The Healthiest Meal and Entrées at Panda Express

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Panda Express can be deceptive. Chinese food seems like it would be healthy for you (so many vegetables!), but meals from Panda Express tend to be greasy and full of calories.

If your friends (or family!) want to eat at Panda Express, choose one of these items off the menu to limit total calories and keep your diet in check.

Topics covered include:

  • The healthiest meals at Panda Express
  • The healthiest sides at Panda Express
  • Foods to avoid
  • Link to Panda Express nutritional info for the entire menu

The Healthiest Meal Options at Panda Express

Here are the top 5 healthiest meals to order at Panda Express.

1. Black Pepper Angus Steak – 180 Calories (a Low-Calorie, Healthy Entrée)

Panda Express Angus steak wok-seared with baby broccoli, onions, red bell peppers and mushrooms in a savory black pepper sauce.
Black Pepper Angus Steak Bowl – 180 Calories

A healthy meal option at Panda Express is the Black Pepper Angus Steak. The Black Pepper Angus Steak has 180 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 19 grams of protein. It has 6 grams of sugar and 2 grams of saturated fat.

To make it healthier, ask for the entrée without the black pepper sauce. Sauces tend to be high in sugar and calories.

It’s slightly smaller in size than the other entrees (5.1 oz), but you can add a size of vegetables or brown rice to make it more filling.

2. String Bean Chicken Breast – 190 Calories (The Healthiest Meal to Order)

Panda Express String Bean Chicken Breast – 190 Calories with Chicken breast, string beans and onions wok-tossed in a mild ginger soy sauce.
String Bean Chicken Breast – 190 Calories

Chicken breast, string beans and onions wok-tossed in a mild ginger soy sauce.

For only 190 calories, the String Bean Chicken Breast Packs 14 grams of protein and 4 grams of dietary fiber to keep you full.

The String Bean Chicken Breast bowl is probably the healthiest meal option at Panda Express due to its relatively high protein count, its low-calorie count, and its dietary fiber. Plus, the String Bean Chicken Breast only has 4 grams of sugar.

3. Black Pepper Chicken – 280 Calories (a Healthy Entrée on the Menu)

Black Pepper Chicken bowl at Panda Express with marinated chicken, celery, and onions as the healthiest entree and item to order that is low in calories
Black Pepper Chicken – 280 Calories

The Black Pepper Chicken at Panda Express has marinated chicken, celery, and onions. It only has 1 gram of dietary fiber and is relatively high in sugar (7 grams) and total fat (19 grams), but it does come in under 300 calories for a relatively healthy meal.

Healthy Eating Tip: Look for “grilled” chicken on quick service restaurant menus vs. “marinated” chicken. Marinated chicken tends to have more calories due to all the sugar added to the marinade sauce.

4. Grilled Teriyaki Chicken – 300 Calories (A High-Protein Item to Order)

If you want a high-protein, low-carb lunch, order the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken. It has 36 grams of protein and 300 calories.

The grilled chicken looks SUPER healthy on the menu, but in reality it is high in fat. The picture below depicts what the grilled chicken actually looks like.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken entree and lunch item from Panda Express
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken – Pretty Greasy!

Now you can see why it has 13 grams of total fat and 4 grams of saturated fat!

To make the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken a healthy meal choice, ask for no teriyaki sauce (it’s full of sugar!) and split the entrée with a friend and order a side of the Super Greens to share.

5. Bowl of Hot & Sour Soup (if Available) – 170 Calories (The Lowest Calorie Item)

A bowl of Hot & Sour Soup at Panda Express only has 170 calories.

Yes, it has more sodium than you should consume in a day (1260 MG), but it has 10 grams of protein and can be a perfect lunch option on a chilly fall or a cold winter day.

Healthy Sides to Add to Your Meal at Panda Express

Panda Express offers healthy sides to make your meal more filling.

If you are out with the family, order a side of brown rice (if available) or a side of the Panda Express Super Greens.

Brown rice from Panda Express with protein, healthy carbs, and fiber
Large Side of Brown Rice from Panda Express – 420 Calories

A bowl of brown steamed rice at Panda Express has 420 calories, which can easily be split amount 3-4 people. Plus, the brown rice has 4 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein.

The Super Greens are another healthy side item off the menu at Panda Express.

Super Greens from Panda Express as a healthy, low-calorie side dish, entree, or meal choice
Super Greens – 90 Calories

The Super Greens are a mix of broccoli, kale, and cabbage tossed in garlic. The Super Greens are replacing the previous Veggie Mix offered. One side of Super Greens has just 90 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein – making it a very healthy option!

How to Eat Healthy at Panda Express

1. Ask for Steam Vegetables Instead of Rice

To further cut down your calories at Panda Express (and at any Chinese restaurant!), ask for steamed vegetables instead of white rice or fried rice.

2. Ask for Brown Rice Instead of White Rice

Brown rice has more nutrients and fiber than white rice. Ask for brown rice to get more fiber and protein in your meal.

3. Say No to Chow Mein

Chow Mein from Panda Express is the worst item to get off the menu for an entree or meal
Chow Mein – 510 Calories and 20 Grams of Fat!

Just say no to Chow Mein. One side of Chow Mein at Panda Express had 510 calories and 20 grams of fat!

5. Skip the Diet Soda
You aren’t doing yourself a favor by ordering a diet soda. The fake sugars in diet soda will mess up your cravings and make you hungrier. Drink water or an iced tea instead.

Panda Express Nutritional Info for Popular Entrees

Want to see the calorie count, total fat, saturated fat, sodium, carbs, fiber, and protein in all the vegetable, chicken, beef, and appetizers at Panda Express?

Check out the Panda Express Nutrition Guide.

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Have a Yummy Day!

Chrissy from The Jeans Fit

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