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Chinese Foods- Healthy Diet Plans

Submitted by Stella Morgan on April 20, 2011

For those who love Chinese food but do not know where to begin, the thought of preparing meals with Chinese ingredients can be an arduous task especially if one is new to the various ingredients used in healthy Chinese foods. A number of Chinese cooking ingredients may sound strange and foreign to a novice but that does not make them weird or unhealthy. Chinese cooking has a history of over 5000 years and has developed with many varieties in cooking methods as well as in the choice of ingredients. Common Chinese ingredients such as lettuce, eggplant, fish, pork and beef are commonly found in other cuisines but relatively unknown ingredients that are not usually seen in western households could include edible dried fungus, garlic stems and tofu. Preparing a healthy Chinese meal is very different from the ones that are available in fast-food counters and takeaway joints.

The food available in the latter are usually filled with high-fat content, harmful flavorings such as monosodium glutamate and artificial additives. Recent research has confirmed that a traditional Chinese diet helps in reducing a woman's risk of breast cancer by almost 90 percent. Two healthy ingredients commonly eaten as part of a Chinese diet include mushrooms and green tea.

Researchers discovered that dried mushrooms commonly used in Chinese meals are far more effective than fresh mushrooms in reducing the risk of breast cancer. The combined benefits of mushrooms and green tea are highly significant and hence researchers have seen that breast cancer rates are approximately three to five times lower in China than in other countries, a fact widely attributed to their cooking methods and traditional lifestyle. A variety of Chinese vegetables that are often unused in the western households include Chinese broccoli, Chinese cabbage, Bok Choy, Yu Choy and many others.

Chinese broccoli is a well-known Chinese vegetable, but has no resemblance whatsoever to regular broccoli. Chinese broccoli is usually served with oyster sauce after it has been boiled, and then stir fried with garlic before consuming. Chinese cabbage also does not resemble regular cabbage and is usually used in Chinese cooking for preparing soups and stir frying.

Yu Choy on the other hand is a relatively unknown vegetable and unused in western cooking. This particular vegetable is best stir fried with dry chilies and makes for a tasty vegetable preparation. Bok Choy is well known throughout the world and is commonly used to prepare soups, stir fries and stews. There are many varieties of Bok Choy including baby Bok Choy and Shanghai Bok Choy. Chinese cooking also uses a variety of Chinese spices and famous among them is the five-spice that is essential in most forms of cooking. The famous five spice powder is a thorough blend of five kinds of spices that is ground to a powder. It produces a very strong flavor and taste and is hence used sparingly in cooking. Other Chinese spices include peppercorns, cumin seeds, star anise, fresh garlic and fresh ginger.

Chinese food tends to be very light food, with an emphasis on the freshness of ingredients and pairing of complementary flavors. Therefore, you would assume that following a Chinese diet plan is bound to bring you great success in your weight loss efforts. But Chinese food today is more geared towards taste and less towards nutrition. Chinese food available is usually full of various preservatives, including monosodium glutamate or MSG. To follow a Chinese diet plan with current food options is not necessarily a healthy idea. The Chinese diet plan is not a diet plan in the sense of omitting carbohydrates and increasing your vitamin intake but more a way of living and incorporating healthy choices into your everyday eating.

A healthy Chinese diet plan is a simple one and should follow how the Chinese actually eat. Chinese eat to nourish. They use food as fuel and eat to give nourishment to the body. The reason a Chinese diet meal plan is so successful is because it not only incorporates all food groups, it also pairs different tastes very successfully making food and meal times an adventure. It pairs sweet with the salty, sweet with sour, sweet with the spicy and many other interesting combinations which are aided by Chinese spices. As food cooked in the Chinese way tends to include all tastes, it generally leaves one quite satiated and without a need for sweets or desserts.

Chinese food emphasizes a lot on vegetables. It includes many green leafy vegetables like spinach, bak choy, broccoli and many other greens. Meals also have animal proteins but very little. Along with these vegetables are some carbohydrates, usually some rice. All food is lightly cooked and there is a lot of emphasis on the freshness of the food and the ingredients. Food is also eaten with the help of chopsticks which also adds to the mealtime experience. With chopsticks you tend to eat little at a time and savor it longer.

There are even Chinese diet plans that are detox diet plans. A typical detox plan with Chinese food lasts for three days. Make sure you keep your meals light. You can consume stir fried dishes or light broths, comprising vegetables and fish. This diet is light on the digestive system and helps get rid of many toxins. It emphasizes fiber.

Healthy Chinese food

There can even be healthy Chinese food which is tasty and healthy at the same time. Some healthy Chinese food options including supplementing everything you make or order with a large portion of vegetables. Even the meats you order should ideally be white or lean version of any meat. Choose steamed rice over noodles or any other kind of carbohydrates. Stir fried dishes are always a good and healthy option in Chinese food.

It is very easy to make healthy Chinese food even at home with recipes being more easily available now. In a healthy Chinese diet, you can plan many different dishes, with alternatives in food much more easy to find. The menu is much easier to put together now if you want to eat healthy Chinese food. Even in Chinese food takeout you can make better and sensible options, instead of picking egg rolls and fried stuff. Some of the healthy food choices you can make in Chinese food include mushroom chicken, lettuce wraps, steamed dumplings, steamed rice, broccoli with any meat, egg drop soup and any stir fry.
A large part of the healthy Chinese diet includes Chinese spices. These spices and ingredients add a certain quality to the food that gives it its allure. Items like tofu or the five spice powder or even the Schezuan pepper corns, all of these spices add an interesting twist to what may otherwise seem like routine tastes. The five-spice powder contains Asian spices like cloves and cumin. Ginger, especially fresh ginger, is used quite liberally in healthy Chinese food. It’s aromatic and has many anti-inflammatory properties. Chinese food ingredients are now easily available in supermarkets and grocery stores.

A Chinese diet is a great idea as it can combine so many flavor and vegetables together. It can get you excited about eating vegetables as you would not be eating them in the way that you regularly do. Chinese dishes have salads that contain steamed vegetables and stir fried dishes that have nuts and fruits in them. Therefore, a healthy Chinese diet can be an exciting diet to follow. A basic Chinese diet, along with many vegetables, consists of interesting fruits, lots of seafood and fish, soya and tofu. Primary methods of cooking Chinese food include steaming, boiling, broiling and braising. Red meat is not used very often in Chinese food and meat in general is used like a garnish or a flavor morsel, rather than a complete curry or stir fry. Frying is not really a traditional Chinese cooking style but has become popular in the modern form of Chinese food.

The unhealthy food that you can find on a Chinese menu is fried rice. Fried rice has some vegetables but is also loaded with sodium, white rice, oil and of course, meat. Other unhealthy Chinese food includes a dish called Chow Fun. This is a noodle dish but is also a white flour dish with lots of unhealthy sauces to enhance the flavor of the dish. Lemon chicken, crispy beef or barbecue ribs are examples of dishes you should avoid. Calories in Chinese food are also quite high. A plate of lemon chicken can have up to 1,400 calories. Barbecued ribs, which can contain up to 2/3rd of the day’s fat content, can have up to 600 calories. Nutrition facts in Chinese food show very high content of sodium, which tends to cause many other health issues like hypertension and heart problems. Clear soups, vegetable and chicken stir fried dishes are options you can pick from a Chinese takeout menu. Opting for steamed vegetables is not always fun. That is why sometimes a little sauce or spice can go a long way in improving the flavor.

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