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Dietitian approved drive-thru nutrition: Panda Express

Eating out is inevitable - here are a few tips to enjoy your favorite Chinese fast food chain a bit more mindfully!


Entrees:

  • Grilled Teriyaki Chicken - 275 calories, 10 g fat, 33 g protein

  • Grilled Asian Chicken - 275 calories, 10 g fat, 33 g protein

  • Potato Chicken - 190 calories, 10 g fat, 8 g protein

  • String Bean Chicken Breast - 210 calories, 12 g fat, 12 g protein

  • Black Pepper Angus Steak - 210 calories, 10 g fat, 19 g protein

  • Broccoli Beef - 150 calories, 7 g fat, 9 g protein

  • Wok-Fired Shrimp - 190 calories, 5 g fat, 17 g protein

Sides:

  • Super Greens - 90 calories, 3 g fat, 6 g protein

  • Brown Steamed Rice - 420 calories, 4 g fat, 9 g protein, 84 g carb

  • White Steamed Rice - 380 calories, 0 g fat, 7 g protein

  • Hot & Sour Soup (cup) - 120 calories, 5 g fat, 7 g protein

  • Hot & Sour Soup (bowl) - 170 calories, 6 g fat, 10 g protein

Sauces:

  • Teriyaki Sauce - 70 calories, <1 g fat

  • Sweet & Sour Sauce - 70 calories, 0 g fat

  • Chili Sauce - 10 calories, 0 g fat

  • Soy Sauce - 5 calories, 0 g fat

  • Plum Sauce - 15 calories, 0 g fat

Now, let's put it together


Meals:

  • Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with 1/2 steamed rice & 1/2 super greens: 500 calories, 39 g protein

  • Grilled Asian Chicken with 1/2 steamed rice & 1/2 super greens: 500 calories, 39 g protein

  • Potato Chicken with 1/2 brown rice & 1/2 super greens: 445 calories, 15 g protein

  • String Bean Chicken with 1/2 brown rice & 1/2 super greens: 465 calories, 19 g protein

  • Black Pepper Angus Steak with 1/2 white steamed rice & 1/2 super greens: 445 calories, 26 g protein

  • Broccoli Beef with 1/2 brown rice & 1/2 super greens: 405 calories, 16 g protein

  • Wok Fired Shrimp with 1/2 white steamed rice & 1/2 super greens: 425 calories, 23 g protein


When creating a meal at Panda Express, there are a few tips I always recommend:

  1. Opt for a Bowl (1 side + 1 entree) rather than a Plate (1 side & 2 entrees). This ensures a smaller portion and is a great way to save a few calories.

  2. For your side, request 1/2 super greens and 1/2 your grain of choice! Mixing super greens with your side is great way to add in some extra veggies and helps to keep a mindful carbohydrate portion.

  3. Skip fried entrees and enjoy a grilled entree instead! Fried entrees contain a MUCH higher amount of fat than grilled options.

  4. Request sauces on the side! Sauces are often a sneaky source of extra calories and fat. By requesting entree sauces on the side (and dipping food items into sauce) can help to decrease additional, empty calories.

  5. Try a Cub Meal! Cub meals come with 1 jr side, 1 jr entree, a fruit side and a bottle of water. While Panda calls the items in their Cub meals "jr sizes", they still offer an adequate portion size for the majority of us.


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