Chinese restaurants are not the healthiest places to eat, according to research done by the National Restaurant Association. High-calorie foods, lots of sodium and high-fat dishes make it easy to break your diet, even if you're only picking small servings here and there. Although eating at a Chinese restaurant while on a diet is possible, you'll have to be very selective and skip some of the popular choices.
Start with a bowl of soup. According to the Weight Loss Resources website, a cup of hot and sour soup contains only 80 calories while a cup of crab and sweet corn soup has about 155 calories. This will fill you up and prevent you from overeating other foods.
Pile up on the veggies, but only the ones that aren't fried or heavy on sauces. According to a 2007 article in NBC News, eggplant in garlic sauce has more than 1,000 calories and the stir-fried greens tops up to 900 calories. Instead, ask for steamed veggies on the side.
Pick brown rice instead of white and choose the steamed option over the fried. According to Weight Loss Resources, a serving of boiled rice has 255 fewer calories than the fried version. Dishes that already come with rice or noodles in theme will save you more calories, as you're likely to skip the side rice.
Remove extras. According to Linda Gassenheimer, author of "The Portion Plan," you can reduce fat and calorie content by getting rid of any batter or coating the deep-fried food has. When choosing a dish with lots of sauce, eat the meat and rice but leave the sauce on the plate to save even more calories.
Choose rice-wine vinegar, ginger or low-sodium soy sauce to flavor your dishes. The sweet and sour sauce, plum sauce and regular soy sauce all contain lots of sugar and salt. This means they add extra calories to your diet, but can also make you retain water because of the high sodium content.
Choose chicken dishes that are stir-fried rather than deep-fried. Avoid meats that are breaded. Pork and beef tend to be higher in fat than chicken, so watch out for large portions. Stir-fried shrimps are a good option.
- Weight Loss Resources: Eating Out on a Diet: Chinese Food
- Health Castle: Survival Guide to Eating Out at a Chinese Restaurant
- NBC: Chinese Restaurant Food Unhealthy
- American Heart Association: Tips for Eating Chinese Food
- Help Guide: Healthy Fast Food
- Weight Loss Resources: Chinese Food Calorie Content