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Chinese food

Chinese dishes -- such as steamed vegetables, fish and rice -- are very healthy, nutritionally balanced and low in fat and calories. But some Chinese food can actually be high in fat, as well as calories. Here are some suggestions on how to select Chinese meals that will fit into a healthy, low-fat diet:

  • When ordering an appetizer, keep in mind that egg drop, wonton or hot and sour soups have less fat and calories than an egg roll, fried dumplings or spareribs.
  • Select foods that are steamed, broiled or roasted. Words such as coated, twice-cooked, batter-coated, marinated or crispy suggest a food is prepared in a way that increases its fat content.
  • Avoid crispy chow mein noodles, which are high in fat.
  • Good low-fat Chinese entrees include: chicken, beef, pork or shrimp chow mein, chop suey, moo goo gai pan, and stir-fried meat with vegetables.
  • Request dishes with as little sauce as possible or, better yet, with the sauce on the side. Sauces, seasonings, marinades and hot oil cooking can greatly increase the sodium and fat content of seemingly healthy dishes -- such as steamed vegetables and fish. Ask for reduced sodium soy sauce if you're watching your sodium intake. Duck and plum sauces are fat-free, but high in sugar.
  • Order steamed rice instead of fried rice. Eat more rice and less of the entree. The rice will fill you up, with less fat.
  • To decrease calorie intake, share large restaurant entrees with a companion or bring the leftovers home to enjoy at another meal.
  • For dessert, have a fortune cookie, of course!


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