Healthy Low-Calorie Food at Panda Express

Keep your diet on track when you eat Chinese fast food

healthy food at Panda Express
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Panda Express offers Chinese food for diners on-the-go. But can you eat healthy at Panda Express? If you're not familiar with the menu, you might be confused about which items are low in calories and which foods are best for your diet. This guide will help find healthy choices at Panda Express.

Panda Express Nutrition Info

It's always smart to look online at the menu before you visit Panda Express. Trying to make a diet-friendly food decision is difficult when you're standing in line at the restaurant.

 The Panda Express online menu allows you to see basic nutrition for each entree and side dish so you can make smart decisions in advance.

When you visit the website, you'll see that there is an easy-to-use nutrition calculator that helps you tally the total calories for your entire meal. You'll also find several items that have a small green  "Wok Smart" icon on the picture. These healthy Panda Express items are lower in calories and better for your diet. If you visit the restaurant often, you can even download and print the entire Nutrition and Allergen Information Sheet to keep handy for quick reference.

Healthy Panda Express Food 

If you're trying to lose weight, choose Panda Express food items that are freshly grilled and filled with veggies. Avoid items that are breaded or fried - even if they sound healthy. Fried food is much higher in fat and calories.

So what should you order? These items will help keep your diet on track.

Panda Express Healthy Entrees

  • Broccoli Beef (190 calories, 9 grams protein, 1.5 grams fat, 13 grams carbohydrate)
  • Mushroom Chicken (170 calories, 12 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 11 grams carbohydrate)
  • Black Pepper Chicken  (280 calories, 13 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrate

You might be surprised to see that some menu items that sound healthy (like chicken or tofu entrees) are actually higher in calories.

So be sure to check the calorie count before you place your order.

Panda Express Healthy Sides and Appetizers

  • Mixed Veggies (80 calories, 5 grams fiber)

The rice side dishes are high in calories. If you choose rice, the white rice is lowest in calories, but the brown rice provides 4 grams of diet-friendly fiber.

If you like Panda Express appetizers, you might choose to eat a full order as your entree. The appetizers are higher in calories because most of them are fried. But the portion sizes are smaller, so you may not get enough food with an appetizer to help you feel full. 

And, of course, no Chinese lunch or dinner would be complete without a fortune cookie at the end of the meal. A Panda Express fortune cookie is just 32 calories so you can enjoy dessert without derailing your diet.

*Article originally published February 7, 2008. Updated by Malia Frey, About.com Weight Loss Expert

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