Healthy Chinese Food Recipes – From Wok to Wellness

According to Chinese cooking expert John Lee, “There are endless ways to make nutritious and delicious Chinese dishes.” 

As someone who loves cooking authentic Chinese cuisine, I’ve discovered that you can still enjoy the flavors you crave while maintaining a healthy diet.

The key is choosing ingredients wisely and using cooking methods that don’t add too much fat or calories.

Whether you’re cooking a weekday family dinner or… 

…hosting a Chinese New Year banquet, these flavorful recipes…

… allow you to celebrate this culinary tradition while taking care of your health.

I’m excited to share my go-to recipes for healthy takes on Chinese favorites…

… that don’t sacrifice an ounce of taste.


Healthy Chinese food recipes, what to know?

Healthy Chinese food recipes offer a delicious fusion of flavors while promoting well-being, proving that nutritious choices can be equally satisfying. (1)

Cooking Methods for Healthy Chinese Food

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Source: Tess Cooks 4u

Stir Frying

STIR FRYING is one of the healthiest Chinese cooking methods when done right.

By cooking proteins and vegetables QUICKLY over HIGH HEAT, you can retain their flavor and NUTRIENTS.

Some tips for healthy stir frying include using MINIMAL oil.

Swap peanut or vegetable oil for a high smoke-point oil like avocado or light sesame oil.

For proteins, I like to use LEAN CUTS OF POULTRY AND MEAT.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are perfect.

Slice them THIN so they cook fast without drying out.


Many Chinese stir fries traditionally use soy sauce, but it’s HIGH IN SODIUM.

Instead try rice vinegar, lime juice or vegetarian stir fry sauces.

For vegetables, BROCCOLI, CARROTS and bell peppers offer FIBER and antioxidants.

They hold up well to high heat stir frying.

Green beans are also GREAT because they COOK QUICKLY.

Add them at the very end so they remain CRISP.

Cooking food at a HIGH TEMPERATURE for a SHORT TIME helps retain nutrients like vitamin C that typically get destroyed with longer cooking methods.

With practice, stir frying allows you to make restaurant-quality Chinese food at home in a HEALTHIER way.

To stir fry, try to use wok for more authentic Chinese cooking.

Slow Cooking/Braising

Even though it’s a slower cooking method, braising can actually…

… be a HEALTHIER way to enjoy Chinese favorites like ORANGE CHICKEN or KUNG PAO CHICKEN. (2)

Instead of deep frying the protein, try baking or slow cooking bone-in, skin-on chicken.

The skin protects the meat from drying out in the slow cooker.

Then you can REMOVE THE SKIN before eating to cut calories and fat.

Braising chicken in sauce creates FLAVOR similarly to deep frying without being so heavy.

Use chicken stock or broth instead of additional oil.

Slow cooking vegetables like bell peppers and onions allows their NUTRIENTS to fully release into the surrounding liquid.

I find braised chicken and broccoli to be extremely tender and tasty.

Letting flavors DEVELOP SLOWLY over several hours makes for a comforting meal.


Healthy Chinese Food Recipes 2

STEAMING is arguably the healthiest Chinese cooking method because it requires NO OIL and preserves nutrients better than other methods like frying.

My favorites to steam include BROCCOLI, BABY CORN, GREEN BEANS, CARROTS and SHRIMP.

Use a STEAMER BASKET in a pot with a tight-fitting lid, or line a plate with PARCHMENT PAPER.

Pile on veggies and shrimp, then set the plate over simmering water.

The hot air CIRCULATES around the food, resulting in a perfectly steamed medley with no calorie-dense oils needed.

You can even top steamed rice or quinoa with steamed protein and veg for an easy, NUTRIENT-RICH Chinese meal.

Steaming retains up to 97% of key vitamins, minerals and fiber versus other cooking methods.

With steam, you KEEP HEALTH BENEFITS while enjoying all your favorite flavors.

Popular Chinese Dishes Made Healthy

Chicken and Broccoli

Healthy Chinese Food Recipes - From Wok to Wellness

This classic combo can be lighter by BAKING chicken breasts with broccoli instead of FRYING.

A moisturizing MARINADE like soy sauce, garlic and ginger adds robust flavor without extra fat.

I like to place the chicken breasts and broccoli chunks on a baking sheet and toss everything with the marinade until fully coated.

Baking at 400°F for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is opaque and the broccoli is tender brings out the flavors beautifully.

For VARIETY and more nutrients, try spiralized ZUCCHINI “noodles” or CAULIFLOWER RICE in place of white rice or pasta alongside the chicken and broccoli.

The veggie additions lower the CARB count of the meal while keeping you full with fiber and filling volume.

Chicken and broccoli is a simple but satisfying meal the whole family will love.

Baking transforms it into a healthier presentation that still tastes rich and savory.

The additions of zoodles or cauliflower rice provide new textures that won’t leave you missing the carbs.

It’s one small change that makes a big difference in dropping fat and calories from the classic Chinese takeout favorite.

Orange Chicken

Healthy Chinese Food Recipes - From Wok to Wellness

By tossing boneless, skinless CHICKEN THIGHS in a sweet and tangy ORANGE SAUCE, then BAKING until crispy, you avoid deep frying without sacrificing taste.

The citrus notes of the orange sauce perfectly complement the rich chicken.

For crunch, I like to use whole wheat PANKO or sliced ALMONDS instead of regular breadcrumbs.

The nutty texture is incredibly satisfying.

Use minimal oil just to coat the chicken before baking.

I place the coated thighs on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the outside is GLISTENING and the chicken reaches 165°F internally.

It’s a less fussy, healthier way to enjoy everyone’s favorite Chinese takeout dish at home.

Kung Pao Chicken/Shrimp

Healthy Chinese Food Recipes - From Wok to Wellness

Traditional KUNG PAO recipes call for CORNSTARCH used as a thickening agent and carrier for additional cooking oil tossed with the ingredients.

Instead, simply SAUTÉ diced chicken or shrimp quickly over medium-high heat in low-sodium broth.

This keeps things moist without deep frying.

I also substitute BROWN or WILD rice in place of white rice for more nutritious whole grains packed with FIBER, PROTEIN and MINERALS.

Finally, everything gets tossed with dark, roasted PEANUTS fresh garlic and BLACK PEPPER before serving.

Steamed BROCCOLI or GREEN BEANS provide hydration and antioxidants.

The result is all the explosive flavor of Kung Pao without the excess fat and calories.

Mongolian Beef

Healthy Chinese Food Recipes - From Wok to Wellness

Thinly sliced BEEF STIR FRIED with GARLIC, ginger and RICE VINEGAR makes…

… a savory and tender Mongolian beef.

Cook the meat and assorted VEGGIES like bell peppers and mushrooms…

… in LOW-SODIUM BROTH rather than oil or sauce for all the flavor with less fat.

Using broth instead of oil to cook the beef and vegetables allows their…

… NATURAL MEATY AND EARTHY FLAVORS to shine through while keeping the dish lighter.

The rice vinegar adds a vital tanginess to cut the richness of the beef.

I like to slice the beef across the grain in long, thin strips so it COOKS QUICKLY over high heat.

This helps ensure the meat remains tender and moist instead of tough.

Mongolian beef takes inspiration from the flavors of Mongolian cuisine with the garlic, ginger and acidity of rice vinegar.

By simple substitutions of lower sodium broth for oil…

… or heavy sauces, all that FLAVOR complexity can still be enjoyed in a HEALTHIER homemade version.

It makes a satisfying meal served over cauliflower rice or spiralized vegetables for those watching carbohydrates too.

Building Healthy Chinese Meal Bowls

Meal prepping Chinese-inspired BOWLS is an easy way to enjoy balanced recipes.

Start with BROWN or WILD RICE as your base for MORE FIBER AND NUTRIENTS.

Top with steamed or oven-roasted VEGGIES like broccoli and carrots.

Add a lean PROTEIN like baked TOFU or poached CHICKEN BREAST.

You can also try EGG, beans or TEMPEH.

Finish bowls with tasty yet low-calorie sauces.

I like rice wine vinegar, Sriracha or hoisin thinned with broth.

GARNISH with fresh HERBS, chili garlic sauce or roasted peanuts.

Make sure to prep components ahead of time for FAST, NUTRITIOUS meals all week.

Recipe Hacks for Popular Takeout Dishes

  • For EGG DROP SOUP, use only EGG WHITES whisked into simmering broth for fewer calories and cholesterol.
  • LIGHTEN LETTUCE WRAPS by filling lettuce cups with diced CHICKEN plus matchsticks of CARROTS and CABBAGE.
  • BOOST nutrition in HOT AND SOUR SOUP with extra SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, WOOD EARS and silky TOFU instead of meat.
  • SWAP zoodles or ribbon-cut squash for thick rice noodles in LO MEIN for a lower carb twist on the classic.

My recipe adaptations keep takeout favorites tasting great while lighter on fat, sodium and carbs.

Perfect for keeping your Chinese food cravings healthy!

Key Pantry Items for Healthy Chinese Cooking

Healthy Chinese Food Recipes 3

Keeping a few essential pantry items on hand allows you to easily prepare fresh, balanced Chinese meals at home.

Soy sauce and rice vinegar are staples for savory cooking liquids low in calories.

Coconut aminos make a great soy sauce substitute too.

Sesame oil adds nutty depth but use sparingly as it’s high in fat.

Stovetop ready protein like CHICKEN breasts or shrimp, as well as shelf-stable… 

…options like EGGS, TOFU or canned wild salmon provide lean nourishment.

Baby BOK CHOY, bell peppers and snap PEAS offer vibrant nutrition when stir fried or steamed.

Broccoli is one of my favorite veggies for roasting to a crispy perfection.

Having BROWN or CAULIFLOWER rice on hand supports a carb-conscious lifestyle.

No Chinese meal is complete without the potent flavors of ginger and garlic.

Look for FRESH roots to mince or grate yourself.

With these versatile building blocks, you’ll stay ready to whip up countless nourishing Chinese-inspired meals right at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make Chinese chicken recipes healthier?

When making Chinese chicken recipes, bake or grill the chicken instead of frying it.

You can also use less oil or none at all when stir frying.

Make sure to remove skin from chicken before cooking to lower fat.

What are some easy and healthy Chinese recipes?

Fried rice recipe and chicken stir fry are both quick and easy healthy Chinese recipes.

For fried rice, use brown rice instead of white and limit oil.

For stir fries, cook meat and veggies fast over high heat with minimal oil.

General tso’s chicken can also be made healthier by baking instead of frying.

Are there any gluten free Chinese recipes?

Many classic asian recipes like cashew chicken, chicken lettuce wraps, and beef and broccoli are naturally gluten free.

You can also make chicken fried rice or stir fries using gluten free soy sauce.

Just be sure to check ingredient labels on sauce packets.

How can I make healthy Chinese food in an air fryer?

You can make crispy general tso’s chicken or chicken nuggets in an air fryer with little to no oil.

Just coat chicken pieces in corn starch or almond meal before air frying until cooked through.

Asian food recipes like egg rolls or potstickers can also be air fried for a healthier preparation.

Do you have any tips for lowering saturated fat in Chinese food?

When making dishes like mapo tofu or cashew chicken, limit or substitute coconut or palm oil which are high in saturated fat.

Sauté with broth instead of oil when possible.

Drain and rinse canned coconut milk to remove saturated fat before using in curries or stir fries.

How can I use leftover rice in Chinese recipes?

Leftover rice is perfect for stir fries, fried rice, or small bowls topped with protein and veggies.

For fried rice, heat oil in a pan and stir fry peppers, chicken or shrimp with salt and pepper then mix in rice and an egg.

You can also shape compressed rice into patties or balls and pan fry them.

Top rice bowls with broccoli, scallions and a drizzle of stir fry sauce.

What are some classic Chinese recipes to make at home?

Some traditional Chinese dishes you can easily make at home include…

… chicken lettuce wraps, beef and broccoli, chicken stir fry, mapo tofu and wonton soup.

Many are simple one-pan skillet recipes taking less than 30 minutes of total prep…

… and cooking time once you have ingredients prepped like…

… chicken sliced, veggies washed and sauce made in advance.


Cooking healthy Chinese food is incredibly rewarding.

By using fresh ingredients and quick, healthy cooking methods…

… you can make flavourful Chinese dishes that are good for you.

The key is choosing lean proteins like chicken, fish, tofu and lots of vegetables.

Avoid deep frying and opt for light steaming or stir frying instead.

Balance meals with brown rice or quinoa over white rice.

Flavour dishes with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar and spices instead of tons of oil or salt.

With some simple swaps, you can still enjoy takeout favourites…

… like sweet and sour chicken, veggie fried rice, shrimp dumplings and chicken lo mein guilt-free.

Meal prepping batches of healthy Chinese recipes on weekends…

… makes quick, wholesome weeknight dinners a breeze too.

So go ahead – fire up the wok and whip up these tasty, good-for-you Chinese recipes.

Your taste buds and health will thank you.

Don’t forget to comment below sharing your favorite healthy Chinese dishes!



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