Chinese chicken and broccoli dishes' nutrition varies. Such dishes may be high or low in calories. They can also be either healthy or unhealthy, depending on the fat and salt content of the sauces, and the kinds of other ingredients that are included.
Calories in Chinese chicken and broccoli dishes vary greatly, depending on the sauces and other ingredients.
Chicken and Broccoli Calories
FoodData Central reports that 1 cup of chopped raw broccoli contains 30.9 calories, 2.57 grams of protein, 0.34 grams total fat, 6.04 grams carbohydrates, 2.37 grams fiber and 30 milligrams of sodium. In its raw state, this vegetable is very low in both calories and salt.
Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, manganese, calcium and B vitamins, says the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. In addition, it's a cruciferous vegetable, which means it contains beneficial sulfur compounds called glucosinolates.
Four ounces of a raw boneless, skinless chicken breast has 136 calories, 25.4 grams of protein, 2.96 grams of total fat, zero grams of carbohydrates, zero grams of fiber and 50.8 milligrams of sodium, according to FoodData Central.
Experts consider chicken a healthier meat than beef, and white meat contains less fat than dark meat. Just limit your portion size to the recommended 3 ounces, which is half of a boneless, skinless chicken breast, advises the Mayo Clinic.
The carbohydrate content of any chicken and broccoli dish from a Chinese restaurant will depend on the amount of sugar in the sauce, along with the other ingredients. Carbs from sugar and refined grains, such as white rice, are unhealthy, while carbs from vegetables and whole grains are healthy.
Calorie counts will vary, too. Dishes with added fat and sugar will contain more calories than those made with small amounts of these ingredients
Choose Healthy Chinese Food
Chinese food can be healthy, but choose wisely when ordering in a restaurant, recommends the American Cancer Society (ACS). Opt for dishes with plenty of vegetables, and select steamed brown rice rather than fried rice or white rice. Chicken, fish and tofu are all healthier picks than beef and pork.
Avoid fried and breaded meats, as well as crispy fried noodles. Instead of fried wontons and egg rolls, try steamed dumplings.
Ask that the restaurant chef to prepare stir-fry dishes without salt, soy sauce and MSG, using only a minimal amount of oil, advise the ACS. Sauces can contain large amounts of sugar and salt, so request that they be served on the side, rather than poured over the dish.
When you cook Chinese food at home, it's easier to control the unhealthy aspects of the cuisine. The Cleveland Clinic suggests making stir-fry recipes. To prepare such a dish, pour a little oil in a pan and saute the meat first. Next, add vegetables and spices. If the meat starts to dry, add some reduced-fat broth rather than more oil. Stir-fry dishes that exclude refined grains are good for those on a low-carb diet.
Broccoli and Weight Loss
Broccoli and many other vegetables can help with weight management, because they have a high water content and are very low in calories, according to the Mayo Clinic. These vegetables allow you to eat a greater volume of food than more calorie-dense options. Because broccoli is high in fiber, it takes longer to digest, which helps satisfy the appetite.
Read more: Broccoli and Weight Loss
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests ways to include vegetables in the diet to maintain a healthy weight. When making soup, add more broccoli and other vegetables, and less meat and noodles. Instead of topping pasta with meat and cheese, sprinkle it with cooked vegetables. Chopped vegetables also make a nutritious snack in place of chips.
When cooking broccoli at home, choose cooking techniques that won't pack on the pounds. Steam vegetables and flavor them with spices, instead of adding a lot of cheese, butter, cream and other high-fat sauces.
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension: "The Importance of Eating Broccoli"
- Mayo Clinic: "How Meat and Poultry Fit in Your Healthy Diet"
- American Cancer Society: "Restaurant Eating Tips"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Crave Chinese Food? Tips for Heart-Healthy Asian Cuisine"
- Mayo Clinic: "Weight Loss: Feel Full on Fewer Calories"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Using Fruits & Vegetables to Manage Your Weight"
- FoodData Central: "Broccoli, Raw"
- FoodData Central: "Chicken, Broiler or Fryers, Breast, Skinless, Boneless, Meat Only, Raw"