Personal Trainer, Liverpool Street

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Chinese

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Chinese

We all know that feeling of having to go to a social gathering but trying to stay on track at the same time. Our health and fitness goals are important to us, but so is having friends and not becoming a social recluse. So here is our guide to the dishes to avoid and the dishes to enjoy whilst going for a Chinese.

The Good 

A good choice would be Szechuan prawns and vegetables with half a portion of steamed rice is a good choice. It contains just  589 calories and only 14g fat.

Look out for steamed or wok-fried dishes, preferably those with seafood and/or vegetables to ensure the lowest-fat choice. Szechuan prawns or prawns with ginger and spring onions fit the bill perfectly but eat with only half a portion of boiled rice.

The Bad

A bad choice would be chicken chow mein. Loaded with 860 calories and 30g fat. Still not a top choice if you’re trying to lose weight but chow mein is one of the more nutritionally balanced Chinese takeaways, especially if you ask for extra vegetables (or swap the chicken version for a mushroom one). It has less saturated fat than battered dishes and only moderate salt levels.

With noodles already incorporated in the dish you won’t need side orders. Other reasonable choices include beef in black bean sauce and chicken with cashew nuts.

Our advice to live guilt free on that day is to try to squeeze in 2 sessions. Wake up early and hit a cardio session first thing in the morning. This should then be accompanied by a resistant workout later in the day.

The Ugly

The worst choice would be battered sweet and sour pork with special fried rice. A normal portion contains 1,100 calories with a whopping 37g fat.

Battered, deep-fried pork balls with sugary sweet and sour sauce adds up to well over half your daily calorie intake and can have up to 19 teaspoons of sugar if you eat all the sauce, a Which? survey revealed.

It’s best to avoid battered options completely as this is where the calories really lie. Fried rice has 50 per cent more calories than plain.

It really is all about damage limitation when it comes to an ugly meal like this. This type of meal should only come at the end of a really good week of training and nutrition. To try to offset the effects then comply with with two sessions advised above. Then, the following morning, wake up and head straight out for some fasted cardio. An hour of steady state cardio will help your body to start using some of that fat to fuel your workout.

However, be warned!! Don’t let this one meal derail your progress and let a curry cheat spiral into a cheat week. If you have earned it, then enjoy it.

Top tips

Avoid fattening side orders such as spring rolls, crispy seaweed and prawn crackers.

Try a portion of stir-fried vegetables as a lighter alternative to rice.

Ask for your meal cooked without monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavour-enhancer often used in Chinese food.

author: Matt Williams


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