Healthy Chinese Food Options

Diet-friendly Chinese restaurant choices and recipes

healthy Chinese food options
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You might enjoy Asian food. But can you figure out the best healthy Chinese food options when you're at your favorite restaurant? Or perhaps you like to cook Chinese food at home. Do you know which Chinese food is healthiest to prepare? If you're on a diet to improve your health or lose weight, use this guide to choose low-calorie Chinese food at home or out on the town. 

Healthy Chinese Food Options

If you're at your local Chinese restaurant, take some time to evaluate the menu before you order.

There are often pages and pages of choices. If you're not familiar with the ingredients, be sure to ask your server to get important nutritional information.

And don't be shy! Ask for entrees or appetizers to be customized to meet your dietary needs. Ask for sauces on the side or for high-fat, high-calorie side dishes to be replaced with steamed vegetables. And if you're trying to cut back on starchy carbohydrates, ask for brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice provides more diet-friendly fiber that can help you feel full to eat less.

These are a few of my favorite diet-friendly Chinese food options that you'll find on most restaurant menus.

  • hot and sour soup
  • wonton soup
  • steamed spring roll
  • teriyaki chicken skewer
  • dishes made with steamed or boiled chicken or shrimp
  • steamed vegetables
  • vegetable, lean meat or fish stir-fry (request less oil to be used in preparation)
  • bok choy

Less Healthy Chinese Food Options

Even though many traditional Chinese foods are healthy, some are not.

Foods that are fried or covered in sweet or creamy sauces are likely to be high in fat, high in sugar and high in calories. You can always order these foods and try to eat just a small portion, but that can be tricky in a Chinese restaurant because foods are often served family-style. 

I try to stay away from these less healthy Chinese food choices when I dine out.

  • battered or fried appetizers
  • traditional egg rolls that are fried
  • General Tso's chicken
  • Kung Pao chicken
  • duck dishes that are high in fat
  • dishes that are covered with rich sauces (like Hoisin or sweet and sour sauce)

Healthy Chinese Foods to Cook at Home

If you love Chinese food, you'll save calories and money if you cook it at home. When you choose a healthy Chinese food recipe, you can control the ingredients and even swap out ingredients to lower the fat and calorie content.

Remember that it doesn't matter where you choose to eat, if you want to enjoy a healthy Chinese meal, portion control and smart food choices make all the difference. 

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