With such a wide assortment of delectable foods and treats to devour, it's no surprise that many people throughout the world have come to embrace Chinese culture by making their food a staple international phenomena. Unfortunately, while Chinese buffets do typically have a considerable offering of healthy food that has been integrated, more oftentimes than not, certain elements of these Chinese dishes can make their food so unhealthy. From some of the ingredients used, to the general preparation methods, it is not very difficult at all to sacrifice health, almost unknowingly, at a Chinese buffet.
With a few simple considerations, you don't have to forgo the Chinese buffet altogether. Instead, read this Info Barrel article to learn more about how you can eat healthy at a Chinese food buffet!
Things You Will Need
- a Chinese Food Buffet
- Chopsticks (or a Fork)
- a Plate
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Step 1Before you venture off to the Chinese buffet, it is a common occurrence that your waitress will ask you for the drink or beverage that you would like. Rather than choose a dental tainting, cavity inducing, soft drink beverage, simply tea or water make a viable alternative that won't add hundreds of calories (that a soft drink will) right off the bat. From a health standpoint, these are calories that can be better used enjoying the Chinese buffet.
If you must order a soft drink beverage, be sure to limit the quantity of cups you drink to one, while also picking the smallest size possible. Doing this will allow you to actually have the soft drink beverage, but you won't have to consume nearly as many calories as you would with, say, an extra large soda. Of course, the best thing to do would be to not drink drink beverages at all while you are at the Chinese food buffet.
Step 2It is rare to find a Chinese food or buffet sauce that isn't inundated with health compromising ingredients and additives. While many people may think that sauces are harmless because they come in tiny little pouches, the opposite is actually true: they carry harmful ingredients such as cornstarch, and non-vegetarian oils. With the intent to enhance flavor and make their food more presentable to customer's pallets, many elements of Chinese food will also include peanuts and honey that can be very unhealthy when eaten in the quantities that many people do at Chinese food restaurant buffets.
Unfortunately, in the buffet line, it may be difficult to find food dishes that don't have some kind of sauce added. If need be, use the provided serving utensil in order to strain off excess sauce while serving yourself. As a very common sauce, soy sauce will be found on both the buffet line, as well as, back at your seat in packets. Because of the significant amount of sodium (salt) that soy sauce contains, it is important to be very conservative with your use of it, especially if you have a compromised health condition or illness, like hypertension, where sodium can be a great contributing factor.
Step 3As if avoiding sauces weren't difficult enough, Chinese buffet dishes that include breading should be avoided. If your favorite dishes included breading, and you insist on having it, be sure to take a smaller portion than you normally do. When these dishes are breaded, that means that they will have a fried look, much like General Tso's Chicken, which is a classic Chinese food dish that many people have come to love and adore. Non-fried chicken alternatives, like Chicken and Broccoli, is a viable alternative to General Tso's Chicken and is much more healthy all around.
If you find that all the foods that you like have sauces or breading, be sure to exercise significant portion control. You can gain a taste of the food to satisfy your palate without having to resort to putting heaps of these foods on your plate.
Step 4Rice is a staple Chinese food product that restaurant goers use to complement just about any entree. Similar to the way fries complement a burger, rice can come in many forms that can vary in healthiness. When rice is accompanied by the word "fried", just like other Chinese dishes, it will carry with it significantly greater calories as a result of integrated saturated fats and cholesterol. While it may not be pleasing to everyone's palates, white rice should be chosen instead.
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Step 5Be conscious of the way in which each dish is prepared and presented. As with restaurants that go beyond Chinese cuisine, when food is grilled it definitely doesn't have as much calories or fat as the same food would have had it been grilled.
Step 6Fortunately, Chinese restaurants are notorious for having desserts that are typically of small portions. Where the portions lack, many people can't help but to load up their plate with tons of different deserts. Limiting yourself to one or two deserts can be a viable, more healthy, solution that will keep you from overconsuming. Oftentimes, some form of ice cream or frozen yogurt is provided in order to be eaten alone in a dish or near/on top of other deserts. If a frozen yogurt option is given, that would be a much better option than an ice cream option. Once again, portion management and self-control is imperative.
Not only can Chinese food buffets be a tremendous celebration of the Chinese culture, but, if you follow the previous Info Barrel article steps, you can easily find healthy alternatives to the foods that many people naturally gravitate to.
Tips & Warnings
It is very easy to consume a significant amount of calories very fast at a Chinese food restaurant. Beginning with your beverage selection, you should do everything you can to cut calories where you can without sacrificing taste. Learning to like the food dish alternatives, that don't include additives, sauces, or fried breading, can be a great way to begin eating healthy at a Chinese food restaurant buffet.
Low sodium soy sauce may or may not be available to you right away on your table or near the buffet line. If you must have soy sauce, be sure to request it from your waitress or waiter. Low sodium soy sauce carries much of the same flavor, yet, you won't have to sacrifice health by adding regular soy sauce to your dish. This point is especially important for those who may be battling health conditions that require them to adhere to a low sodium diet in the first place.
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