Archive for Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Adjust portions to make Chinese food healthful

April 18, 2001


Can I eat Chinese food and maintain a low-fat, heart-healthy diet?

Most certainly. Keep in mind, people in the United States do not eat Oriental food in the same fashion that the Chinese do. We consume more meat and less rice and, consequently, eat more fat.

Try the following to reduce fat when eating Chinese foods:

1. Order a bowl of steaming low-fat soup such as hot-and-sour soup, Chinese vegetable soup or rice soup with chicken or shrimp. Eating soup may decrease any tendency to overeat when the main dish arrives.

2. Limit deep-fried appetizers like egg rolls, crab rangoon and wontons. These items are loaded with fat. (Plus, crab rangoon is not an authentic Oriental food it's a U.S. invention.)

3. Skip the nuts on the Cashew Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken. Though nuts in moderation can be part of a healthful diet, it's easy to go overboard. One ounce of peanuts about 30 peanuts contains about 14 grams of fat (14 grams of fat times 9 calories per gram of fat equals 126 calories from fat).

4. Ask if your entree can be stir-fried with less oil.

5. Order menu items that are likely to be low-fat selections. Here are some keywords, phrases and menu items that indicate a more nutritional, low-fat choice: vegetarian or with assorted vegetables; simmered, steamed, roasted; tofu; light wine sauce; stir-fried in mild sauce; hot and spicy tomato sauce; hunan spicy chicken; beef and broccoli; Szechuan style shrimp; teriyaki beef or chicken; and fresh fish.

6. Order white rice instead of fried rice. By reducing the portion size of your main dish and adding 1 cup of cooked white rice, you will decrease the total percentage of calories from fat.

Remember, there are no "good" or "bad" foods only bad diets.

Chinese food consumed in moderate portions will not adversely affect otherwise healthful eating habits.

How can I modify my traditional apple pie recipe to decrease the fat and sugar content?

There are several ways to decrease the fat and sugar content in apple pie. In a traditional double-crusted pie, the pastry crust harbors more than half the calories and nearly all the fat.

Cut the fat by using only a single crust or going crustless with an apple crisp. Better still, make a crumb crust of 1 cup crushed graham crackers (or gingersnaps or vanilla wafers) plus 1 tablespoon margarine and 1 tablespoon sugar (omit sugar if using either of the cookie varieties).

A serving of traditional apple pie made with a standard double crust has 380 calories, 19 grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium, with a per-serving cost of 25 cents.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this recipe, which uses less fat and sugar.

Low-fat Apple Pie (or Apple Crisp)

4 cups sliced, peeled apples

(about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons flour

6 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons margarine, melted

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Toss apples with lemon juice, flour and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Pour into 1-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Add water.

Combine margarine, remaining brown sugar, rolled oats and cinnamon. Spread over the apples.

Bake at 350 degrees until the apples are tender, about 25 minutes. Serves four.

Nutritional information for 1/4 recipe: 275 calories; 7 grams fat; 70 milligrams sodium. Per-serving cost: 35 cents.

Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.

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