Chinese food is often misconceived as being unhealthy. The Chinese, after all, have a predisposition to eating rice heavy meals. They also like to eat fatty meat dishes that can be bad for the heart. But enjoying Chinese meals don’t mean having to risk obesity and various health problems.
Do you know that the Chinese don’t even have a word for calories? In fact, the people of China regard food as something that nourishes their bodies, and not something that can destroy it. Thus Chinese cuisine is healthy unlike what the media would tend to tell us.
Eat Vegetarian Dishes
One of the ways to enjoy Chinese food without worrying about your weight is to eat vegetable dishes. The Chinese actually treat vegetables as meals and not as accompaniment to meat and fish. When you dine in at restaurants like P.F. Chang’s or Genghis Grille, you might want to try vegetarian recipes such as Broccoli with Oyster Sauce, Chop Seuy, Chinese Green Beans, and Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls.
If you want to keep your body slim, then make sure that half of what’s on your plate are vegetables in any given meal. Fortunately, dining at a Chinese restaurant which has numerous vegetarian dishes affords you that.
Consume Liquid Food
Soup is omnipresent in Chinese restaurants. According to health experts, taking soup before meals can help control your appetite. Taking liquid food can fill you up, so you won’t be going on an eating binge later on.
Chinese soup is also rich in protein. For example, egg drop soup contains 8 grams of protein. Consuming this alone would be enough to provide you with at around 20 percent of your body’s recommended protein intake every day. Egg drop soup is also low in calories so you won’t be worrying about your waist line after eating a small cup. Just be sure not to consume a meal-size bowl because the soup does have a high amount of sodium.
Miso soup also helps in releasing the nutrients from the food that you are about to consume. Although it is Japanese in origin, Miso soup is also served in some Chinese restaurants. The soup is low in fat and contains carbohydrates, fiber and protein.
Eating various shrimp dishes will satisfy your cravings for seafood while keeping your body away from fatty meat dishes. Shrimp is considered a super lean protein sauce. Paired with lobster sauce that may sound rich in calories, shrimp with lobster sauce actually would only give you around 450 calories. Not bad for such a mouthwatering meal.
You can also gorge on shrimp with garlic sauce. It has a higher calorie count of 700 calories, but you can share it with a friend and cut down the calorie count to half. Best of all, shrimp with garlic sauce should make you full quickly because of the lean protein and the veggies included in this meal. Another healthy shrimp dish is steamed shrimp with vegetables.
Tea is another important part of Chinese cuisine. A Chinese meal won’t start without the host filling the teacups of his guests. Consuming a good amount of tea should help you win the battle of the bulge. Green tea, in particular, has been proven effective in allaying hunger, aiding digestion, and eliminating free radicals that can cause heart disease and cancer.
The Chinese are known to be heavy consumers of tea. Traditionally, they use just one teabag every day, filling their cup with hot water and keeping the same leaves on the cup. This is a healthy option for them because it minimizes their caffeine intake.
What to Avoid
There are also Chinese dishes that you should avoid eating if you don’t want to gain weight in a day or so. Steamed pork dumplings may sound healthy and appetizing, but it can ruin your diet plans. For just six pieces, it packs 500 calories which is a lot for just an appetizer.
Chicken with black bean sauce is another entrée that you should avoid ordering at a Chinese restaurant. It has more than 800 calories for every order although you can split it to reduce your calorie count. Another problem would be its high sodium count (4,000) milligrams.
Orange beef may sound light but the reality is that it has more than 1,200 calories per order, no thanks to the batter-coating and the meat being fried and topped with a mouthwatering sauce.
Finally, noodle-based dishes like lo mein are notorious for their high calorie count. Noodle-based dishes such as chow mein are also high in sodium and saturated fats. It would be better if you skip these dishes altogether.
The bottom line is that Chinese food is healthy aside from being delicious. You can enjoy Chinese cuisine without worrying about weight gain by consuming soup before meals, drinking tea, and knowing which entrees to pass up on.