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Love Eating Chinese Food? Think Again

Jul 13, 2008
Love eating Chinese food? Most of us do, but don't get fooled into thinking that anything and everything on the Chinese food menu is good for you. In fact, most people look to Chinese cuisine as a healthy alternative to fast food, but the truth is that there are a bunch of pitfalls on the menu, including high sodium and fat contents across several different foods across the typical Chinese menu. Here are some of the key culprits and what to look out for:

-Rice: Almost everyone loves having rice as part of their Chinese menu. The problem is that many people confuse "fried rice" with the much healthier brown rice. "Fried rice" is really white rice that's brown via soy sauce and oil. It's also high in fat and sodium. Stay away from the fried rice! If you must order rice, order steamed rice instead.

-Noodles: Never, ever, ever a good choice! Did I mention that they're not a good choice? The amounts of oil used to cook this stuff is almost enough for your next oil change!

-Sauces: Regardless of where or what you're eating, you should ALWAYS order your sauce on the side. Restaurants almost always pour on much more than you typically would and ordering on the side lets you control your portions. These sauces are also typically high in fat and sodium. Soy sauce for example, a staple of Chinese cuisine, has up to FOUR times the recommended daily allowance of salt in just ONE tablespoon!!!

-Meat: If you can't recognize what's on your plate it probably means you should skip it. You're always better off ordering steamed entrees. That way you not only could recognize what you're eating, but you'll be skipping the digestion of meat that's covered in fat-soaked breading (think General Tso's chicken!!!).

-Appetizers: Most appetizers on the Chinese food menu are high in fat (think fried wontons and egg rolls). Instead, consider trying steamed vegetable dumplings. Soups are also a good alternative. Most soups on a Chinese menu are very low in fat and are a great way to start a meal. A chicken or vegetable soup is ideal.

In general you should strive to order more vegetable dishes or dishes that have a high proportion of vegetables, such as Chicken with Broccoli. Additionally, when ordering main entrees, look for items that are steamed, braised, roasted, simmered, or stir fried (ask for foods to be stir fried with little or no oil).

Arm yourself with the appropriate knowledge when eating this delicious cuisine and you can be doing yourself, and your midsection, a huge favor.
About the Author
George Louris is the author of The BusyGuy's / BusyGal's Workout for Fat Loss, is a Certified Trainer with over 20 years of experience & a former multiple fitness studio owner who has taken his life's passion for helping others achieve their fat loss goals online at The BusyGuy Fit Club, a resource for ultra-busy men and women who have little time for exercise but still strive for a fit and healthy lifestyle.
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