantonese food items are low-calorie, many tend to be a better choice and include such options as lightly cooked meat and vegetable dishes. Dishes made with fish, other seafood or chicken and lots of vegetables are usually the best choices calorie-wise. Also look for key words on the menu that indicate healthier preparation methods, such as steamed, "Jum" which means poached and/or "Kow" which means roasted.
The preparation method helps determine whether a Chinese take-out dish is healthy. Your best bet is to choose something that is barbecued, broiled, poached, roasted or steamed. Menu terms to look for include chu, shu, jum and kow. Stir frying may be a good option if you choose vegetable dishes, but rice and noodle dishes absorb too much oil to be healthy when stir fried. Avoid dishes that are battered, breaded or fried.
Many Chinese take-out options are high in salt. Make your choices of healthy Chinese food by asking the chef to prepare them without soy sauce and MSG, and limiting the amount of extra sauces that you add to your meal. Servings are large, so share with a friend or pack at least half in a container to enjoy healthy Chinese food for a later meal. This will help keep you from eating excess calories in one meal.
Ask that the chef use minimal oil and only half the sauce, or to prepare your take-out food in vegetable stock. Request extra vegetables, or order a side of steamed vegetables to mix in with your main dish in order to get healthy Chinese food. Then serve and eat your food with chopsticks to minimize the amount of sauce you eat and to help you eat your meal slowly so you eat less. Start your meal with soup or steamed appetizers instead of fried appetizers, and drink water or tea instead of soda.