Food & Nutrition

Your Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Chinese Cuisine

Healthy tips for your next takeout order, plus 27 super flavorful 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 PersonalPoints® 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 PersonalPoints 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 PersonalPoints. If variety is your thing, you might enjoy combining a few appetizers to make a complete meal. For soups, try hot and sour, egg drop, or wonton soup. When you're in the mood for dumplings, reach for steamed or pan-fried veggie, shrimp, beef, pork, or chicken ones.

Decide on your main.
For entrees, explore steamed lean proteins like chicken or shrimp with vegetables or egg foo young with chicken.  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. PersonalPoints-friendly garlic sauce, black bean sauce, and brown sauce are good choices. Vegetarian options like Chinese vegetables with tofu or vegetable lo mein are also good bets. Other noodle options to explore? Chow fun, a stir fried broad flat noodle, with chicken or beef.

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 for some members. 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 non-starchy 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 sweet, crunchy cookie has a PersonalPoints value of 2. And who knows? Maybe yours will contain a useful tidbit of wisdom.

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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.