Question: I rarely cook and prefer to order takeout. Are there smart, low calorie Chinese food choices?


Yes, but you need to be careful when choosing healthy foods. Here are some low fat diet tips and insights:

  1. Most Chinese dishes contain veggies and lean protein, but large portions and oily, sugary sauces can make these meals less than desirable for your waistline.
  2. A new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) revealed there are between 1,000 and 1,500 calories in most Chinese entrees-and that's without factoring in rice, crispy noodles, and other extras. Plus, some popular meals, such as chow mein and chicken with black bean sauce, were found to contain nearly two days' worth of sodium.
  3. To order wisely, "steer clear of deep-fried dishes, ask for sauces on the side, and cut back on serving sizes," advises Sarah Krieger, R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. She recommends ordering the following healthy foods for a meal with less than 450 calories:
    a. a spring roll
    b. two cups of egg drop soup
    c. a cup of brown rice
  4. Or opt for shrimp with lobster sauce (the lowest-cal entree in the CSPI study) and split an order of steamed vegetable dumplings with a friend for a 600-calorie dinner.

"You can make your favorite dish healthier by mixing it with steamed veggies and wrapping half for another night," says Krieger. Finally, treat yourself to a fortune cookie; it has just 30 calories and is fat-free.[header = Low fat diet tips for parties: you can socialize & stick to your diet plan.]

You love to socialize and are invited to several parties this month. You're probably wondering how to stick to your low fat diet, right?

In a way, it's good to be a social butterfly. "Remind yourself that attending multiple bashes means you'll have more opportunities to enjoy those rich, calorie-packed foods," says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, R.D., an employee wellness manager at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. "That way you'll feel less pressured to sample everything and can spread out your indulgences over the upcoming weeks."

Here are more helpful diet tips:

  1. Cut back on your calorie count: Since you'll undoubtedly be eating more on days when there's a party, you'll need to compensate by cutting 100 calories from your daily calorie tally throughout the month. That's not a lot-just a slice of bread or glass of juice, for example.
  2. At the party, fill up with low fat, healthy foods: At a buffet table, fill half of a small plate with lower calorie healthy foods such as salad, crudites, or shrimp, then fill the rest with treats.
  3. Quench your thirst: And while you know better than to arrive at a party hungry, don't go thirsty either. "Have a bottle of water just before you arrive so you don't jump at the first cocktail to quench your thirst," says Jamieson-Petonic. Then limit yourself to two alcoholic drinks that have less than 150 calories apiece: a glass of wine or champagne, a Bloody Mary, or a gin with diet tonic.