Chinese take out restaurant

8 Simple Ways to Cut Calories From A Chinese Restaurant’s Menu

No matter where you live in American, chances are that you will have a Chinese restaurant close by your neighborhood. In less than 10 minutes, you can have some deliciousness ready for pick up. Next to pizza, it is the next most commonly ordered fast food.

If you’re an American, what’s not to like about Chinese food! All the dishes have been drastically altered/created to fit American test buds. Why do you think there are so many fried and sweet options on the menu?

Do you actually know what’s in Sweet & Sour Chicken?
What’s exactly in the Moo Goo Gai Pan’s clear sauce?
Who’s General Tso (or is it Tao)?

Despite all the bad stuff, there’s still some quality food hidden in that eastern but westernized menu! Let me tell you how to turn your next Chinese restaurant visit into a meal your waist will thank you for.

Authentic Chinese Food

Every heard of the superstition that eating Chinese food only makes you hungry an hour later? Well that’s because you probably didn’t know how to order correctly.

Here at MicVinny we are all about being fit. Let me show you how to hack that Chinese menu to embrace some healthy selections.

Westernized Food

As a man who has traveled the world, let me be the first to tell you that the typical American Chinese restaurants ARE NOT authentic Chinese food!

Chinese restaurant dishes are so calorie condensed because they have been Westernized to cater to the overweight American crowd. Extra sugar, extra oil is used to make Americans fat and happy. The majority of the dishes on the menu actually were invented in America not China.

If you look at the Chinese population BEFORE Western foods were introduced, you see they were a pretty healthy culture. It was not typical to see overweight people in that country like you see today.

Thank You McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC & Coco Cola!!

KFC in Chinia

 

Let’s start hacking away by looking at a Default Chinese Restaurant Menu.  Follow along as you look at the menu.

Get Your Veggies

So the first thing I look for on a Chinese menu is any dish with vegetables. You’re living a healthy lifestyle so you always want to eat as many vegetables as possible in your day. This is where you should be getting your vitamins.

Get Your Protein

This is pretty easy to spot out because most sections of a menu are categorized by meat. Typical choices are Chicken, Pork, Beef, Seafood and bean curd/tofu.

Don’t be afraid to double the protein either if you’re trying to meet your daily protein requirement

Get Steamed Rice As Your Carbohydrate Source

steamed rice

Simple steamed white rice is the best carbohydrate option on a Chinese menu. All the Lo Mein and Fried Rice options are just filled with unnecessary fats and oils. Keep it simple and clean.

Avoid Breaded items

Spring rolls and egg rollsSo the first items we want to check off are any breaded items. I’m talking about the General Tso’s, Sweet & Sour, Fried Dumplings, and egg rolls dishes. These are normally nothing but wasted carbs and oily fats.

Remember you’re trying to get as much protein in your mean. You are not trying to eat fried bread with a tiny sliver of protein.

 

Avoid Fried Items

Any food on the menu that says fried or crispy is a no-no. Most of the breaded items on the menu are deep fried. That’s just a ton of extra calories from oil that we don’t need in our body.crispy-pork-wontons

 

Avoid Sauces

The biggest killer to Chinese foods is the sauce they place in their dishes. The sauces are nothing but sugar and fat.sesamechicken

Seriously! Next time you look at their sauces just image two cups of sugar and about a cup of oil drenched over that food. That’s basically what you’re eating!

Sauces do make the foods delicious. But it’s time you stop thinking that you HAVE to have exactly the amount of sauce they put into your foods. The best sauces to use are:

  1. Soy sauce
  2. Teriyaki
  3. Mustard
  4. Fish sauce
  5. Sriracha/hot sauce

After that, it starts to get somewhat murkier because the sugar content goes up drastically.

If you feel you must have a taste of the default sauce, all you have to do is ask for them to put the sauce on the side. This will allow you to control just how much sauce you add to your food.

160115083651-chinese-cuisine-general-tsos-chicken-exlarge-169

Get Your Food Steamed

Most Chinese restaurants are aware of how health conscious people have become nowadays. To please this crowd they typically will have a healthy/steamed section on their menu. Take advantage of it!

Those are the items you should be ordering.

If they do not have such a section on their menu, Nine times out of 10 all you got to do is ask.

Think Protein/Carb Combo OR Protein/Fat Combo

If you’re eating a healthy diet, then you should be eating lots of vegetables and protein. Now depending on which diet cult you follow you will either think that carbohydrates are either good or evil.

Those who think carbs are evil follow a more paleo, high protein/fat diet low carb diet.

Those who think carbs are good eat a more high protein/high carb/low fat diet.

Most fail to look at is the big picture. It’s your total Calories that matter. I say this because when you are at a Chinese restaurant, you can go either way.

If all the foods on the menu only have oils in them, you might want to go light on the rice OR just avoid it all together and consider this a high protein/high fat meal.

If you’re lucky enough to get a steamed protein/veggie source than go ahead and add some clean white rice to your dish.

There’s no right or wrong answer. The key is that if the dish contains fat, just go ahead and make it follow a high protein high fat protocol for the day. We just don’t want to eat high carbs and high fat in the same meal because we are not trying to go overboard with our calories.

If you tried your best to create a high protein/high carb dish but found it drenched in oil. No big deal, just pivot and avoid the rice to make it a high protein/high fat meal.

MicVinny’s Recommendations:

beef and broccoli

Best High Protein, High Carb Choices:

Steamed Beef/Chicken/Seafood/Pork with Side of Steamed White Rice
Steamed Mixed Vegetables

OK High Protein, High Carb Choices:

Note: Assume that there is still fat/oil cooked with the foods, so reduce carb slightly to make up calorie difference.

Chicken/Pork/Seafood with Broccoli, Keep the sauce on the side
Chicken/Pork/Seafood with Mixed Vegetables, Keep the sauce on the side
Moo Shi Chicken/Seafood; Keep the sauce on the side. 1-3 Pancakes is ok for carb source.

moo shu chicken and vegetables

High Protein, High Fat Choices:

Moo Shi Pork/Beef…Keep the sauce on the side. No Pancakes
Beef with Broccoli, Keep the sauce on the side
Pork/Beef with Mixed Vegetables; Keep the sauce on the side


This list was only created for Americanized Chinese restaurants. If you see a menu with Thai, Japanese or other Asian cuisines…that’s a topic for another day!