Recent reports from the Center for Science in the Public Interest are giving Chinese food a very bad rep. The reports show that a typical battered, fried chicken dish with vegetables has 1,300 calories, 3,200 milligrams of sodium and 11 grams of saturated fat. The rice has about 200 calories per cup and an egg roll has about 200 calories and 400 milligrams of sodium. Yikes! Equally troubling are the high amounts of sodium found in common Chinese dishes. For example, a plate of General Tso's chicken, has 40 percent more sodium than the average adult needs for an entire day. Even the vegetable dishes were found to be very high in sodium.
However, Chinese was not the only type in the spotlight, Italian and Mexican restaurants are just as bad, if not worse for your health because their food is higher in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
If you're not ready to give up your favorite take out restaurant just yet, then consider these tips from CNN.com on making smart choices at Chinese restaurants:
- Look for dishes that feature vegetables instead of meat or noodles. Ask for extra broccoli, snow peas or other veggies.
- Steer clear of deep-fried meat, seafood or tofu. Order it stir-fried or braised.
- Hold the sauce, and eat with a fork or chopsticks to leave more sauce behind.
- Limit salt, which means steering clear of the duck sauce, hot mustard, hoisin sauce and soy sauce.
- Share your meal or take half home for later.
- Ask for brown rice instead of white rice.