When it's prepared properly, Chinese take-out food can be healthy and fits well in a diet aimed at weight loss. Calorie counters can eat platefuls of the vegetables that are a mainstay in Chinese take-out menus. Added sauce and breading, however, can pack on the calories, according to Aetna Intelihealth.
Dishes that are high in fat and cholesterol add unwanted calories to Chinese take out dishes. According to Aetna Intelihealth, calories in food such as egg rolls and dishes like kung pao beef are not much lower in fat and calories than a large meal of burger and fries at a fast food restaurant. Dishes that include large servings of meat and are dosed in cooking oil and cornstarch have the highest caloric content.
According to Nutrition Action, a resource provided by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the reduction of trans fats and saturated oils in take-out Chinese food has made the meals healthier. Dishes loaded with vegetables, skinless poultry and seafood provide low-calorie options. A popular dish called Buddha's Delight or stir-fried mixed vegetables has only about 500 calories and two grams of fat in a serving. Hunan or Ma Po tofu has about 600 calories and four grams of fat.
The sizes of Chinese take-out meals are big enough for two people or for one person to split into two meals, according to Nutrition Action. Many tofu, chicken, pork and beef dishes have enough protein in them for two days worth of the nutrient. Splitting meals also conserves calories. For example, tofu and mixed vegetable dishes usually come with a rich sauce that brings the calorie count up to about 900 and an order of General Tso's chicken has closer to 1,300 calories and 13 grams of fat.
Eating Chinese take-out food with chopsticks can help you eat slower, allowing more time for the food to digest and fill you up. Chopsticks also leave extra sauce on the plate rather than in your mouth. According to Helpguide, choosing healthier options also can help to reduce your calorie intake. Consider ordering soup and appetizers instead of a large meal. A serving of wonton, egg drop or hot and sour soup only has about 100 calories. A spring roll that is made with a thinner wrapper than egg rolls and usually is stuffed only with vegetables also has only about 100 calories.
Cooking style also affects the number of calories you'll eat in Chinese take-out meals. According to Nutrition Action, you should order your tofu vegetables stir-fried instead of fried. Deep fried battered chicken, shrimp and pork are loaded with calories compared to main dishes that are braised or lightly stir-fried.