Sesame chicken is often battered, deep-fried and coated in a sweet sauce, and then liberally sprinkled with sesame seeds just before serving. The number of calories in sesame chicken depends on whether you're eating it at a restaurant, enjoying a frozen dinner or making your own. Knowing the ingredients and how it is prepared can help guide you in choosing a low-calorie version of sesame chicken.
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A Dinner Out
A serving of the average sesame chicken at a sit-down Chinese restaurant contains about 790 calories, many of those from as much as 36 grams of fat. At an average fast-food Chinese restaurant, a small order of sesame chicken can contain about 890 calories, much of it from as much as 23 grams of fat. If you order your sesame chicken steamed instead of fried, you cut the calorie content from 890 to 780 and the grams of fat from 23 to 15 grams of fat.
A Quick Frozen Meal
The number of calories in a frozen sesame chicken meal tends to be less than a restaurant order because portion sizes are typically much smaller and not prepared in as much oil. The average sesame chicken frozen dinner contains between 330 and 340 calories. Because the serving sizes are smaller, they also contain less fat with between 5 and 9 grams per serving.
Making Your Own
Preparing your own sesame chicken meal at home allows you to decide what ingredients to include and how to prepare it, which can help you consume fewer calories and less fat. Use skinless chicken breasts and bake rather than fry your chicken. Because the sauce contains sugar, cut back on the sugar and the sauce itself to reduce the total calorie count.
A Few Additional Tips
Opt for steamed brown rice, which is rich in fiber, rather than fried rice, which is cooked in oil, with your sesame chicken. While sodium doesn't contribute calories to the meal, keep in mind that restaurant sesame chicken and frozen sesame chicken often contain high amounts of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends aiming to keep your sodium intake to just 1,500 milligrams a day. For this reason, it's often best to make your own version of sesame chicken, cutting back on the salt you add.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories
- P.F. Chang's: P.F. Chang’s Nutritional Information
- Pei Wei: Pei Wei's Nutritional and Allergy Information
- Lean Cuisine: Sesame Chicken
- Healthy Choice: Sweet Sesame Chicken
- American Heart Association: Sodium (Salt)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Rice, White, Long-Grain, Regular, Cooked, Enriched
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Restaurant, Chinese, Fried Rice, Without Meat