Chinese cuisine is very popular in the United States, almost as popular as the all American burger and fries. In almost every city, there are often several different Chinese restaurants to choose from. Many people believe that since Chinese food often contains vegetables that it’s healthy, and sometimes it is healthy, but just like any other type of restaurant, if you make the wrong choices at your favorite Chinese restaurant, your meal will be just as unhealthy as the burger and fries at the local Burger King. The following foods are some of the most unhealthy choices you can make at a Chinese restaurant.
Fried Rice – Most Chinese restaurants will fill your plate with very little vegetables and meat and pile it high with large amounts of rice fried in oil. One serving of rice is ½ cup, but these large restaurant servings are at least 4 cups, which is excessive. A healthier choice is to opt for steamed rice, and some Chinese restaurants even offer brown rice, which of course is an even healthier option. A better option is vegetables, but if you must have steamed rice, be sure to eat only the recommended amount of 1/2 cup, which is a normal portion.
Almond Chicken – My absolute favorite Chinese restaurant is China One, located in Hazel Park, Michigan. They have the best tasting Almond Chicken I’ve ever had. When I moved to North Carolina, I realized that the Chinese restaurants here don’t sell Almond Chicken prepared the way I’m used to, which is actually a good thing. Sadly, China One’s Almond Chicken is not very healthy, as the chicken is breaded and deep fried, then smothered in thick, floury gravy. A better choice is chicken without breading, that is stir-fried or steamed with vegetables.
Lo Mein – I once read in a magazine that Lo Mein is a better alternative for diabetics since white rice is so high glycemic. Despite this fact, however, lo mein is no healthier. It’s dark color is due to the immense amount of oil that the noodles have soaked up, which is not very healthy in the least. A healthier alternative would be steamed rice or vegetables.
Lemon Chicken – Although it may be quite tasty, this 1400-calorie meal is full of fat and totally devoid of any vegetables. You’d almost be better off eating at McDonald’s. Better choices would be chicken that has not been battered and fried. Also, Chinese dishes with plenty of vegetables is even healthier.
Sweet and Sour Pork – This is yet another tasty but not-so-healthy Chinese dish. The pork is portioned in chunks that are deep-fried in unhealthy oil, then soaked in sugary sauces. This adds excessive amounts of calories and fat, and neither are good in excess. Anything baked, broiled , steamed or stir-fried is far healthier.
Cleveland Clinic Portion Sizes – http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/weight/servingsize.aspx
Men’s Fitness Healthy Chinese Food – http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/259
Newsweek Unhealthy Chinese Dishes- http://www.newsweek.com/2008/04/23/unhealthy-chinese-food-choices.html