Food & Nutrition

The 5 healthiest things you can order from a Chinese takeaway

Published by Finn Hayden

In the UK, we love a Chinese takeaway. In fact, it is the most popular takeaway option in the UK according to YouGov. Part of why we love a Chinese takeaway so much is that it's very rich in flavour and usually dripping in sauce, but this also means it is typically quite unhealthy and high in calories.

When we get a takeaway, we're usually accepting that it's a treat and it's not going to be very healthy. But there are things you can order from a Chinese takeaway that are actually quite healthy, and we thought it would be useful to round up a few of them. Let's get into it:

King prawn chow mein

People are often tempted to get chicken as healthy option from the Chinese takeaway, but king prawns are even better - king prawns contain almost half as many calories as chicken, and they're also lower in fat. And the great thing about prawns is that they're still high in protein. King prawns contain around 18g of protein per 100g, and only 75 calories per 100g. Chow mein is just noodles and vegetables with some Chow mein sauce, which is typically a mix of soy sauce and oyster sauce. Overall, this is a pretty healthy option to get at the Chinese takeaway (and tasty too).
King prawn chow mein

Vegetable chow mein

If you want a meal from the Chinese which doesn't contain fish or meat then vegetable chow mein is a great option - the noodles are stir-fried and typically, a vegetable chow mein will be packed with vegetables such as broccoli and peppers which are packed with vitamins and minerals.

vegetable chow mein

Spare ribs

Spare ribs can be a healthy option, but you'll need to request a few specific things from the Chinese takeaway to make sure that the spare ribs they serve you are as healthy as possible. Firstly, ask them about the sauce they're using, and if possible ask them to use a little bit less sauce than usual (or even none at all if you have your own healthy sauce at home which you could use). Also, ask the takeaway how they cook the spare ribs. Some Chinese takeaways will deep fry them, but often you can request that they're oven-cooked instead (they'll still be delicious), The spare ribs themselves are usually pork and are healthy on their own as they're packed with protein and other goodness.
spare ribs

Sweet and Sour Chicken

As with spare ribs, how healthy the sweet and sour chicken that you buy from a Chinese takeaway is will mostly depend on the sauce that is used, so you'll want to ask the takeaway what the sauce is made from and request that they use much less than normal. After that, it's usually just pan-fried chicken which is a pretty healthy meal as it's high in protein and low in calories and fat.
sweet and sour chicken

Prawn Crackers

You usually get prawn crackers for free with your Chinese takeaway order, and you shouldn't feel too bad about eating these - most prawn crackers are made from prawns, tapioca flour, and water, and although they're deep-fried they're actually not too unhealthy. Plus, we find them to be quite filling, so a few crackers will go quite a long way.
prawn crackers
We hope this guide helps you to order something healthy from the Chinese takeaway. As you can see from the guide, it's mostly a case of requesting that less sauce be used in most of the dishes, as it's typically in the sauce where all of the calories and fat are hidden. Let us know your suggestions for a healthy Chinese takeaway, and if you want to read something similar we have guides about healthy chip shop orders and healthy Indian takeaway orders.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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