China has the largest land mass in Asia. Because of its vastness, it has a rich culinary culture making Chinese food as one of the most well-known cuisines in the world—extending its influence from Asia to the Americas. In this fast-paced world, thanks to technology, everything has now become instant and we can enjoy Chinese food at the tip of our fingers.
However, because of the high concentration of sodium to most Chinese dishes and high sugar content to its sauce; we may not think of it as consumption for people on the ketogenic diet.
Keto-genic diet was developed by Dr. Russell Morse in 1921; it was originally used for the treatment of epilepsy in children. It was made to reproduce the effects of “fasting” that releases glucose (ketone) from the liver and distributed to the entire body and most importantly to fuel the brain that reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures. However, because of its weight-losing properties, the diet goes mainstream and gained popularity among health buffs. What it does is if the body has fewer carbohydrates to burn, it forces the liver to burn fats instead.
While most Chinese dishes may be considered unhealthy, there are dishes we can feel at peace eating. In this article, we have enlisted some of those keto-friendly Chinese foods.
Egg Fu Yung
The other term for this dish is egg pancake that is cooked in a skillet and topped with soy sauce gravy. Ingredients includes: bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, sliced cabbage, onions, mushrooms, and lean chicken. For one serving the dish contains 12g of carbohydrates and 50g of protein, not only you get a low-carb meal but also a high protein diet that is essential for the development of muscles. And because of its high protein content, it’s a meal every bodybuilder should consider.
Egg Drop Soup
An easy to cooked meal, perfect for any people preparing them on short notices, another upside to this meal is it has bone broth which not only contains lots of nutrients but is also great for your gut health. Ingredients includes: lemon grind, ginger root, coconut aminos, sesame seed, eggs, and bone broth. The entire meal consists 17g of fat, 23g of protein and only 4g of carbohydrates—a very friendly keto-diet meal.
Mu Shu Pork
In some Chinese restaurants, it usually comes with pancakes, and pancakes have high carbohydrate content so we may want to cancel that off in our orders or just throw them out. Main ingredients include: celery, bell peppers, snow pea pods, mushrooms, bok choy, dry sherry and pork (chicken can also be used in this dish instead of pork). Vegetables are thinly sliced before cooking. One serving contains only 4g of carbohydrates and has lots of proteins, about 43g.
Braised Pork Belly
One serving contains 9g of protein, rich in vitamin b12 and 53g of monounsaturated fats. But never worry because this dish is usually served with plenty of leafy veggies in it that will help digest these fats. Main ingredients are cauliflower rice, Chinese broccoli, and pork belly.
Chicken and Broccoli
When you order this dish at a Chinese restaurant, it typically comes with white rice and sauce on top that is oozing with sugar and cornstarch. Chicken and broccoli are okay as long as you can skip the rice and normally some Chinese restaurants allow you to cancel the sauce. Some of the main ingredients include: skinless chicken breast, chicken broth, olive oil, fish sauce, sesame oil, and broccoli florets. One serving should only give you 5g of net carbohydrates.
Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao Ji Ding)
A popular Chinese food take-out and a Keto-friendly meal you can order at any of your favorite Chinese restaurants. It is typically stir fried and combines a tangy, sweet, and salty taste and gives that right amount of spiciness. It is mainly made up of peanuts, chili peppers, chicken breast, spring onions, and ground ginger. One serving gives you, 27.4g of fats, 22.3g and a net carbs of 3.2g.
Mu Gu Gai Pan
Is a Cantonese dish, which literally means “mushrooms and sliced chicken” traditionally, stir-fried; dish includes sliced chicken, white button mushrooms, snow peas, bamboo shoots, broccoli florets, water chestnuts, and Chinese cabbage. Putting rice aside, since this dish is stir-fried and have plenty of veggies, making it an excellent meal without having to worry if you have put on weight.
Traditionally, chop suey is cooked with various vegetables, with broccoli as the main ingredient, and then added with either thin strips of chicken or beef. Making it a good source of proteins and dietary fibers, however, the dish is usually added with high-carb gravy sauce, but we can always ask to cancel this ingredient out.
Chinese Dishes with High-Carbs to Avoid
Here is a list to watch out for when looking on to the menu, it’s always good to know what to avoid either in the food or to the condiments or sauce used for the dish.
- Rice is a no brainer; it contains lots of carbohydrates, with approximately 52g on brown rice and 53g on white rice.
- Noodles are high in carbs with approximately 45g per serving and all varieties must be avoided if you are on the ketogenic diet, this includes chow mien, chow fun and lo mien.
- Egg rolls, if you have high cholesterol level, it may even put you at risk of heart disease if consumed in excess.
- Duck sauce this is not made of real ducks but apricots that are loaded with sugar and salt.
- Hoisin sauce has 44g of carbohydrates and 220 total calories. Like its American BBQ counterpart, it is sweet, spicy and salty but contains lots of sugar.
- Plum sauce is high in carbohydrates with a total of 43g and a total of 184 calories.
It is also to be noted that there are dishes you can request to cancel a certain ingredient but there are some that you can’t and you may want to avoid them entirely if you are on the ketogenic diet.