Some people think that if you have taken up the keto diet, then you need to say goodbye to Asian food. However, that isn’t always true because you have keto options, even in Asian cuisine. When someone mentioned Asian Food in the US, the restaurant that will come to your mind immediately might be Panda Express. If so, then rest assured because Panda Express does, in fact, have a few low carb meals options. So how keto is Panda Express, and what keto-friendly meals do you get there? Here’s a look at the best Panda Express Keto options.
Is Panda Express Keto-friendly?
Panda Express is an insanely popular Chinese restaurant franchise which has a presence all over the United States. This article will help you order the most keto-friendly Chinese food from a Panda Express near you any time you visit with your friends or family. However, let us be clear on one thing. Panda Express isn’t something you should eat regularly if you are on a keto diet. In fact, in case you are on a strict keto diet, you shouldn’t eat out too much. It is always better to cook at home when following such diets because it gives you more control over what you are putting inside your body. However, none of us can avoid particular get-togethers or meetups and hence, end up eating out once in a while. This article is a guide for rare times like that where you have no option but to look for keto options at Panda Express.
Best Panda Express Keto Options
One good thing about keto meals at Panda Express is that you can get a combo, which includes two servings and a side dish, with all of it adding up to 40 net carbs. While this might not be low enough for strict followers of ketosis, it is acceptable when compared to the other alternatives. Now let us take a look at the Panda Express keto menu and showcase your best keto options while at Panda Express.
Best Panda Express Keto Appetisers
The two very low carb entrees on the menu are the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Grilled Asian Chicken. Both contain 8 net carbs and around 300 calories. Therefore, in case you want to get a combo, order both of these or two servings of whichever one you prefer. Two servings of these and a side salad will bring up your entire carb intake to 27, which is quite alright. Furthermore, this meal will be high on protein and also very filling. So much so that you can skip the rest of the meals for the day, in case you want to follow strict ketosis. A medium keto appetiser you can consider is the String Bean Chicken Breast, which contains 380 calories and 18 net carbs. However, this isn’t as filling as the previous meal, but contains fewer net carbs, making it more keto-friendly.
The Mushroom Chicken is another option that keto eaters can consider. This dish contains helpings of chicken, zucchini and mushrooms tossed in a ginger soy sauce. The bowl has over 220 calories and packs 10 net carbs. However, it is quite savoury, and both the chicken and the zucchini end up with a great texture that all Asian food lovers will enjoy.
In case you are not a fan of chicken, then you can try out the Broccoli Beef in a bowl which is tossed again in a ginger sauce. It packs over 150 calories and 11 net carbs but isn’t filling enough to serve as your only meal of the day. Also, their broccoli tends to be crisp and not boiled sufficiently so go for this only if you like your veggies to be crunchy.
The Kung pao chicken is a classic Chinese dish that chicken lovers should try out. The keto menu at Panda Express highlights this option as it contains peanuts, onions, bell peppers, chilli peppers tossed in Szechuan sauce. The dish carries 290 calories and 12 net carbs and tastes very good. The chicken is cooked till its tender, and skip a few of the giant zucchini chunks to reduce your carb intake if the net carbs bother you too much. The dish is also really filling without being too carb-heavy.
Keto Meal at Panda Express
2 Grilled Chicken Teriyaki + Mixed Veggies + Hot Mustard Sauce + Soya Sauce – 18 net carbs and 650 calories
Also, this whole meal will set you back by only around $7.00, while filling you up quite efficiently. However, 18 net carbs might be too much if you are planning on a strict keto diet. In that case, to make your Panda Express meal more keto-friendly, opt-out of having those mixed veggies and order just a single serving of the Teriyaki.
Tips on Eating Keto at Panda Express
- One major issue here is that you can’t particular order any of the dishes because most of them are pre-made and then served a la carte in a buffet line. However, they do have several size options, such as plate, bowl and S/M/L serving sizes, so make sure you go for moderate servings.
- Most of their entrees are tasty, so try to stock up on those as they tend to be less carb-heavy than the main course, which contains rice.
- Make sure you avoid all their rolls, spring rolls and potstickers as they are fried and are all too high carb.
- Also, avoid the fortune cookies as they are a hotbed of carbs and sugar.
- While their signature dish is the Orange Chicken, do not order this as it is hugely carb-heavy. Also, rice and noodles are a strict NO-NO as well.
Since most Asian food contains stir-fried meat, sugar-laden sauces and a lot of rice, they aren’t the best options when on a keto diet. Though Panda Express is famous for its Asian fast food, the chain does have several keto options that you can consider. Like we have mentioned early on, if you are on a keto diet, you should ideally avoid eating out. However, if you have no other option, then following the tips mentioned will help you choose the most keto-friendly options at Panda Express. Let us know in the comments below what your favorite Panda Express Keto meal is.