How To: Order Chinese food without blowing your diet

Order Chinese food without blowing your diet

Some Chinese dishes that sound healthy are surprisingly fat-laden. These tips will help you avoid diet land mines.

Step 1: Get the spring roll
Order the spring roll over the egg roll; it's often half the calories.

Step 2: Use chopsticks
Use chopsticks if you normally eat with a fork and knife. It may take you longer to eat, giving your brain time to tell your tummy you're full before you clean your plate.

Step 3: Order the shrimp
Consider a shrimp dish: They're usually the best bet because the dish is apt to be mostly vegetables. Just make sure the shrimp isn't breaded and deep-fried. Steamed chicken or whole fish is also a smart choice.

Step 4: Get sauce on the side
When ordering anything with sauce, ask for it on the side.

Step 5: Eschew the "combo" dishes
Avoid dishes with the word "combo" or "house" in the name, which are usually more caloric than a plate with one main ingredient in the title.

Step 6: Avoid lemons and oranges
Avoid entrees with "lemon" and "orange" in the names, like lemon chicken and orange beef. They may sound healthy, but the meat is usually breaded and deep-fried. The same goes for "sweet and sour" dishes.

Step 7: Assume nothing
Don't assume the vegetarian plates are low-cal: Eggplant with garlic sauce and deep-fried tofu are loaded with fat and calories. To ensure a healthy vegetable entree, make sure it's steamed.

Step 8: Fill up on the rice
Dine like the Chinese, who eat one portion of the entree to three portions of steamed – not fried – rice. Take the leftovers home or order fewer dishes than the number of people you're dining with.

Step 9: Steer clear of noodles

Save your pasta fix for Italian night, when you can cover it in nutritious tomato sauce. Chinese restaurant dishes made with noodles, like lo mein, generally offer little but empty calories.

Fact: An order of spare ribs has as many calories as two large servings of pork chops.

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