Healthy Chinese Foods to Eat When You Have Diabetes

Love Chinese cuisine and have diabetes? Of sure, you are not alone! A trained dietitian explains how to include your favourite healthy Chinese foods to a eating pattern when you have diabetes, even if they go well beyond the typical rice and noodle dishes.

When you strive to keep your blood sugar levels steady each day and have diabetes, it is imperative that you learn more about eating healthfully. Understanding which meals include and do not contain carbs is particularly crucial since these nutrients may induce blood sugar swings.

Chinese Foods for Healthy Diabetes-Friendly Eating

Many individuals measure their carbohydrate intake, but it may be challenging to do so while consuming meals that, although tasty, are novel in terms of their carbohydrate content.

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Though carb counting might be daunting, or at the very least, inconvenient, a diabetes diagnosis should not prevent you from experiencing and appreciating meals from other cultures, or from enjoying delicacies from your own that you may have been avoiding.

You may vary your diet to make it more diabetes-friendly in a number of ways. Continue reading to learn about popular Chinese dishes in America that are high in carbohydrates and to get great recipes to help you enjoy them.

Higher-Carb Ingredients


It would be accurate to state that rice is a fundamental component in Chinese cooking. The uses for grain are almost limitless. Plain cooked rice is often given to go with and complement a variety of savoury foods. It’s also often served blended with other ingredients, such meat and vegetables, in stir-fried meals.

A popular whole grain that is cherished for its high fibre content is brown rice. However, refined white rice may also be a part of a balanced diet. About 22 grams of carbohydrates make up one half-cup portion of white rice, somewhat less than that of brown rice. If you have diabetes, you don’t have to give up rice; simply watch how much you eat and use both brown and white rice in the recipes you like.


Chinese food relies heavily on noodles, much like rice. If you’re not acquainted with the astounding array of noodles, stroll around the noodles department of your neighbourhood Chinese supermarket. Potato starch, mung bean starch, rice flour, or wheat flour are often used to make Chinese noodles.

Additionally, they have varying textures and thicknesses, which provide various eating sensations. Undoubtedly, there is a variety of noodles that will satisfy your taste buds, ranging from supple, thin strands to chewy, thick laces. The following list of common noodle kinds’ carbs per half-cup serving size:

  • Rice noodles: 21g carbs
  • Mung bean noodles: 19g carbs
  • Egg noodles: 20g carbs

Noodles are equally as diverse as rice, if not more so, notwithstanding your personal preference for a certain kind. They may be included on the menu as braised meals, stir-fries with veggies and protein, or soups.

Buns (Bao)

Baos are fluffy and soft and come in a variety of forms. While some are filled, others are not. While some are sweet, others are savoury. Certain baos are spherical, while others are folded like tacos. Many parts of China appreciate these wheat-flour buns that have been leavened with yeast. 36 grams of carbohydrates are included in one sweet bao.

Wonton, dumpling and potsticker wrappers

Since we usually concentrate on the contents of wontons, dumplings, and potstickers, they may be less visible sources of carbohydrates. Although the wrappers are often filled with vegetables or proteins, wheat flour is used to make them. They may be steamed, pan-fried, deep-fried, or boiled and then consumed in broth-based soups. All of these cooking methods are served with a dipping sauce.


A root vegetable with a delicate but unique feel is taro. It has a solid, dry inside and a soft outside after cooking. It is consumed as a carbohydrate in the same way as potatoes and sweet potatoes, despite its inherent blandness.

It may be found in Cantonese dim sum restaurants’ pan-fried cakes and puffs, as well as in stews and braised meat and fish dishes. 22 grams of carbohydrates may be found in 1/2 cup of taro.

Lotus root

Another common component in Chinese cookery is lotus root. The lotus plant’s tuber is often used to stews, soups, stir-fries, and pastries. Lotus root is crispier and lower in calories and carbs than taro. About 10 grams of carbohydrates may be found in a half-cup portion of lotus root.

Nonstarchy Vegetables

Every meal should include half a plate of nonstarchy vegetables, according to the Diabetes Plate Method. Nutritious nonstarchy veggies usually include less than 30 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates per half-cup serving. To help you feel full, they are high in fibre and water content. These nonstarchy veggies can be available in your neighbourhood supermarkets.

Leafy greens

Chinese cuisine often includes bok choy, watercress, and Chinese broccoli (also known as kai lan or gai lan). They are excellent when stir-fried, added to soups, or presented with a bowl of soupy noodles.

Bitter melon

Bitter melon is distinguished by its earthy, alkaline flavour and its rough, wavy outer covering. Its acquired flavour has also earned it the reputation as an adult dish in Chinese culture, however stir-frying it with beef slices makes it a delicious combination.

Shiitake mushrooms

Mushrooms are minimal in salt, fat, and carbs. Cooked shiitake mushrooms provide 40 calories, 1 gram protein, 0 gram fat, 10 gram carbohydrates, and 2 milligrams of salt per half-cup serving. Dried shiitake mushrooms are often used in Chinese cuisine, especially in braised meals. They give food an umami, meaty, and earthy flavour.

Healthy Eating Tips for Diabetes

You should aim to consume the same amount of carbohydrates each day to keep your blood sugar levels steady. However, maintaining your diabetes and eating healthfully include other factors as well. These are some guidelines for eating well if you have diabetes.

Choose lean proteins

A healthy chinese foods eating plan must include protein. According to the Diabetes Plate Method, you should place a lean protein source on one-quarter of your plate. Selecting lean proteins also reduces your consumption of saturated fats, which in turn lowers your risk of heart disease. Fish, lean ground pork, and chicken are a few options for lean protein. Chinese major meals like Kung Pao Chicken with Bell Peppers often include these proteins.

Tofu and other plant-based proteins are also present in Chinese cuisine. Tofu is a plant-based protein made from soybeans that may be used in place of meat. It has no cholesterol or salt and is low in carbs and saturated fats.

The least amount of moisture is held by extra-firm tofu, which works well for stir-frying. Since firm tofu crumbles more readily than extra-firm tofu, it is often used in braised meals and retains a little bit more moisture. Because soft or silky tofu includes a significant quantity of moisture, it has a custardy texture. It goes well with tofu main meals like Ma Po Tofu.

Choose healthier fats

Selecting unsaturated fats that are good for you, such as those found in nuts, fatty fish, and vegetable oils, may help control diabetes and lower the risk of heart disease and several types of cancer. It also depends how the meal is cooked. Because the food absorbs fat from the oils during deep-frying, which entails immersing it in melted fat or heated oil, the resulting dish usually has a greater fat content.

Notwithstanding this, dishes like crispy egg noodles, dumplings, spring rolls, sweet-and-sour pork, and deep-fried wontons may provide crispness, crunch, and a rich mouthfeel. For your health, you may wish to consume them in moderation.

Just as crucial as the quantity of oil used in cooking is the kind of oil utilized. One often used cooking technique in Chinese cuisine is stir-frying, which uses a minimal quantity of cooking oil as the heat conductor. Selecting high smoke-point oils is better than using lard, butter, palm and coconut oils, or even peanut and canola oil, which are sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

The saturated fats in the later options may raise your risk of heart disease and raise your cholesterol. Less than 10% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ground beef, chicken skin, lard, butter, whole milk, and cream are examples of animal and dairy products that include saturated fat.

Watch out for sodium

Black bean sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, shrimp paste, bouillon cubes, and so forth. Without a doubt, these flavour enhancers give food a more delicious taste. Although the body requires some salt for optimum operation, most Americans consume about three times the recommended amount.

That’s why it’s critical to watch how much salt you eat. It is advised that you consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium (or one teaspoon of salt) every day.

To lower the amount of sodium in your diet, you can:

  • To reduce the quantity of salt and sodium-containing condiments you add to your food, prepare your meals at home.
  • Choose condiments like low-sodium soy sauce that have less sodium in them.
  • Use herbs and spices like chile flakes, fennel, five-spice, star anise, and white pepper that are naturally sodium-free to add flavour to your food.
  • Use natural flavour enhancers to add more flavour to your food. Aromatics like chile peppers, ginger, garlic, onions, shallots, green onions, and chives provide great, aromatic bases for a variety of recipes.
  • Instead of using bouillon cubes and prepackaged soups, make your own broth or utilize broths that have not been salted.

Use nonstarchy vegetables as starch alternatives

You may eat some nonstarchy veggies instead of rice or noodles. Try our Cauliflower Chicken Fried “Rice” and Spaghetti Squash Lo Mein if you’re trying to cut down on carbohydrates without sacrificing the texture of rice and noodles in your meals. Increasing your intake of fibre and nutrients may also be achieved by substituting nonstarchy veggies.

Enjoy desserts in moderation

If you have diabetes, sometimes treating yourself to packaged sweets and desserts such egg tarts, tofu pudding, and mango pudding may be OK. you find out how many carbs are in a serving, be sure you read the Nutrition Facts label.

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If you’re going to make them from scratch, you have the option of adjusting the amount of sugar you use and whether to sweeten your treat with a sugar replacement.

Conclusion : Healthy Chinese Foods

Chinese food is quite diverse. In addition to having significant regional and city-to-city variations within China, the cuisine has undergone global variations due to its diasporic diffusion.

A large portion of Chinese food is balanced, healthful, and centred on grains and vegetables. Many of the most well-known and regularly consumed Chinese dishes in America may not be the healthiest for those who have diabetes.

However, a lot of those items may still be included in a balanced diet. It’s critical to monitor your daily consumption of carbs and to understand which foods, in what amounts, and how they’re cooked. Another important aspect of diabetes management is being aware of how much fat and salt you consume.


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