| Article Summary:
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.
Let's have a closer look at their menu so you can make the smartest meal choices.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- meal. The fat content is at 16 grams, which is slightly higher but still nothing that would break your daily budget.
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
- they offer at 20 grams of fat each and only 300 and 400 calories respectively.
- 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.
|Kung Pao Chicken||300||20||42||20|
|Pineapple Chicken Breast||230||12||19||11|
If you're in the mood for beef instead, you have three options, Beijing Beef, Broccoli Beef, and Mongolian Beef.
- 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
- is also reasonable - 6 and 9 grams respectively.
- 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
- . That's quite a hefty dose of fat for a single meal so you're better off choosing away from this one.
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.
- The best pork choice will be the BBQ Pork which contains 360
- , 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.
- 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
- at 23 grams and almost three times as many
- at 36 grams total.
|Sweet & Sour Pork||400||23||36||13|
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.
|Kung Pao Shrimp||230||14||13||13|
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.
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.
|Egg Flower Soup||90||2||15||3|
|Hot & Sour Soup||90||3.5||12||4|
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 Veggie Spring Roll is the lightest appetizer with 160
- and 7 grams of fat, which will be your best bet.
|Veggie Spring Roll||160||7||22||4|
- 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%
- so something you may just want to avoid.
|Chicken Egg Roll||200||12||16||8|
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.