If my fitness clients knew that I periodically visit a local Chinese joint in my neighborhood they would be quite surprised. After all, I’m the one that encourages them to go easy on takeout and fast food because of all the hidden (and not so hidden) preservatives and fat. What’s up with that?
So here’s the deal: yes, I do go to a particular Chinese restaurant on in my neighborhood once in a while when I can’t think of what to eat or or if time is limited, however… I only order one dish on the menu that when consumed in moderation is actually a delicious yet nutritious meal. The secret is, I tweak my order. It’s kind of like the old-fashioned Burger King jingle “Have it your way”. Basically I choose a menu item then tweak it by adding or taking away some aspect of the dish to make it more healthful.
For instance, the other day I ordered the Vegetable Chow Mei Fun. This is a rice noodle dish with vegetables and “spices” (salt, MSG, etc). I tweak it by ordering the dish without spices and instead order it steamed or lightly sautéed with a drop of oil, extra broccoli, and fresh ginger, garlic, scallions – for flavor. In fact, the manager told me he was going to add my little revision of the dish to the menu and call it the Vegetable Chow Mei Fun Special for anyone that wanted extra veggies in their noodles. I was floored. Can you imagine that? A special on the menu created just for me!
The moral of my little story? If you must order fast food, you don’t have to order it exactly as it is on the menu if what’s being offered isn’t the healthiest. Eliminating sauces and condiments in your takeout and instead adding extra veggies and herbs is an excellent way to modify your meal without compromising on flavor.
However, if you really prefer a sauce with your food my suggestion is to make your own. Not only will it probably be healthier but a lot easier and quicker than it might seem. (See What I Crave below).