HBH Guide to Ethnic Cuisine: Asian

As the holidays approach, it becomes more common to eat out (at least I know it is for our family)! Whether it’s because our schedules become filled with events and a quick meal is needed or it is the focus of a social gathering, the amount of times we cook meals at home dwindles.  One of our goals of starting this blog was to provide our readers with the tools to eat healthier! Our Quick Bites posts that provide suggestions on foods to order while eating out at specific restaurants have been extremely popular. However, it may be hard to look up the nutritional facts of every restaurant you go to especially local places where they do not provide the facts. Instead, we wanted to provide some common tips on various cuisines so you can be prepared to choose healthier options. First up: Asian cuisine!


When eating out at any Asian restaurant, fat and sodium content are going to be some of the larger issues to be aware of. Here are some tips for maneuvering these type of restaurants without sacrificing your healthy lifestyle.

Go for the veggies: Many of these establishments do not provide nutritional facts to look at (especially local places) but a general rule of thumb is to choose an entree that contains vegetables. The more that the dish is filled with colorful vegetables and less of fried protein and carbohydrates like large amounts of noodles, the healthier the dish likely is. And, are you a fan of edamame? Make sure to ask how it was prepared. Steamed with water is a much better option than cooked in oil!

  • Choose: Vegetable spring rolls, vegetable dumplings or Moo Goo Gai Pan for an alternative to other dishes.

Ask for sauce on the side or for less of it. When possible, choose steamed dishes with minimal sauces. If a sauce is included, ask for it on the side to prevent excess calories, fat and sodium.

  • Choose: Don’t be afraid to ask if your favorite dish could be steamed with sauce on the side. If you need more flavor, mix a small amount of the included sauce with a small amount of low sodium soy sauce! A perfect example of the nutritional difference between steamed and stir fried is at PF Changs – choose Buddha’s Feast Steamed for a healthier version (250 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 300 mg sodium) over Buddha’s Feast Stir Fried (480 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 3860 mg sodium!)

Go Whole: Choose whole grain carbohydrates when possible. As we have previously talked about, whole grains are filled with fiber which not only keep you fuller for longer, but also provide other health benefits.

  • Choose brown rice over fried rice or Lo mein noodles for a healthier option!

Watch portion size: Many of the portions provided at Asian restaurants are large enough for multiple people to enjoy! Try sharing with others you are dining with or ask for a to-go box when the entree is brought to you to prevent from over eating. For rice, try to not eat more than a fistful size at one sitting.

Have soup first. By having soup as an appetizer first, you are preventing yourself from eating more than you should later on.

  • Choose: Wonton, hot and sour, or egg drop soup for a broth based appetizer option that fills you up without excess calories.

Talk to us! What are some of your favorite healthier Asian dishes?


Kale and Spicy Turkey Sausage Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells were somewhat of a staple growing up. My dad would often make them when my mom went out of town and I always loved them. Im not sure why I have never attempted them myself, or what prompted me to attempt now, but I decided to wing it with this recipe- I just used what I thought would taste good. When my husband said, “These are the best stuffed shells I have ever had”, I knew I had a winner!


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5 ways to eat healthier at a Summer BBQ

Thanks to everyone who completed our survey! It’s great to hear feedback from our readers about what you enjoy seeing on our blog. If you ever have feedback for us, please don’t hesitate to let us know! Our random winner from our survey was {drumroll…} Kimberly B.! Keep an eye out for an email from us today.

With summertime here, BBQs and summer potlucks are a frequent event! It can be easy to get carried away with all of the different food options and forget about our health. We have some tips and tricks to follow so you can enjoy a BBQ with friends and family without feeling guilty!


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McAlister’s Deli is up next for our continued Quick Bites series! This chain, found across the U.S., has a variety of menu options. But, don’t let the word ‘deli’ in the name trick you, as there are quite a few options on the menu that should be avoided! The ‘choose 2’ menu option is an easy way to have 2 smaller portions of items to make up a healthier meal. For instance, you could have a ‘choose 2 meal’ of the deli turkey sandwich and cup of Fire Roasted Vegetable soup for a meal under 300 calories and 1 gram saturated fat. But, as we have learned, it is important to review the nutritional facts of any dining establishment before eating there. In this case, it would be easy to pick a ‘choose 2 meal’ containing over 1,000 calories just by choosing the smaller portion of the muffuletta! I have broken down menu items to choose and those to avoid, but as always, there are menu items that may be acceptable that I have not discussed. For a breakdown of what nutrients we look at, take a look at our original Quick Bites post on Chick-fil-a.



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