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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

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                  Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                  10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                  10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                  There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                  One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                  In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                  Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                  1. Cat Camel Stretch

                  Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                  Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                  Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                  Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                  2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                  This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                  Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                  The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                  Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                  Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                  3. Jumping Jacks

                  Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                  Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                  4. Abductor Side Lifts

                  Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                  Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                  5. Balancing Table Pose

                  This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                  Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

                  ablab

                    6. Leg Squats

                    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                    7. Push Ups

                    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                    8. Bicycle Crunches

                    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                    9. Lunges

                    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                    10. Bicep Curls

                    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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