When it comes to ethnic fast food, Chinese makes a fairly healthy choice because of its emphasis on vegetables, lean proteins and vegetable oils. But not all Chinese food and products are healthy. Fried chow mein noodles are crispy noodles added to Chinese salads for nuttiness and crunch. But these noodles also add calories, fat and sodium and little nutritional value to a healthy salad.
A 1/2-cup serving of fried crispy chow mein noodles contains on average 131 calories. Fried crispy chow mein noodles are a calorie-dense food, meaning they have a high calorie count compared to their serving size. By comparison, 2 cups of mixed greens contains 50 calories. Adding even a 1/4-cup serving of the noodles to your salad increases its calorie content by 65 calories. Eating too many calorie-dense foods can cause you to consume too many calories and lead to weight gain.
Some of the calories in the fried crispy chow mein noodle come from its fat content. A 1/2-cup serving contains 5 g of total fat and 1.3 g of saturated fat. While fat is an essential nutrient, providing energy and helping you absorb essential vitamins, consuming too much fat can increase your risk of obesity and heart disease. You should limit your intake to less than 30 percent of your daily calorie needs. On a 2,000-calorie diet, that means limiting your daily fat to less than 66 g a day.
As a flour-based product, most of the calories in fried crispy chow mein noodles come from their carbohydrate content. A 1/2-cup serving contains 19 g of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are also an essential nutrient, providing your body with energy. In fact, most of your daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. A healthy diet should get 45 to 65 percent of its calories from carbs.
Although not significantly high in protein, a 1/2-cup serving of chow mein noodles provides 3 g of protein, meeting 6 percent of your daily value. The percent daily value is based on a healthy diet for adults containing 2,000-calories. Because the noodle is a plant-based food, it does not provide all of the essential amino acids your body needs to function properly.
The sodium content of fried crispy chow mein noodles can vary depending on the source of the noodle. On average, a 1/-2-cup serving contains close to 200 mg of sodium, meeting 8 percent of your daily value. Sodium intake needs to be limited to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. You daily intake should be less than 2,300 mg a day.
- Center for Science in the Public Interest; Wok Carefully: CSPI Takes a (Second) Look at Chinese Restaurant Food; March 2007
- Cook's Thesaurus; Asian Wheat Noodles; Lori Alden; 2005
- Mayo Clinic; Energy Density and Weight Loss: Feel Full on Fewer Calories; January 2011
- "The Complete Book of Food Counts"; Corinne T. Netzer; 2009