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Ho ho sik! (Good eating).

The Healthier Side of Chinese Food
You Can Eat Low Fat Chinese
by Kim Paolino

Is Chinese food really good for you? I think a lot of people would give a confident nod yes, and if properly prepared, they'd be correct. According to the Food Marketing Institute, 52 percent of all Americans think Chinese food is healthier than most food they consume. However, studies show that a great deal of dishes served in Chinese restaurants are burdened with fat, sodium, and cholesterol, and are covered in delicious, calorie-laden sauces.

Let's face it, we still enjoy the experience of dinning out at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Who doesn't enjoy the exotic atmosphere, the hot mustard, the aromatic tea served in those little cups, chop sticks, noodles dipped in duck sauce, and a drink served in one of those funky looking glasses for two. So if we order with some forethought, there's a way we can still enjoy eating this tasty, quick-served food.

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First, over ordering is a big problem, you get a lot for your money. Calculate at least two, if not three people per serving.

Choose vegetable based soups in lieu of fat ridden, deep fried appetizers. It's no surprise to learn that an egg roll contains 11 grams of fat. If you enjoy egg rolls as much as I do, blot off the extra oil on your napkin to reduce a bit of the fat content. According to the Consumer Report analysis, wonton soup has less than 100 calories and only 2 grams of fat, and Hot and Sour soup has only 4 grams fat, making both a good start to your meal.

Some bad news, based on dinner size portions, another favorite, beef with broccoli, contains a whopping 46 grams of fat, and General Tso's Chicken, that spicy, lip-smacking dish, 59 grams. It gets worse, House Fried Rice, 50 grams of fat and Sweet and Sour Pork, sit for this one... 71 grams.

This doesn't mean you need to stay clear of Chinese food.

  • Order steamed or stir-fried, not deep fried, and go easy on the sauce. In fact, ask for the sauce on the side, and just drizzle a little on for taste.

  • To help turn any dish into a more nutritious version, pile on the rice. It's a great low fat filler with any meat entree. The more rice you add, the less fat and sodium you will consume. Steamed brown rice, as opposed to white rice, is the healthier choice.

  • Veggies, veggies, veggies. No one can make vegetables taste better than Chinese restaurants. Other than rice, it's what makes Chinese food healthy. Mix plenty of steamed vegetables with your main entree, in fact, ask for more vegetables and less meat. They will be sure to accomodate. This minimizes the fat and calories per serving.

  • Chinese food is hefty in the sodium department. Avoid added extra soy sauce, and watch your salt intake with what you eat the rest of the day.

So as not to eliminate eating Chinese food all together, eat in moderation. One other thing, if you don't know how something is prepared, ask.

Ho ho sik! (Good eating).



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