Food & Nutrition

Your ultimate guide to enjoying Chinese cuisine

Healthy tips for your next delivery order, plus 27 super flavorful, classic Chinese dishes to make at home.

OK, let’s start with the obvious: Chinese cuisine is delicious. Pork dumplings, beef and broccoli, fluffy rice…mmm. What you might not realize is that it’s totally possible to enjoy these and other classic dishes without zapping your SmartPoints® Budget. This guide is a good place to start. Ordering from your favorite local restaurant? Check out our tips for navigating the menu so you can stay on track with your goals. Prefer to cook? We’ve rounded up 27 super flavorful Chinese recipes you can make right in your kitchen. Dig in below.

Tips for ordering Chinese takeout

Scan the menu for keywords.
The terms “steamed,” “sauteed,” and “stir-fried” are your friends, here—such dishes are typically lower in SmartPoints than those billed as “crispy” or “fried.” Giving the menu a quick read will help you spot your best options.

Know your apps.
In the mood for a starter? Consider broth-based soups—like steamed selections, they’re often low in SmartPoints. If variety is your thing, you might enjoy combining a few appetizers to make a complete meal. Here are some favorites to consider:

Hot and sour soup
(1 cup)
Egg drop soup
(1 cup)
Wonton soup
(1 cup)
Steamed or pan-fried veggie,
shrimp or chicken dumplings
(1 dumpling)
Steamed or pan-fried beef or
pork dumplings 
(1 dumpling)
Steamed shumai
(1 piece)
Chicken lettuce wrap
(1 wrap)

Decide on your main.
We’ve rounded up some SmartPoints-friendly entrees for you below. You may also find it helpful to order your dish steamed with sauce on the side so you can control the amount you add to your dish. With just 1 SmartPoints value per tablespoon (Green, Blue, Purple), both garlic sauce and brown sauce are good choices. 

Steamed chicken or
shrimp with vegetables
(1 cup) and
2 tbsp ginger-garlic
sauce on the side
Chinese vegetables with tofu 
(1 cup)
Egg foo young with chicken
(1 patty)
Moo goo gai pan with
chicken or shrimp
(1 cup)
Vegetable lo mein
(1 cup)
Beef chow fun
(1 cup)
Chinese vegetables with beef
(1 cup)
Shrimp with garlic sauce
(1 cup)
Chicken with black bean sauce
(1 cup)

Sub brown rice for white.
As a whole grain, brown rice contains more micronutrients and fiber than refined white rice. That’s why steamed brown rice is a ZeroPoint food on Purple! For a universal ZeroPoint option, skip the traditional rice and heat up your own frozen cauliflower rice instead.

Add veggies to your order.
A side of ZeroPoint steamed mixed vegetables can round out a plate and make a meal more satisfying. You’ll instantly amp up the nutrient quotient of your meal, filling fiber included. 

Portion out a serving.
Sure, it’s convenient to pop the lid off a takeout container and dig right in. The potential downside is losing track of how much you’ve eaten. Grab a plate and spoon out one serving at a time. You can always have more if you like!

Make that mug of tea.
If your order came with a freebie tea bag, why not put it to use? Sipping unsweetened tea (or water) between bites can be a pleasurable way to practice mindful eating. The habit keeps you hydrated and can extend the enjoyment of a meal.

Enjoy the fortune cookie.
Each crunchy cookie is just 1 SmartPoints value each (Green, Blue, Purple). And who knows? Maybe yours will contain a useful tidbit of wisdom.


This article was reviewed for accuracy in July 2021 by Tiffany Bullard, PhD, manager for clinical research at WW. The WW Science Team is a dedicated group of experts who ensure all our solutions are rooted in the best possible research.