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The #1 Best Chinese Takeout Order, Says Dietitian

Order this next time you're in need of some quick, healthy takeout!

We have all been there—it is 5 p.m. on a Sunday and the last thing you feel like doing is cooking an entire meal. What happens next is typically five to twenty minutes of agonizing about what type of cuisine to order and what has the healthiest, tastiest options.

Chinese is such a common go-to, the menus have a ton of variety, the food is usually moderately priced and you can bank on it being delicious. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or an omnivore there is an option for everyone making it an easy choice for group and solo takeout orders.

Takeout in general does not need to be an unhealthy, glutinous experience. Trust me, it is possible to walk away from the dinner table after takeout feeling good. The number one best Chinese food takeout order is steamed protein with veggies and sauce on the side.

chinese food on plate

Before you balk at the word "steamed," hear me out. Steaming proteins and vegetables is one of the best ways to lock in nutrients and maintain levels of antioxidants and polyphenols. Polyphenols (beneficial compounds found naturally in plants) and antioxidants are powerful nutrients that help fight inflammation and support mental health. Steaming also keeps cooking oils to a minimum which is great news from a nutrition and digestive standpoint.

When it comes to sauces, the choice is yours. Garlic, hoisin, sesame, kung pao – go for whatever flavor profile you desire and whatever option works with your dietary needs. The combination of protein (poultry, seafood, beef or tofu) coupled with fiber from the vegetables and a bit of fat from the sauce is a sure-fire way to feel full and satisfied.

Following the number one best takeout option, the number one pro-tip when it comes to enjoying takeout food from a behavioral standpoint is to put the food on a plate. Eating directly from the takeout container will distort portion size and is a bit of an eyesore.

That saying, we eat with our eyes is very important! Making your food look presentable and appetizing is an important part of reaching optimal levels of satisfaction. Plating your food will also keep portions in check. Ideally, plate as much as you would like and then put the leftovers into the fridge. Of course, you can go for seconds if you need them but if not, you will be happy come lunchtime the next day.

Sydney Greene, MS, RD
Sydney Greene is a registered dietitian specializing in nutrition for addiction recovery, disordered eating, and body image, as well as chronic digestive issues. Read more about Sydney