• You're all caught up!

Can Eating Stir Fries Help You Lose Weight?

author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Can Eating Stir Fries Help You Lose Weight?
Two stir-fried dishes in woks. Photo Credit Aneese/iStock/Getty Images

Stir-fries are versatile entrees that usually have meat or tofu, mixed vegetables, and some seasoning. The usual cooking method is to fry it quickly in oil. You can vary your stir-fries to prevent boredom by using different ingredients and sauces. They are easy to prepare at home, or you can order them from many Asian restaurants. Eating stir-fries can help you lose weight if you control the calories in your meals.

Energy Density

Eating stir-fries can help you lose weight if they have low energy density, which is the amount of calories per volume of food. You can lower the energy density of your stir-fries by choosing the ingredients carefully. Foods like vegetables that are high in water and fiber have low energy density, so make your meal healthy by adding a lot of vegetables to your stir fry. To increase your feelings of fullness, you can also add lean proteins such as chicken breast, egg whites, or light tofu.

You Might Also Like


The advantage of making your own stir fries at home instead of going to a restaurant is that you have complete control over the ingredients and serving sizes. However, the American Heart Association provides some advice for making better choices at restaurants. Choose extra vegetables rather than fried meats, and substitute water chestnuts for cashews and almonds to cut calories. You can also ask for the chef to make your stir-fry with less oil. Eating stir-fries with these modifications can help you lose weight.

Basic Recipe

You can take a basic stir fry recipe and modify it to get a variety of options for your stir-fry meals. The Department of Health and Human Services provides a turkey stir fry recipe that follows the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The main ingredients are turkey, carrots, zucchini, and onions. The sauce includes chicken bouillon, soy sauce, and garlic. You can modify the recipe by adding more vegetables to decrease the calorie density, substituting teriyaki or other low calorie sauces to change the flavor, and substituting different proteins such as fish for the turkey.


Regardless of how healthy your stir fry is, you will not lose weight if you eat too many calories. Monitor your portion sizes to be sure that they are not contributing more calories than your budget allows. Additional foods that you eat along with your stir-fries affect your weight loss. To cut calories, you can skip the rice and substitute a steamed vegetable such as broccoli. If you do choose to have rice, the American Heart Association suggests that you choose steamed rice rather than fried.


Many factors determine whether you lose weight while eating stir-fries. Other foods contribute calories to your diet, and eating high calorie foods in addition to low calorie stir-fries may undermine your efforts to lose weight. Another factor is exercise. Physical activity burns calories and can promote a caloric deficit to help you lose weight. Before starting any weight loss program, you should consult with your doctor to determine a plan that is healthy and most likely to be successful for you.

Related Searches

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media