Chinese food is a popular ethnic cuisine in the United States, and its emphasis on vegetables and a limited use of high-fat meats may make it one of the healthiest choices. However, some Chinese dishes, such as mu shu chicken, can be high in calories, sodium and fat. Knowing the nutrition information for mu shu chicken can help you make adjustments to your intake to stay within your diet goals.
Mu Shu Chicken
Mu shu chicken is a stir fry dish consisting of chicken and vegetables. Instead of rice, mu shu chicken is served with thin pancake-like wraps that you use to wrap the meats and vegetables and eat like a soft taco.
Like any restaurant food, nutrition information for mu shu chicken can vary depending on the recipe and chef. Calories in a serving of mu shu chicken, including the pancakes, can vary from 750 to 1,140. Portion sizes at Chinese restaurants are often very large. To save calories, split your entree with your fellow diner or pack half of it to eat at another meal.
With its use of oils and lean cuts of meat, Chinese food is usually lower in saturated fat than other ethnic cuisines such as Italian or Mexican. However, entrees can still be high in fat. One serving of mu shu chicken contains 31 to 46 grams of total fat and 6 grams of saturated fat. On a 2,000-calorie diet, you should limit your intake of total fat to 65 grams a day, and saturated fat to less than 20 grams a day. One serving of mu shu chicken meets half your daily total fat needs.
Mu shu chicken is high in carbohydrates but a good source of fiber. One serving contains 55 to 111 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of fiber. On a 2,000-calorie diet you need 300 grams of carbohydrates and 25 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is a nutrient lacking in most diets, according to the American Dietetic Association. Fiber aids in hunger control, prevents constipation and can lower your risk of heart disease by helping to decrease blood cholesterol levels.
One serving of mu shu chicken contains more than 100 percent of your daily protein needs, with 62 to 63 grams per serving. Adult women need 46 grams of protein a day, and men need 56 grams a day.
The biggest downfall of Chinese food is its sodium content. One serving of mu shu chicken contains 4,350 milligrams of sodium, or nearly two days worth of sodium. High intake of sodium causes your body to retain fluids, which can strain your heart and increase your blood pressure. A healthy diet should limit daily sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams a day, or 1,500 milligrams if you have high blood pressure or heart conditions, according to the American Heart Association.
- PF Chang's: Nutrition Information
- My Fitness Pal: Calories in Chinese Restaurant Mu Shu Chicken
- Centers for Science in the Public Interest: Chinese Food: A Wok On the Wild Side
- American Dietetic Association: Healthy Implications of Dietary Fiber
- American Heart Association: Salt
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010: Executive Summary