Let’s start off by listing some of the more obvious no no’s: Fried wontons, fried noodles, fried egg rolls, Egg Foo Young (66 percent of calories from fat and 400 milligrams of cholesterol per serving), too much soy sauce or teriyaki sauce (a mere 1/4 teaspoon of soy sauce has 100 milligrams of sodium). And if you’re in a restaurant, ask if your food can be made without monosodium glutamate .
Not So Obvious No-No’s
Lobster sauce, which contains egg yolks, fried rice, which typically adds up to 400 calories a cup, with 45 percent of calories from fat, Peking duck, crispy fish (which is crispy because it’s fried), batter dipped and fried shrimp or chicken, and fried dim sum appetizers.
Before we go any further, I have just three words to emphasize. Eat your rice. Rice is your salvation from ordering high or moderately high-fat stir fry dishes. You see, rice has a glorious 237 calories per cup almost all complex carbohydrate calories (91 percent) and only 2 percent fat calories. Can’t beat those numbers!
So say you order green pepper beef or Mongolian beef (where the mixture is mostly beef strips). How much rice are we talking about? A good rule to follow if your entree is mostly meat is to add about twice as much rice as your meat dish. I’ll show you how it works. Say you’re looking down at 3/4 cup green pepper beef (at 285 calories, 68 percent from fat). If you add or mix it with one and a half cups rice, the meal is now 28 percent calories from fat.
If you’re dealing with a mixture that is about half chicken, tofu, or meat and the other half vegetables, you’ll only need to add the same amount of rice as your stir fry dish. Take broccoli with chicken (a 1 1/4 cup serving has 267 calories, 47 percent from fat), plop it over 1 1/4 cup rice, and suddenly it’s a 23 percent calories from fat meal, with 563 total calories. You would follow this rule whether you chose shrimp in black bean sauce, tofu with veggies, chicken in snow peas, or whatever, as long as part of the dish was definitely vegetables.
Well, thanks for listening. You may have undergone a shock or two. But if it makes you feel any better, I underwent one of my own. I had no idea Mu Shu Pork (you know the wonderful dish with mushrooms, scrambled egg, etc., all wrapped up in a cute little Chinese crepe like pancake with hoisin sauce and green onion strips) was so high in percent of calories from fat (about 46 percent)! It’s reasonably low in calories (2 pancakes stuffed have about 275 calories), so it’s possible to make it “part” of a low-fat meal. Still, that 46 percent was a shock!