A CHINESE takeout isn’t the best thing for your waistline — but you probably already knew that.
The delicious food – of Chinese origin but adapted to British tastes – is the most popular fast food in the UK and preferred by many people quarter of the British.
The number of calories in these plastic containers is more of a mystery, as local takeaways aren’t required to disclose the numbers on the menu.
But it is widely regarded as one of the greatest scale breakers.
Kim Pearsona Harley Street London nutritionist told The Sun: “Chinese is among the worst take-out food.
“In addition to many fried foods cooked in inferior oil, many Chinese take-out dishes are coated in sauces that are high in sugar and additives such as the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG).”
Chinese food brings joy to millions of households — and that’s worth far more than the calories.
But if you’re a regular oriental takeaway eater, it might be worth taking a look at these revealing numbers.
How many calories in a Chinese takeout meal?
The calculations relied on multiple sources, but cautioned that recipes and cooking methods varied between restaurants.
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Half a chicken chow mein, half a fried egg, some beef in black bean sauce, and some shrimp toast add up to around 1,300 calories for one plate, according to Nutracheck.
The highest-calorie dish listed was sweet and sour chicken, with half a typical plastic container containing about 508 calories.
But watch out for crispy duck pancakes — a large pancake has about 193 calories.
And a large fried egg rice — a staple at many takeaways — has 850 calories alone.
Emma, senior nutritionist and fitness expert at Nutracheck, said that in addition to oil and fat, Chinese takeout is high in salt and sugar.
“I’m sure many of us have woken up in the middle of the night after a Chinese takeout very thirsty,” she said.
“And just half a can of sweet and sour chicken can have the maximum daily allowance of added sugar.”
How to eat healthily at the Chinese snack bar?
Emma said, “It’s possible to eat whatever you want while losing weight” if you keep track of the amount and frequency of eating.
“Giving up everything you love is a surefire way to feel deprived and risk giving up much sooner,” she said.
“If you fancy a Chinese takeaway, go for it. Just factor it into your weekly intake and make some allowances elsewhere to save calories.”
“And make sure it’s an occasional meal, not a regular dinner.
“For example, instead of having 1/2 can of pasta and three fried chicken balls, opt for 1/4 can of pasta and just one or two chicken balls.”
“Take your time eating and trust me, you’ll find you don’t need the portions you thought you needed.”
When choosing what to order, Emma recommends avoiding “large amounts of fried foods and those with rich, greasy sauces.”
“Examples include fried chicken balls, sesame shrimp toast, wontons and beef curry,” she said.
“Sweet and sour dishes are also likely to be high in sugar and calories, so avoid those.”
“Instead, opt for dry pasta dishes that are high in bean sprouts and vegetables, and meat dishes like chicken satay sticks that aren’t coated in rich sauces.”
Emma said dishes made with chicken chow mein and black bean sauce aren’t the worst options in terms of calories.
The problem is eating large amounts – and most people overeat Chinese takeout.
Emma said, “Avoid double or even triple carbs — so if you’re eating pasta, don’t also add rice and chips.”
“Choose a carbohydrate source (rice, chips, or pasta) with vegetables and low-fat proteins like chicken or shrimp.
“Also, choose plain rice instead of egg fried rice.”
Kim suggested steamed dumplings, grilled fish, fried vegetables, or a broth soup.
How many calories are in your favorite Chinese takeout dish?
- Beef in Black Bean Sauce: 540 calories in a typical plastic container
- Chicken Chow Mein: 820 calories in a large foil container
- Fried Egg Rice: 850 calories in a large typical plastic container (457 g)
- Crispy Duck Pancakes: 103 calories in a small pancake and 193 in a large pancake
- Sweet and Sour Chicken: 1,015 calories in a typical plastic container
- Chicken in Cashews: 384 calories in half a typical plastic container
- King Prawns and Mixed Vegetables: 436 calories in a typical plastic container
- Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls: 70 calories per ball
- Shrimp Toast: 230 calories per two toasts