Six Tips For Ordering Chinese Food Without Derailing Your Diet

Are you craving Chinese food, but worried about ruining your diet? Read on for a few tips on how to make healthy choices when dining at a Chinese restaurant.

Minimize oil

By default, quite a bit of cooking oil is used in stir fries. It adds flavor, and ensures the veggies and meat cook evenly. However, if you're watching your calories, consider asking the cook to cut down on the amount of oil used. There are 251 calories in just one ounce of cooking oil, so reducing this one thing can lower your meal's calorie count quite a bit.

Load up on veggies

When browsing the menu, try and seek out dishes with lots of veggies. They're lower in calories than noodles, rice, or protein, and will fill you up faster. Traditional Chinese dishes such as Buddha's Delight and Moo Goo Gai Pan are typically full of veggies, making them satisfying, diet-friendly options.

Stick with lean protein

Instead of beef, ask for chicken, tofu, or fish as your protein. Including protein in your meal will help keep you full for longer, and using a lean protein reduces the amount of fat and calories in your dish. Just be sure not to overindulge—a serving of chicken, for example, is roughly the size of a deck of cards. Pick out a single serving, and set the rest aside.

Opt for steamed instead of fried

Protein, veggies, dumplings, and spring rolls are usually available both fried and steamed. Although the fried versions may be delicious, stick with steamed if you're watching your calories. Because steaming foods doesn't require much—or any—oil, your meal will have less fat and calories.

Order the sauce on the side

There's no denying it—one of the best parts of any Chinese dish is the sauce. It comes at a price, however. At 15 calories, one ounce of soy sauce won't derail your diet. But odds are good that a traditionally prepared dish has significantly more than one ounce of sauce. Control your portions by requesting that the sauce comes on the side.

Split a dish

If you're dining with a friend, find a dish the two of you can split. If not, box up half of your meal as soon as it arrives. Either way, you'll be less likely to overindulge if your entire meal isn't sitting in front of you, and the portions at most Chinese restaurants are usually enough to easily fill up two people.

Chinese food can be a great option for those watching their weight, so long as you're conscious of what you order.