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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 November 20, 2018

                  10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

                  10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

                  A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

                  Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

                  1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

                  Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

                  If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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                  2. You put the cart before the horse.

                  “Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

                  3. You don’t believe in yourself.

                  A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

                  4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

                  The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

                  5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

                  If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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                  6. You don’t enjoy the process.

                  Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

                  The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

                  7. You’re trying too hard.

                  Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

                  8. You don’t track your progress.

                  Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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                  9. You have no social support.

                  It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

                  10. You know your what but not your why.

                  The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

                  Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

                  Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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                  Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

                  Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

                  Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

                  • The more specific you can make your goal,
                  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
                  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
                  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

                  I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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