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Food and Nutrition

Food for Thought: Panda Express vs. Traditional Chinese Restaurants

Enara Staff
/ April 19, 2018
Food for Thought: Panda Express vs. Traditional Chinese Restaurants

One of our frequently asked questions is, “Why can I have Panda Express but not other Chinese restaurants?”

The answer is, traditional Chinese cuisine in America is overloaded with sauce and oil. The ingredients of the sauces used in chinese cooking may vary but usually have excess sodium and MSG. Oils are commonly used to pan-fry or as an added ingredient to sauces. With nine calories per gram, calories can add up very quickly. To make things more complicated, most are mom and pop restaurants, and recipes can vary between each one. Furthermore, each dish is served family style which can sometimes lead to eating more than you’d intended to.

So what’s the deal with Panda Express? Why is American-Chinese fast food okay? With Panda Express, all the recipes and serving sizes are standardized between each restaurant and nutritional information is provided. You know what you are getting. Ordering from Panda with our recommendations makes it easier to keep track of the nutrients you are consuming while on a VLCD or Gradual programs. While it may not be healthier than a homemade multi-colored salad, the Panda Express dishes we recommend can be a good option when you’re craving Chinese food.

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