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Practicing Healthy Choices At Panda Express!

When it comes to making smart meal decisions, there is plenty of variety at Panda Express if you make your selections wisely. Here's a closer look at their menu to help you decide. Learn more.

By: Shannon Clark

Article Summary:
  • Panda Express offers many choices, but some are better than others.
  • The chicken at Panda Express may have more calories than you think.
  • There may be only two flavors, but both soups are great choices.
  • When it comes to making smart meal decisions, there is plenty of variety at Panda Express if you make your selections wisely. There are a few menu items that you will want to steer clear of however, as they contain more calories than you likely bargained for. Being informed going in will be your best bet to come out with your diet intact.

    There Is Plenty Of Variety At Panda Express If You Make Your Selections Wisely.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    There Is Plenty Of Variety At Panda
    Express If You Make Your Selections Wisely.

    Let's have a closer look at their menu so you can make the smartest meal choices.


    Chicken

    If you're in the mood for chicken, you'll face a wide selection at Panda Express. All the chicken meals do contain fewer than 400 calories, but some of them rank higher on the fat content so are something you'll want to avoid.


    Smart Choice

      The smartest chicken choice on the menu will be the Broccoli Chicken dish, which contains only 180 calories, 9 grams of fat, and will supply you with 13 grams of chicken. This would make for a really great snack for between meals when you need something quick.

      Another good option that contains the same number of calories and only one gram of fat more is the Mushroom Chicken, which also has 14 grams of protein as well.

    BODYBUILDING.COM FORUM: PANDA EXPRESS
    So I've Been Living Off Panda Express This Past Week...
    [ Click To Join The Thread. ]
    So I've Been Living Off Panda Express This Past Week...
    Fried rice, and orange chicken. You can get these huge to-go boxes for $6.50 total and it's like either an all you can eat buffet or two smaller meals.
    Started By:
    Dreamup793

      If you're looking for something that has more protein, the Mandarin Chicken will be your best bet at 34 grams per serving. It does contain more calories as well at 310, but this is still on the lower end for a fast food meal. The fat content is at 16 grams, which is slightly higher but still nothing that would break your daily budget.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Broccoli Chicken 180 9 11 13
    Mushroom Chicken 180 10 10 14
    Mandarin Chicken 310 16 8 34


    Leave It Behind

      The two main chicken dishes that you will want to steer away from in the chicken section are Kung Pao Chicken and Orange Chicken. These contain the highest fat content of all the chicken dishes for the number of calories they offer at 20 grams of fat each and only 300 and 400 calories respectively.

    The Kung Pao And Orange Chicken Contain The Highest Fat Of All The Chicken Dishes.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    The Kung Pao And Orange Chicken Contain The
    Highest Fat Of All The Chicken Dishes.

      You can also get just a chicken breast, but all three of the chicken breast options contain more fat than protein, so again you're better off choosing something else.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Kung Pao Chicken 300 20 42 20
    Orange Chicken 400 20 13 15
    Pineapple Chicken Breast 230 12 19 11


    Beef

    If you're in the mood for beef instead, you have three options, Beijing Beef, Broccoli Beef, and Mongolian Beef.

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    The Good

      The Broccoli or Mongolian Beef will be by far and away your best options in this case as both contain 200 calories or fewer with the Mongolian beef coming in at 200 calories and the broccoli beef at 150. The fat content is also reasonable - 6 and 9 grams respectively.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Broccoli Beef 150 6 12 11
    Mongolian Beef 200 9 16 15


    The Bad

      Choosing the Beijing Beef on the other hand will really put a dent in your diet as it comes in at 660 calories, 41 grams of fat, and 24 grams of protein. That's quite a hefty dose of fat for a single meal so you're better off choosing away from this one.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Beijing Beef 660 41 52 24


    Pork

    While there are only two pork dishes on the menu, you only have a 50% chance of choosing nutritionally sound since one is very nutritionally balanced while the same can't be said for the other.

    RELATED POLL
    Which Of The Pork Dishes Do You Prefer At Panda Express?

    The BBQ Pork.
    The Sweet And Sour Pork.
    I Don't Like Either.
    I Don't Eat At Panda Express.


    The Good

      The best pork choice will be the BBQ Pork which contains 360 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 34 grams of protein. It's also a good choice for those who are on a lower carb diet with only 13 grams per serving.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    BBQ Pork 360 19 13 34


    The Bad

      If instead you choose the Sweet & Sour Pork, you'll take in 400 calories, so only a few more, but you'll only get 13 grams of protein, which is half compared to that in the BBQ Pork. In addition to this, you'll also get more fat at 23 grams and almost three times as many carbs at 36 grams total.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Sweet & Sour Pork 400 23 36 13


    Shrimp

    Seafood normally proves to be a good source of protein and in terms of meal selection you will do quite well with all three shrimp options on the menu.

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    The Tangy Shrimp will be your best low-cal bet at 140 calories and only 4.8 grams of fat, while the Crispy Shrimp is the highest calorie option at 260 calories and 13 grams of fat. Even this won't break your daily budget though, making it still a very good choice if you're in the mood for shrimp.

    The Kung Pao Shrimp is also a good choice with 230 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 13 grams of protein total.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Crispy Shrimp 260 13 26 9
    Tangy Shrimp 140 4.5 14 8
    Kung Pao Shrimp 230 14 13 13


    Soup

    The two soups offered at Panda Express are both very good dietary selections that will be a nice addition to your meal to boost protein intake slightly and help fill you up.

    The Two Soups Offered At Panda Express Are Both Very Good Dietary Selections.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    The Two Soups Offered At Panda Express
    Are Both Very Good Dietary Selections.

    Both the Egg Flower and Hot & Sour Soup provide 90 calories each, with the former containing 2 grams of fat and the latter only 3.5. They don't provide a great deal of protein at 3 and 4 grams respectively, but as long as you're choosing another dish that has slightly more protein this shouldn't be an issue for you.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Egg Flower Soup 90 2 15 3
    Hot & Sour Soup 90 3.5 12 4


    Appetizers

    Finally, if you're looking for something to start your meal off with, there are four different appetizers to choose from. These aren't overly harmful to your diet, but they aren't exactly the greatest nutritional choices either.


    The Good

      The Veggie Spring Roll is the lightest appetizer with 160 calories and 7 grams of fat, which will be your best bet.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Veggie Spring Roll 160 7 22 4

    BODYBUILDING.COM FORUM: EGG ROLLS
    Egg Rolls On Low Carb Day?
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    Egg Rolls On Low Carb Day?
    Is this bad?
    Started By:
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    The Bad

      The worst option is the Chicken Egg Roll which contains 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 8 grams of protein. It's not extremely high in fat, but the total does put it at 54% fat so something you may just want to avoid.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Chicken Egg Roll 200 12 16 8


    Conclusion

    So next time you're going out for dinner to Panda Express, keep these points in mind. Overall this is a much healthier establishment to eat at and will allow you to keep your calorie level down closer to where it should be.

      Check Out Panda Express's Complete Nutritional Details Here.

    Check Out Shannon Clark's BodySpace
    Shannon Clark
    Shannon holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta. She's been working in this field for the last 8 years, and is now shifting her focus towards those who are looking to gain muscle and lose body fat.
    [ Check Out Her BodySpace ]

    Practicing Healthy Choices At Panda Express!
    ShannonC_77@yahoo.ca

    Back To Shannon Clark's Main Page

    Back To The Articles Main Page.

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