Eating Out on a Diet: Chinese Food
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Although traditional Chinese meals are low-in fat and packed with vitamins and minerals, the dishes from your local Chinese restaurants and takeaways can be loaded with calories, because a lot of oil is used and many foods are deep-fried. It’s also easy to over order and then eat too much as a result. Make your Chinese takeaway healthy by ordering just one starter and portion of rice to share, and one main dish each.
Most starters are dieting disasters as they’re deep fried and come in bite-sized pieces so it’s easy to keep eating them – we’re talking sesame prawn toast, prawn crackers, crispy wontons, spring rolls, crispy seaweed and ribs. If you can’t resist, soups are the best choice as they’re usually made from a clear broth.
It might be a favourite but a serving of just two filled pancakes contains around 400 calories – and it’s usually served in addition to the starters and main courses in many Chinese restaurants! The calorie content is so high because the duck is served with it’s skin and this is the fattiest part. If you still can’t resist, fill your pancake with plenty of low-calorie cucumber and spring onion, add a spoonful of plum sauce and just a tiny piece of duck without the skin!
Using chopsticks can help slow down the speed at which you eat, especially if you’re not very good at using them – you’ll spend more time trying to get the food from the plate to your mouth!
It’s been said before, but it really does slash the calorie content of meals if you choose boiled rather than fried rice. A serving of boiled rice contains just 370 calories, while egg fried rice adds up to 625 calories. Go for the special fried rice, which also contains meat and prawns and you’ll boost the calorie content even more. Alternatively, keep calories down by choosing a main course that’s already served with rice or noodles such as beef chow mein or chicken fried rice.
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