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Chinese Restaurant on Low Carb / Atkins

Just about every town has a Chinese restaurant or two, with a wide variety of menu items available. How can you eat Chinese food and stay on a low carb or Atkins diet?

For soups, I've always loved egg drop soup. This can be pretty much perfect if it doesn't have cornstarch in it as a thickener. Without cornstarch it's 0g to 1g; with cornstarch it's 4g per bowl. If you want to make this at home, try my Low Carb Egg Drop Soup Recipe.

Many Chinese restaurants have appetizers of chicken wings, beef skewers, and chicken skewers. Any of these choices would be perfect for low carb eating. Avoid any of the sauces and breaded items. Unfortunately for me, my favorite dough-coated dumplings are just not appropriate. Still, those chicken wings are mighty tasty.

Luckily, most Chinese restaurants have a fairly substantial menu for their main dishes. First, steer away from the sauces. Just about any sauce you see will have sugar in it for sweetness or cornstarch as a thickener. Both are unhealthy. Next, avoid the noodle dishes and rice. Those supply unnecessary starches. Instead, go for the fresh, stir-fried vegetable and chicken offerings. These are often done with little to no sauce. If you're in a stage where you want to maximize your weight loss you can always leave behind most of any high-carb veggies in the mix.

Here are carb counts of commonly used veggies in Chinese cooking, in about the amount you tend to get. Those to avoid most are up on top.

corn: 28.7g / each
water chestnuts: 7.4g / oz
carrot: 7.3g / each
broccoli: 4.3g / .5 cup
string beans: 3g / .5 cup
mushrooms: 1.6g / 10
bamboo shoots: 1g / .24 cup

I know that white rice might look really yummy. However, it is 50g for a cup of rice. Hardly worth the carb count!

For dessert, you can treat yourself to the pineapple pieces if you can afford 5g for 1/4 cup of pineapple. This might be hard for those on induction, but if you're on regular maintenance this could be the perfect ending to a dinner out.

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