It’s good to ask, “Can I eat Chinese food on keto diet?”, since you’ll want to make sure you can treat yourself.
With the delectable flavors that swirl around in some of our favorite Chinese restaurant meals, it can be too difficult to give up for many.
Fortunately, you can still go out for dinner and ensure that you stick to your diet; all it requires are a few adjustments.
A Guide to Ordering Chinese Food
The easiest way to make sure you stick to your diet is to prepare food at home and avoid takeout as much as possible. With your customized options in place you can go here.
However, life circumstances are always bound to happen, whether it’s dinner with co-workers or a family birthday party.
Eating at your top hotspot shouldn’t be too much of a headache, especially since they have an array of food that they typically serve.
You can bet there are many keto-friendly options even though you won’t be able to engorge on bowls of fried rice and noodles.
Also, there are ways for you to ask for certain ingredients to be prepared to fit in with your diet.
1. Prepare an Eating Plan
It’s better if you’re able to prepare yourself before going out; otherwise, you might fall into the temptation of ordering what others want.
Our recommendation is to look up the restaurant and see if they have a menu with nutritional information on their website.
If not, you can typically search a specific type of food to find the fat and carb counts elsewhere.
By taking the extra time to know what you’re going to order, you won’t have to worry about taking too much time.
It can also allow you to calculate what you’ll be eating later to know where you might have room for a treat.
2. Order Sauce Separately
If you feel like treating yourself on a night out, it’s best to know how much sugar and carbs you’ll be ingesting.
This point is why it can be a good idea to order sauce on the side.
It’s more challenging to determine how much sauce is in your meal when it’s spread everywhere.
Whereas with this method, you can add one to two tablespoons on your own to control your intake.
3. Pay Attention to Serving Sizes
If you get your hands on the nutritional information for the restaurant you’re at, be sure to pay close attention to the indicated serving sizes.
Although one item may appear to be low-carb, the serving size could be 1/4th the size of your palm, which isn’t enough to satiate.
You might also get away with the less keto-friendly options if you opt for smaller servings and share the rest.
Things to Remember
Chinese food is delicious because they used many ingredients to make world-famous dishes, but some of these ingredients might not work for your diet.
A couple of important things to remember or asked yourself include:
- Do the sauces have extra sugar or cornstarch?
- Are rice side dishes able to be substituted for steamed vegetables?
- Does the restaurant have any low carb options that seem appealing?
- What oils do they use when making stir fry?
- Is there cornstarch in any of the sauces?
Chinese Food and Ingredients to Avoid
When you know the top ingredients to avoid, it can help you to create a meal plan on the spot if you can’t do so beforehand.
1. White Rice
White rice has approximately 28 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, which is undoubtedly something to avoid on the keto diet.
Since this is one of the staples of most Chinese dishes, you should be prepared to opt for recipes where you can substitute for vegetables.
2. Noodles and Dumplings
This ingredient goes without saying because noodles are one of the most carb-rich items that you can find on Chinese restaurant menus.
Unfortunately, they are also another highly prevalent ingredient that you are likely to find in fan-favorites, such as chow mein.
A 45 gram (one cup) serving of chow mein can have up to 32.8 grams of carbs.
Within the same line as noodles, dumplings can also be hazardous to your diet depending on the wraps used to make them.
Even though the sauces used for many dishes are what makes them delicious, they are also a hidden danger for those on keto.
You’ll be eating more carbs with a combination of sugar and cornstarch than if you were to enjoy a full plate of noodles.
Sugar itself has 100 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, and you can guarantee it’s prevalent in popular sauces, such as sweet and sour.
Corn starch, usually used as a sauce thickener, is another silent keto killer since there are 91 grams of carbs per 100 grams.
What to Order at Chinese Restaurants
Now that you have some great tips on how to order at Chinese restaurants, let’s get into the top dishes for people on keto.
1. Steamed Fish and Meats
By far, the best thing that you can order from any Chinese restaurant is steamed meats and fish.
These dishes might include an assortment of healthy vegetables that have also been cooked.
It would help if you were wary of stir-frys or any other dishes that require a lot of oil.
Most restaurants don’t use high-quality fatty oils like olive oil or nut oil.
Choosing steamed protein and vegetables can often help you avoid unhealthy oils and unnecessary carbs.
2. Thin and Clear Sauces
This theory applies to soups and sauces, as you can bet those with clear and thin bases are likely to have far less cornstarch.
It’s the thick, sticky, and sweet sauces that you need to be wary of.
It’s far easier to focus on items like egg drop soup and hot and sour soup.
3. Garlic-Friendly Dishes
Typically, most Chinese restaurants have an assortment of garlic-friendly and sweet and sour-friendly dishes.
It’s in your best interest to opt for items heavier in garlic, as they are less likely to have the high-carb sauces.
With that said, you will still want to confirm that there is little to no sugar and cornstarch in the garlic sauces.
You can also use soy sauce and vinegar as a substitute for some of your favorite sauces.
This tip is useful if you find that a specific dish needs a bit of extra flavor.
4. Egg Foo Yung
Two of the things you’re bound to love the most about egg foo yung is that it tastes delicious and will fill you quickly.
It’s mostly a Chinese omelet that can be crafted using vegetables or meat; however, it is mainly served along with rice or noodles.
All you have to do is forego the carbs and ask for steamed vegetables as an alternative.
5. Chicken Wings
Another huge classic for most restaurants is chicken wings, and you’ll love them as long as they don’t have thick sauces.
A better alternative is to ask for chicken wings with salt and pepper, rather than those drenched in a glaze or breading.
With that said, most Chinese restaurants will have deep-fried wings, which won’t be the right choice as they are breaded with non-keto-friendly coatings.
6. Mu Shu Chicken and Pork
Traditionally, you’ll find this meal served with Mandarin pancakes, but if you ask to hold the pancakes, you should be within your diet.
Mu Shu Chicken and pork is a fantastic option for someone who wants a dish with a lot of ingredients and flavor.
You’ll find shiitake mushrooms, green onions, cabbage, and scrambled eggs all mixed with your choice of protein, creating a filling and nutritious meal.
An area to pay close attention to is the sauce, as many restaurants use Hoisin sauce, which has 44 grams of carbs per 100 grams.
That said, you can easily make your at home to mix with the ingredients, keto-friendly sauce.
Also, consider asking for lettuce wraps if you want to add a little bit of extra crispiness to the dish.
7. Kung Pao Chicken
It’s highly likely you’ll fall into the trap of delicious spicy foods at some point during your keto diet, making this one of our favorites.
Kung Pao Chicken is flavorful and has a beautiful kick to revitalize your tastebuds meanwhile offering keto-friendly ingredients.
Most often, this dish contains vegetables, peanuts, and hot spices.
So if you’re not a fan of highly spicy dishes, you might want to avoid this.
8. Beef and Broccoli
A go-to keto comfort food is beef and broccoli, which is typically made with a sauce of garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.
Not to mention, you’ll be able to eat perfectly cooked beef and crunchy broccoli and not feel guilty about eating away from home.
As with all of the other dishes, ensure that you stay away from any noodles or rice that might be served with it.
Can You Eat Chinese Food on Keto Diet: The Conclusion
For people wondering, can I eat Chinese food on keto diet, you absolutely can as long as you are aware of the ingredients used.
By avoiding sugar and cornstarch, you’ll find that your favorite Chinese spot has a wide variety of items for you, without using a cheat day.