Why Eating Chinese Can be a Great Dietary Choice

For people who are trying to get healthier in the new year, a steady diet of the oily, fried options available at Americanized Chinese restaurants may not be the best choice. Not only are these dishes loaded with calories, they are high in fat, sugar, and cholesterol as well.

However, eating authentic Chinese food more often can be an excellent choice. That is because it is loaded with vegetables and lean proteins. Meals are lightly stir-fried or steamed, not fried like they are in a typical restaurant.


{Image Credit: Z & Y Restaurant}

The Health Benefit of Using Chopsticks

One of the biggest reasons that people gain weight is that they haven’t learned to pace their eating and recognize the sensation of being full soon enough. Chopsticks can eliminate both problems since it takes longer to eat with chopsticks than it does a spoon or fork. This allows diners to pause longer between bites.

Research indicates that it normally takes 20 minutes for the brain to get the message the body is full and to stop eating. Unfortunately, most people finish their meals well before this time using typical utensils. Replacing a spoon or fork with chopsticks extends the time spent eating so the brain and body are more in sync with each other.


Strategies for Selecting Healthy Chinese Food

Crispy and fried Chinese foods are high in fat and calories. To avoid getting too full, selecting foods that are barbequed, broiled, poached, roasted, or steamed is ideal. While some Chinese restaurants devote a section of the menu to more healthful choices, diners should come prepared to order a dish low in calories and high in nutrients.

Just like most American restaurants, Chinese restaurants in the United States tend to serve large portions that are too much to eat in one sitting. A typical serving of rice with a meal may be two cups or more. For most people, one cup of rice and one cup of vegetables and meat is adequate to feel satiated. If given the option, brown rice is a better choice than white rice because it contains more fiber and nutrients. White rice has been processed and stripped of its calcium, magnesium, protein, and thiamine in addition to the fiber.

Dishes containing mostly steamed vegetables are low in calories and high in vitamins. Batter-covered meat, seafood, poultry, and vegetables absorb the fat of the entire dish. Skinless meats are an excellent option for those trying to lose weight. The same is true of water chestnuts since they are lower in calories than other types of nuts.

When it comes to sauces, sweet and sour, plum, duck, hoisin, and mustard make better choices than soy, oyster, or bean sauce. That is because the latter are high in sodium and MSG. Diners should make a point to request that their dishes be prepared with minimum oil. The simplest way to control the use of sauces is requesting to have it served on the side. All sauces have a high sugar content and calories, so using it sparingly is essential.


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