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8 Easy Ways to Make Chinese Food Healthier

8 Easy Ways to Make Chinese Food Healthier

Chinese food is one of America’s top ethnic cuisines, and it has also become a Christmas Day tradition for thousands of families. Therefore, the odds are high that you enjoy Chinese food on a regular basis. Whether you make it yourself, dine in or grab some carryout, there are many ways that you can increase the healthiness factor. In fact, with the following tips, you don’t have to feel guilty about not cutting this food out of your life during your post-holidays diet.

1. Ask for Sauce on the Side

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    Image by Rachel Hathaway, via Wikimedia.org

    The typical brown or white sauce that comes with Chinese food may taste delicious, but it’s also high in sodium and offers very minimal essential nutrients. Fortunately, you can dramatically reduce your sodium intake and cut out some of the calories and fat by choosing to get your sauce on the side. Simply cut the portion provided in half, or even more if you’d like, for a tasty and healthier final result.

    2. Add Spicy Options

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      Spicy food contains anti-inflammatory agents. For examples, all peppers provide a valuable source of capsaicin, and this is known to inhibit inflammation. If you struggle with inflammation, it is definitely wise to choose spicy items from the menu. A good example is Authentic Dan Dan Noodle Sauce because its ingredients include three red chili peppers. Even if your local Chinese restaurant doesn’t offer this sauce, you can utilize Z & Y Chinese Restaurant’s recipe to make your own. Adding a spicy twist to your food is a healthy choice, especially for those with an autoinflammatory disease.

      3. Increase the Veggies

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        Image by Zamani Sahudi, via pexels.com

        It’s wise to consume a minimum of five servings of vegetables per day. Unfortunately, only 13 percent of Americans actually fulfill this daily requirement. This can lead to many health complications, including nutrient deficiencies and gastrointestinal issues. Although many people automatically equate Chinese food with meat, the reality is that there are many vegetarian friendly options. Even if you don’t decide to get a fully vegetarian meal, you can ask for a larger quantity of vegetables to give yourself a healthier dining experience.

        4. Substitute Meat with Tofu

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          Image by Suzette – www.suzette.nu, via Flickr

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          Another way to feel fulfilled with Chinese vegetarian food is to choose tofu as your protein source. An examination of 3 ounces of chicken versus 3 ounces of tofu showcases the fact that tofu is an overall healthier choice. Tofu is lower in calories and saturated fat. Tofu also has zero cholesterol, as opposed to the staggeringly large amount of cholesterol in each serving of chicken. Additionally, tofu offers larger amounts of fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and folate.

          5. Stay Away from Fried Food

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            Image by Candisgn, via Wikimedia.org

            Rice is a staple of Chinese food, but you typically have a choice between steamed and fried. Even though you may prefer the taste of fried rice, it’s important to know that it contains a lot more calories than the steamed alternative. A large serving of fried rice typically contains 1,719 calories. Meanwhile, the same 1,023 gram serving of steamed rice has a significantly lower calorie count of 1,317. Choosing steamed cuts out approximately 402 calories. Even better, you could order a small serving of steamed rice instead to get your calories down near the 200 mark. It’s also vital to be aware that dumplings can be ordered steamed instead of fried. Many of the appetizers on a Chinese menu are fried, so it’s best to skip them altogether.

            6. Order Tea with Your Meal

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              Image by Kanko from Nagasaki, Japan; via Wikimedia.org

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              If you want something other than water to accompany your meal, consider choosing tea to take advantage of all of the natural antioxidants. Green and white teas are especially high in antioxidants. This matters because antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. There is some evidence that increasing your consumption of antioxidants can reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer, and it’s also believed to make skin healthier. Make sure you avoid sweetened tea to prevent yourself from accidentally ingesting a large quantity of sugar.

              7. Steer Clear of Sugary Sauce

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                Image by the Lovable Wolf, via Wikimedia.org

                Speaking of sugar, anyone who is diabetic, hypoglycemic or attempting to lose weight should avoid Chinese sauce that is very sweet. General Tso’s sauce, honey orange and sweet and sour sauce are especially high on the list of overly sugary offenders. Each of these sauces has at least 7 grams of sugar per serving, and honey orange packs a staggering 16 grams into a relatively small amount of sauce. Studies have found that sugar is the number one enemy of weight loss and healthy weight management, so be sure to cut as much of it out of your diet as possible.

                8. Ask for Low Sodium Alternatives

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                  Image by By MOs810, via Wikimedia.org

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                  Another major health problem that many Americans are dealing with is an excess amount of sodium in their diet. As a result, 33 percent of Americans develop high blood pressure. Elevated quantities of sodium also increase your risk of stomach cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, kidney disease and heart failure. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans consume at least double the daily recommended amount of sodium.

                  You can get this under control by choosing healthier alternatives such as low sodium soy sauce. For comparison’s sake, regular soy sauce typically has 879 mg of sodium in one tablespoon. Low sodium soy sauce is a much better choice with its 176 mg of sodium per serving. You can also skip adding salt to your Chinese food, and don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant to avoid adding extra salt on their end.

                  Taking these steps will make your food taste a bit different, but people can usually adjust to such changes after only a few meals. You can also take inspiration from the weight loss benefits of eating your food like they do in China. This is a cultural viewpoint of food that includes skipping snacks, always eating at the same predetermined times and dining with family members. Even if these ideas aren’t feasible for your lifestyle, it’s still possible to lose some weight and feel healthier by incorporating a diet that is lower in sodium and higher in vegetables.

                  Featured photo credit: karriezhu via pixabay.com

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                  Holly Chavez

                  Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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                  Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                  You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                  Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                  1. Work on the small tasks.

                  When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                  Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                  2. Take a break from your work desk.

                  Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                  Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                  3. Upgrade yourself

                  Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                  The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                  4. Talk to a friend.

                  Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                  Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                  5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                  If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                  Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                  Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                  6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                  If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                  Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                  Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                  7. Read a book (or blog).

                  The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                  Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                  Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                  8. Have a quick nap.

                  If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                  9. Remember why you are doing this.

                  Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                  What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                  10. Find some competition.

                  Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                  Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                  11. Go exercise.

                  Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                  Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                  As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                  Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                  12. Take a good break.

                  Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                  Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                  Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                  Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                  More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                  Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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