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How to Get the Carb Count at a Chinese Restaurant

By Jessi C. Allender

Fast food from Chinese restaurants is loaded with carbohydrates, salt and fats. As you strive to control your carb count, enjoy Chinese food in moderation. Use carb counting, structured ordering, portion identification, slow and conscious eating and leftover planning to moderate your intake and keep your carb counts where you want them.

Count each 1/3 cup of rice as one carb count, or 15 g of carbohydrates. In a traditional Chinese restaurant, an individual bowl of rice is about 1 cup, or three carb counts. Fried rice has more fat and calories, but the carb count is the same--three per cup of rice. Brown rice has more fiber and nutrients then white but the same carbs. Your average fast food Chinese takeout lunch special has about 2.5 cups of fried rice, or 7.5 carbs and 570 calories.

Count each 1/4 cup of sweet sauce as one carb count. Count each 1/2 cup of thick salty sauce as one carb count due to the corn starch used for thickening. The average fast food Chinese takeout lunch special has about 1 cup of sauce, so four carbs and 300 calories.

Count each three-bite size piece of battered and deep fried chicken, shrimp or meat as one carb count, and add three fat counts. The average Chinese takeout lunch special has six to nine bite-size fried pieces.

Count each 1/3 cup of diced cooked vegetables (carrots, bell pepper, water chestnuts, baby corn, pea pods, etc.) as one carb count. Count each 1/2 cup of fruit as one carb count. Count each 1/2 cup of nuts as one carb count. The average Chinese takeout lunch special with vegetables, fruits and/or nuts will have about 1/2 cup of each, or about 1.5 cups total.

Count each 1 and 1/2 cups of cooked green leafy vegetables (bok choy, celery, spinach, cabbage etc.) as one carb count. Green leafy vegetables are your best value for carb counting.

Tips

Carb counting is easy at the Chinese restaurant. Begin by knowing your carb allowance for the meal and then watch your portions and stick to your plan.

Choose dishes that make carb counting easier, such as those light on the sauce, without breading and with more leafy green vegetables.

Packing up the leftovers as you begin your meal will help you maintain your portion control.

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