Calories in Chinese Food

calories in Chinese food

updated 10/18

What do you do when there’s not time to make dinner? Order out! Pizza and Chinese are two of the most popular take out options. My clients often ask me what I think of Chinese food as a healthy option. Well, I wouldn’t give it a thumbs up. Many of the dishes are over 800 calories – and this is before you add in any fried dumplings or rice! Most people don’t realize how high in calories it actually can be. So I did a little investigative work to find out the calories in Chinese food.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest decided to see how fattening Chinese food really was. They bought food from multiple Chinese restaurants and had it analyzed at a lab.

Here are the calories in Chinese food:

Egg drop soup (one serving in restaurant): 100 calories for each soup
Hot & sour soup
Wonton soup
Little pack of fried noodles: 150 calories

Egg roll 200 calories
Spring roll 100 calories
BBQ spareribs (4) 600 calories
Vegetable Dumplings (6 steamed) 400 calories
Pork Dumplings
(6 steamed)
500 calories
Vegetable Dishes
Eggplant in Garlic Sauce 1000 calories
Stir-fried mixed vegetables
(Buddha’s Delight)
500 calories
Szechuan string beans 600 calories
Seafood Dishes
Shrimp with garlic sauce 700 calories
Shrimp with lobster sauce 400 calories
Szechuan shrimp 700 calories
Chicken dishes
General tso’s chicken 1300 calories
Lemon chicken 1400 calories
Kung pao chicken 1400 calories
Moo goo gai pan 600 calories
Chicken chow mein with crispy noodles 700 calories
Chicken with black bean sauce 700 calories
Meat dishes
Mu shu pork (without the pancakes) 1000 calories
Each 8 inch pancake 90 calories
Orange crispy beef 1500 calories
Beef with broccoli 900 calories
Sweet and sour pork 1300 calories
Rice and Noodles
Chicken chow foon 1200 calories
House fried rice 1500 calories
House lo mein 1100 calories
House chow mein with soft noodles 1200 calories

These figures do not include rice. Add 200 calories for each cup of white rice

Tips to make your Chinese food healthier:

  • Order a steamed dish: ask for protein and veggies steamed with sauce on the side. This is by far the healthiest choice! It’s about 325 calories for the full entree. Add a few Tablespoons of sauce on the side. If you need rice, try to limit it to 1/2 cup of brown rice. All for 450-475 calories.
  • Not a bad idea to start the meal with a soup – no crispy noodles of course. Soup helps to fill you up. One bowl is 100 calories
  • Some restaurants also have special diet menus where the dishes are prepared in a sauce with soy sauce, broth, ginger, black beans or garlic AND no added oil or cornstarch. These dishes would be substantially lower in calories than the regular dishes maybe by 200-300 calories due to the limited anount of oil used in cooking. However steamed food would still be the lowest.
  • Try to eat with chopsticks. It’s hard to shovel in rice with chopsticks.
  • If you don’t want the steamed dish, ask for less oil in the stir-fry dish. Sometimes places will listen, other places won’t! I order from Evergreen and they do listen 🙂
  • Avoid battered, breaded and double fried or anything that says “crispy”.
  • How about ordering one stir fry dish (i.e. chicken with broccoli stir-fry dish  for 700 calories) and one dish with steamed shrimp and veggies. (325 calories). By mixing the 2 dishes, you’ll cut calories significantly. And better yet, get 3 meals out of this.  Add 1/2 cup of rice to each meal for a total of 430 calories!
  • If eating at home, add in your own cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. It’s only 30 calories for a cup vs 200 for the regular rice.Hope these tips help!



I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.

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  1. Jay on October 10, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you. Scary, yet informative.

    • Martha Mckittrick RD on October 11, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      yes it is!

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