Perfect Chinese Food that works with keto diet

Chinese Food For Those On The Keto Diet

The Keto Diet can be an excellent option for a wide range of people who are looking to lose weight, shape their bodies and lead a healthier lifestyle. However, as with any restrictive diet plan, it can feel as though you are not only losing weight but flavor, fun, and enjoyment from your food as well.

The keto diet is one of the best options for those who want to make changes to their bodies and lifestyles because it is low-carbohydrate. Most of our favorite foods are heavy in carbohydrates, especially those we order on take-out or when socializing. However, being low-carb can make the healthier choices feel like a drag.

On the Keto Diet, however, you do not have to be excluded from social gatherings or even take-out evenings. Chinese food can be a great, delicious, and enjoyable part of the Keto Diet as long as you prepare for it.

What Is The Keto Diet

Before we go any further, let's uncover what the Keto Diet actually is and how it can be beneficial to your lifestyle.

The Keto or Ketogenic Diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat and adequate-protein diet that is incredibly successful in aiding weight loss. These restrictions force the body to burn fat, rather than carbohydrates throughout the day or during a workout.

The Keto Diet gets its name from the fact it allows the body to produce ‘ketones.' Ketones are small fuel molecules that can be used as an alternative fuel source for the body when glucose (or sugar) levels are low.

When running on ketones, rather than using sugars from carbohydrates or protein, the body is actually less hungry, and most people experience feeling more energetic and alert over time.

These are not only great lifestyle benefits but feeling more alert, and energetic can help you in your weight loss as you will have more energy to hit the gym and get a good workout in. If you are looking for supplements to help you reach ketosis, have a look at our best keto supplements of 2019.

Planning helps staying on track with keto diet

Planning For Keto Diet Chinese Food

Before you head to a Chinese restaurant or call the takeout service, you need plan ahead. Planning ahead will help you stay on track with your Keto Diet and will prevent you from falling into temptation or pressure to order.

At first, it can feel challenging to find low-carbohydrate recipes on most Chinese menus. Chinese restaurants are renown for their high-carbohydrate splurges and accidental slip-ups for any kind of diet. However, by planning ahead, you don't have to worry about making any mistakes and can maintain your Keto Diet regime without missing out on socializing or delicious flavors.

There are actually a lot of Chinese recipes that use the same low-carbohydrate ingredients that we stock our kitchens with - you just have to be willing to find them.

Luckily, most restaurants these days have online menus that include all of their nutritional information, so you can easily do your research before you go eat.

planning out your carbohydrate during keto diet

When planning what to eat at a Chinese restaurant or takeout service you should take note of how much carbohydrates you want to consume and how the food you are ordering will fit into that. Planning ahead is something most people on the Keto Diet do on a daily basis to help themselves stay on track, and this is no different when eating out.

Keeping track of how much carbohydrates you want to consume and how the food you order will fit in with that is a great way to stay on track with your Keto plan and avoid temptation when the various dishes and smells pass you by!

As well as checking the online menu beforehand, you can also call the restaurant ahead of ordering to discuss their low-carbohydrate and Keto friendly options.

There are some questions you can ask your server before ordering at a Chinese restaurant to ensure that the food you are ordering will fit in with your plan.

Before ordering, double check:

  • If cornstarch is used, and if it can be left out
  • What vegetables are being used
  • If you can substitute rice or noodles for vegetables
  • If you can have the sauce on the side or taken out altogether

You can also ask what Chinese food can be eaten on the Atkins diet, as this is perhaps a better-known diet that is also low-carb. Hopefully, this question can lead you in the right direction if the others cannot.

Things To Avoid In Chinese Food

What to avoid in chinese food while in keto diet

The biggest threat to your Keto Diet plan when eating at a Chinese restaurant or ordering take-out is the carbohydrate content.

Most traditional Chinese orders have a ton of carbohydrates in them, with even more on the side.

Although it is up to you how many carbohydrates you are going to consume and what you will allow yourself to have, as a general rule it is best to avoid the following if you want to stick to your Keto Diet plan:

  • Egg Rolls
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Anything in breadcrumbs
  • Fried foods
  • Most sauces – especially sweet

A lot of dishes can be moderated to suit your Keto Diet regime, but it is best to plan ahead and give yourself some safe options should there be any issues when ordering.

Be Wary Of Sauces

Most sauces that come with or on your dishes at a Chinese restaurant contain sugar – and a lot more than you could imagine!

For the most part, you should avoid all sauces when ordering Chinese. If they do not have a high sugar content, which most of them do have, they can also be full of cornstarch.

Cornstarch is included in most Chinese recipes and is dusted on meat before being stir-fried. Although it may seem like a small ingredient to chefs, to those on the Keto Diet, it can really throw you off track.

Just one tablespoon of cornstarch holds 7.25 grams of carbohydrates, which is a large proportion of your Keto daily allowances. It seems a waste to use those carbohydrates on something so tasteless and unbeneficial as cornstarch!

The sauces that contain cornstarch are normally offered in a gravy-like consistency and are present in most meat dishes. Simply ask your server if you can have your dish without sauce, or alternatively substitute any sauce for a dashing of soy. Soy sauce can provide a lot of flavor to your meals while still abiding by your Keto Diet plan. 

If you are worried about going off plan when ordering Chinese food, ask for no sauce whatsoever and instead bring along a small amount of olive oil with you. A dash of olive oil can be added to most dishes for a more flavor, without ruining all your hard work.

The Best Keto Diet Chinese Options

Although it can feel as though everything is off limits to you and your diet plan at a Chinese restaurant, there are actually a lot of delicious recipes that do adhere to the rules.

Some safe options are:

1. Stir fries

keto diet stir fries

This classic dish is perfect for any kind of healthy lifestyle, but especially to those on the Keto Diet. Chances are stir fries are an integral part of your home cooking, so why not stick with what you know when you’re out?

Stir fries are full of vegetables and can contribute to your protein intake. Before ordering, you need to make sure to ask your server to leave out the cornstarch. A lot of Chinese restaurants dust cornstarch on their meat before stir-frying.

2. Lettuce wraps

Chinese Lettuce wraps for keto diet

These meals often come with a lot of vegetables on the side, a significant amount of protein and can be delivered with Keto-friendly sauces if you ask. As always, just ensure that the meat hasn't been fried in cornstarch.

3. Moo Shu meat dishes

Moo Shu meat Nutrition facts for keto diet

As long as you substitute the pancake and rice for more vegetables or some form of broth, this dish can be a delicious and healthy option for those on the Keto Diet.

4. Meat and vegetables

seasoned Meat and vegetables for keto diet

You can just be really simple and order some kind of seasoned meat - chicken is a great option - with stir-fried vegetables. Brocilli is low in carbohydrates and is an excellent source of fiber, making it a brilliant side option.

Ensure that no cornstarch is used on the meat. In some cases, a sugar substitute can be used in their sauces to help keep you on track.

5. Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young for keto diet

If you are looking to build muscle while on the Keto Diet, then this dish is the best option and one you may even want to recreate from time to time at home.

Packed full of vegetables, this dish is low-carbohydrate and can contribute to your protein intake by simply adding chicken. As with all changes, remain mindful and polite when informing your server.

6. Steamed Dishes

chinese Steamed Dishes for keto diet

Steamed dishes are a great, keto-friendly alternative to deep fried recipes. You can choose from steamed vegetables and even steamed fish for a delicious meal that won’t ruin your Keto Diet progress.

Hidden Carbohydrates in Chinese Recipes

Most Chinese dishes are full of carbohydrates, and this is incredibly obvious, which is why many Keto Diet followers are concerned about eating out.

However, it is not the obvious carbohydrates that can ruin your progress but rather those that have been hidden in dishes for additional flavor or help with cooking. Even the healthiest looking dishes can be full of carbohydrates that you wouldn’t expect.

Be wary of:

  • Sweet and spicy dishes that rely on a lot of sugar for taste. In cases like this, you can trust your taste buds if the server is unsure. Anything sour, like Lemon Chicken, for example, is certain to be full of carbohydrates.
  • Cornstarch that is used to ‘velvet’ meat in most dishes, even stir-fries. Cornstarch is a crucial ingredient in most Chinese dishes because it can help with frying and thickens out most meals. Sauces, soups and most buffet items rely on cornstarch. Considering how high the carb content is in cornstarch – more than 7 grams per tablespoon – it can really ruin your Keto Diet progress.
  • Fried or coated foods that are commonly found in buffet plates. It is evident that these will all be high in carbohydrates and will really affect your body on the Keto Diet.

Conclusion: How To Eat Chinese Food On The Keto Diet

Being on a restrictive diet like the Keto Diet does not mean you have to miss out on wonderful flavors and social gatherings. As long as you are dedicated to your Keto Diet plan and are willing to plan ahead, then there is a range of Chinese recipes out there for you to consume guilt-free.

The Keto Diet is a low-carbohydrate regime that is renown for being incredibly successful in aiding weight loss. On this diet, many people have experienced great changes in their bodies and lifestyles. If you are looking to body build while on keto diet, read our keto diet for bodybuilding article.

Maintaining a healthy diet like the Keto can make you feel more alert and energetic as well as helping you lose weight.

However, just because the Keto Diet relies on great lifestyle changes and limits the kind of food you can consume, it doesn’t mean that you have to be excluded from amazing recipes.

For most Chinese restaurants, the best dishes are those that use thin, savory sauces; aren’t fried and rely on heavy vegetable content. Be wary of hidden carbohydrates in your dishes and always make sure to ask the server to remove anything you do not want or need from your order.

Check the menu for the Chinese restaurant or take-out service you are using before your order. Most of these can be accessed online, but if you cannot find anything then make sure to ring ahead and speak to a member of staff about your needs.

As long as you are willing to mix things up and go against the grain, you can enjoy delicious, exotic flavors from your favorite Chinese restaurant without affecting your Keto Diet progress.

You may find some new, low-carb keto-friendly favorites that can fulfill any cravings you have for your old way of life!

About the Author Cathy

EHI Primary Care is run by Cathy, a 20-something fitness guru and yoga enthusiast. This is my blog, where I cover all sorts of topics around my healthy lifestyle.

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