Is Panda Express Healthy?

Use Nutrition Facts and Tips to Eat a Diet-Friendly Meal

Photo of three spring rolls with sauce
Emilie Duchesne / Getty Images

Panda Express offers Chinese food for diners on-the-go. If you're watching your waistline you might be tempted to eat there. But is Panda Express healthy? 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 your total Panda Express calories. 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 healthy vegetables. 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 Panda Express menu 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
  • String Bean Chicken Breast (190 calories, 14 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 13 grams carbohydrate)
  • Grilled Teriyaki Chicken (300 calories, 36 grams protein, 13 grams fat, 8 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

  • Mixed Veggies (80 calories, 5 grams fiber)

The most popular side dishes are very high in calories. An order of Panda Express Chow Mein provides 510 calories and 22 grams of fat. Their Fried Rice provides 520 calories and 16 grams of fat.

If you like rice, your best bet is to choose one of the plain varieties. The white rice is lowest in calories, but the brown rice provides 4 grams of diet-friendly fiber. But if you're trying to keep your Panda Express calorie count low, skip the starchy side dishes altogether and just fill your plate with more veggies.

Healthy Panda Express Appetizers

There are only a few appetizers on the Panda Express menu. The healthiest choice are the Chicken Potstickers, which provide 160 calories and 6 grams of fat.

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. 

  • Chicken Egg Roll (200 calories, 10 grams fat, 6 grams fat, 6 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrate) 
  • Veggie Spring Roll (190 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrate)

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.

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