Keto at Panda Express – We Tell You What You Can Eat Here
If your life’s mission is to pack in as little carbs as possible, a fast food place is not exactly what is on your mind, correct? But you are going to pinch yourself to make sure you heard it right when we tell you it is possible to have a ketogenic diet at the Panda Express! How? Let us tell you.
What! Can Chinese be keto?!
Panda Express bills itself as casual dining for Chinese food. The entrees are usually made with a lot of refined flour breading on deep-fried meat, sauces laced with sugar, and use of high-carb veggies such as carrots and corn. That may sound like a keto nightmare but let us see what we can find here to satiate keto macros.
The food at Panda Express may look like it is all low-carb. Now since all the carbs may look nicely hidden from plain sight, it is important to eat here in moderation. But the challenge is in moderation, you see, it is not much you can specially order at fast food. This is because all the eateries are usually prepared and served a la carte.
Panda Express serves different sizes of plates and bowls in small, medium, and large sizes, putting all your keto meal plans haywire. Does it mean you strike off Panda Express once you get on to the keto express? Nay! You can put together a good meal at this place with not one gram more than 20 carbs.
When in doubt, ask for help:
Panda Express has a very friendly serving staff. They are there to answer any queries relating to the food. Just tell them what you are looking for a ketogenic diet meal, and they will go all out to help you structure the order to feel satiated but not binge on carbs. Almost everyone that has been to any one of their places has very good things to say about them. Also, their service is really quick.
The place also has a section on its menu called the Smart Work, a section dedicated to healthy eating. Unfortunately, the entrees in that section do not benefit keto eaters because Panda believes healthy meals that are only low-calorie count instead of low carbs or low sugar. This also means that the dishes on their menu reduce to only about 5 or 7 that can be low carb and keto-friendly.
What is the best keto food here?
There are also some other very traditional Chinese dishes that you can pack in 300 calories and only about 13 to 18 grams of carbs. But they may not suit everyone’s palate. This is why satiety in Panda Express is also a subjective thing. The different serving sizes can mean that people may still not be full after a full meal. The taste of low-carb dishes is good but not good; as you may have guessed, most of the flavor is from sugar.
Don’t be afraid to get overwhelmed:
Planning your keto meal at Panda can be an exercise for some of us. It will take you a lot of time and a lot of research before you can determine what is safe for you to eat. The number of entrees that qualify for keto may be small, but the different sizes, the combination meal, and the other options can drain a lot of your time and energy.
Keto meal options at Panda Express:
We have gone ahead and done all the hard work for you. Here is a list of the top keto meal plans.
Option 1: Teriyaki chicken – grilled
This entrée looks and tastes closest to chicken nuggets. They are bite-sized and can be eaten in the car with your hands. Each serving will give you 300 calories and only a minuscule 8 grams of carbs; tastes great when hot. The flavor is in the teriyaki grilling marinade from where all the 8 grams of carbs come from. It is option number one because this is the best thing to go for in case you are on the keto diet.
Option 2: String bean chicken (breast alone)
This dish is well done, flavorful chicken breasts with green beans and onions sautéed in ginger soy sauce. It has a total value of 190 calories and about 9 grams of carbs per serving. Tastes great, but it can be a slight overdose of green beans. More than 2 servings may not go well with your diet because the sauce is high in carbs. Resist from consuming all the leftover sauce at the bottom of the container.
The taste can be sweet-savory but a delicious dish.
Option 3: Chicken with mushroom
This has mushrooms, and it has zucchini tossed in ginger soy sauce with a generous helping of succulent chicken. One serving can help you with 10 grams of carbs and about 220 calories. Chicken done with zucchini has a delightful mild flavor.
Option 4: Beef with broccoli
This has beef pan-sautéed along with broccoli in what else but the most famous ginger soy sauce. The dish is usually served in a bowl, and one serving has 11 grams of carbs in it and a nutritional value of about 150 calories.
It tastes average and if you are feeling monstrous, avoid ordering this for dining or a takeaway. The calories are too little, and you may not feel satiated. The dish may feel a bit bland, so if you are ordering it, get some hot mustard sauce.
Option 5: the kung pao chicken
This is one Chinese dish everyone remembers having tried. It has a lot of peanuts, zucchini, onion, peppers, and chicken in it. The sauce is mild spicy Szechwan which gives 290 calories and big 12 grams of carbs. If you are game for spicy Chinese, go for this; the flavors are wonderful and melt in your mouth. The dish is not calorific in the real sense of the word, but it is quite filling. Go slow on the veggies if you don’t want to overstock on the carbs.
Option 6: Pepper chicken
It has marinated chicken combined with celery, onions, and black pepper. Tastes great even though the presentation of the dish is not that great. Still, it has a whopping 14 grams of carbohydrates for a measly 290 calories alone. Try this only if you have no options left or gotten bored of the other 5 options. It has way too many carbs, and you don’t want to repent later.
Option 7: Angus steak
Fantastic taste and beautiful presentation because the chicken is so well done with the entire continental flavors and has beans and mashed potatoes. But lots of carbs to nibble! Go for it if you will leave out all the veggies and potatoes and only eat the chicken. That will be 320 calories and a whopping 16 grams of carbs.
One daunting challenge of eating keto at Panda Express is that their low-carb dishes are also low calorific in nutrition. To have a satiating meal, you may have to order two servings of either the same dish or two different entrees. You could cut down on the veggies like carrots and zucchini to shave off the extra carbs. If you are close to mealtime, it is good to go for the teriyaki chicken nuggets and then hold on till the next eating window, where you can find something that is more keto-friendly. Avoid rice and noodles like the plague if you are counting carbs. The rolls, the shrimp, and the cookies are all out of your reach. All the dishes that come with a sweet sauce like honey-based and the sweet and sour are best avoided. The final word is that moderation is the key here.