Chinese food is generally thought of as a healthy cuisine. Authentic Chinese food is loaded with crisp vegetables, lean shrimp or chicken and very little oil. Authentic dishes limit fried meats and utilize cooking techniques like stir frying and steaming. Chinese food can be a health conscious choice. However, as with many healthy ethnic cuisines, the Americanized version is usually loaded with calories, fat and salt. So which Chinese foods should you avoid? Here are seven of the unhealthiest Chinese foods to order in a restaurant.
Unhealthiest Chinese Foods: Orange Beef
Sometimes called crispy beef (that should be a huge clue), orange beef packs a walloping 1,500 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat and 3,100 mg of sodium. Not surprising considering that orange beef is basically ¾ pound of deep fried meat garnished with a few vegetables. The Fix: Don’t fry the beef or add less beef and more broccoli and other veggies to your orange chicken.
Unhealthiest Chinese Foods: BBQ Spare Ribs
Winning the title of unhealthiest Chinese appetizer, four BBQ spare ribs have 600 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat and 900 mg of sodium. That’s the equivalent of two pork chops. And really, who can eat just four ribs? The Fix: Skip the spare ribs and opt for healthier appetizers like steamed dumplings.
Unhealthiest Chinese Foods: Fried Rice
The name says it all for this unhealthy choice. High in calories, saturated fat and refined carbs, fried rice should be avoided when dining out. Fried rice offers a hearty 1,200 calories and 2,900 mg of sodium. It also provides a big cholesterol punch if made with eggs. The Fix: If you just have to satisfy your Chinese fried rice fix, ask if it can be made with brown rice, skip the eggs or make your own healthy version at home.
Unhealthiest Chinese Foods: Lemon Chicken
Four chicken dishes are especially unhealthy when eating Chinese food. Lemon chicken, a battered and deep fried concoction with a sugary sauce contains 1,400 calories and 13 grams of saturated fat. That’s the equivalent of eating three fried McDonald’s McChicken sandwiches plus drinking a 32 ounce regular Coke. The Fix: Skip this nightmare dish.
Unhealthiest Chinese Foods: Other Chicken Dishes
Chicken with black bean sauce may sound like a healthy choice. After all, it contains beans right? You may want to rethink eating this Chinese dish when you consider the 3,800 mg of sodium. That’s more than a healthy adult should have in an entire day. General Tso’s chicken and sweet and sour chicken may be a tasty treat, but they are not friendly to your waistline. Battered, floured and deep fried then soaked in a sugary sweet sauce, these dishes are as bad as you can get when dining Chinese. In fact, sweet and sour sauce adds the equivalent of an entire sugar cube to each bite you take. The Fix: Split these fatty dishes with a friend and choose healthy sides like steamed veggies and plain rice.
Center for Science in the Public Interest