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chinese food help?

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Old 01-18-2013, 05:20 PM   #1
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Default chinese food help?

not to sound horribly uneducated

but chinese food seems reasonably healthy

obviously not the fried or carb laden items

but like moo goo gai pan ( chicken mushrooms veggies in a clear spiced sauce )

chicken and broccoli

chicken and straw mushrooms

steamed veggies in garlic sauce

hot and sour soup

and other veggie dishes

am i being led into a trap here?
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:29 PM   #2
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I believe one of the biggest "dangers" of chinese food is the MSG and high sodium levels in the dish.

If you order steamed chicken or shrimp with steamed vegetables, I think you are good to go.

I can't be trusted even walking by a chinese restaurant, somehow I am magnetically attracted to eggrolls and chicken wings!
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:20 PM   #3
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I think most Chinese places have plain steamed vegetables with chicken or shrimp (or other meat or tofu),, and the sauce on the side. that would probably be your best bet, anything with no sauce. I'm a little confused with the MSG though, if a place says no MSG, that means they don't use it in the food, right? One time I asked here why the steamed vegetables taste so good even though they are plain and it was mentioned it's because of the MSG...
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:22 PM   #4
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I dread going to places where I don't know the exact calorie count, but yea, I think chinese food has some good options. I usually get broc and beef, and of course steamed veggies.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:57 PM   #5
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Lol ok I just had steam veggies tonight from Chinese takeout and was wondering what the container of sauce was for. It was a brown sauce and it didn't look very appetizing and if I'm ordering steamed veggies why are they throwing in a sauce. This explains it so I guess it's nothing out of the ordinary. Next time I will just say to skip the sauce.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:17 PM   #6
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There are some reasonably healthy choices.

Unfortunately for me, I take my marching orders from General Tso whenever I find myself in a Chinese restaurant. Fortunately, I'm willing to go to the trouble of making a lighter version at home.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:56 AM   #7
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If you are counting calories, I really wouldn't trust a Chinese restaurant. I think there's probably all kinds of hidden stuff in there, including sesame oil in the steamed veggies. Although I do often order steamed greens as a side to dim sum and they seem ok. (This is not a diet meal, I just like the steamed greens)

However, I think cooking Chinese at home is probably something that's worth a try. I recently ate food cooked by a visiting Chinese grandmother (my son only ate rice, silly boy) and although I know she put extra stuff in there it tasted amazing and a lot healthier than a restaurant. Her greens didn't taste so greasy, but it turns out she cooked them with oil and a little sugar (and I NEVER would have guessed). Soooo good! I did avoid the pork feet though :-)
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:58 AM   #8
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I have worked in a Chinese restaurant for years. I'm not in the 100lb club but I can offer some tips after my experience, I hope

The food is very unhealthy, even the 'healthy' looking foods. Lots of oil and MSG and salt added behind the scenes. All of those dishes you listed have a ton of oil (with hot and sour soup being an exception).

However, it is very easy to modify your order to be healthy, which is what we all did as staff (well, everyone except me, which is how I ended up on 3FC at first haha).

You can get any of the simple lean meat + vegetable dishes ordered steamed without oil. Steamed rice doesn't have the fibre but it doesn't have the fat of other rices. SOME places offer steamed brown rice but it's not common, but you can always ask.

Hot and sour soup is a bit of an exception - there is always a bit of sesame oil and lots of salt, but calorie-wise, it's quite low, probably 100-200 max for an individual bowl. I always order an individual bowl when I go.

So, a bowl of hot and sour soup, order your chicken + veggies (bok choy, broccoli) as steamed and specify without oil, steamed rice (portion a cup palm's worth for about 300 calories), and of course a fortunate cookie (! 30 calories) at the end, and you should be able to balance out a nice meal with decent nutrition.
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