Craving Chinese but need to watch your salt? I feel you. As a Chinese food lover with hypertension, I’ve scouted out plenty of tasty low-sodium dishes. In this guide, I’ll share 10 savory picks, pro tips for ordering, and simple homemade recipes. Get ready to enjoy all the flavor without spiking your blood pressure!
KEY TAKE AWAY
Is there any low sodium Chinese food?
Yes, there are options for low sodium Chinese food (1) by using fresh ingredients and cutting back on salt during cooking. Many dishes like steamed vegetables, poached fish, and brown rice can be naturally low in sodium.
While Chinese cuisine is traditionally flavorful, it is possible to find or make lower sodium versions by seasoning with herbs, garlic, and spices instead of salt to keep dishes tasty yet still easy on the sodium.
Tips for Enjoying Delicious Low Sodium Chinese Food Dishes You’ll Love
Chinese food is delicious, but high sodium levels in many dishes make it tough to enjoy on a low-salt diet. No need to give up your favorite Chinese takeout though! Here are helpful tips for lowering sodium while still enjoying all that Chinese cuisine has to offer:
Use low-sodium soy sauce
Soy sauce adds lots of flavor, but also lots of sodium. Opt for a low-sodium variety. You’ll get the same rich, umami taste without excess salt.
Cook at home
Making your own stir-fries and dishes lets you control sodium levels. Use less-salty ingredients and seasonings.
Try a homemade low-sodium broccoli beef
Sauté broccoli, beef, and mushrooms in a wok with olive oil and limited salt. Flavor it up with garlic, ginger, and just a drizzle of low-sodium soy sauce.
Order carefully at restaurants
Go for steamed, sautéed, or roasted meat and veggies instead of crispy dishes laden with salty sauces. Ask for sauce and seasonings on the side.
Choose veggie sides like mixed Chinese vegetables, sautéed spinach, or steamed broccoli. They pack flavor without much added sodium.
Enjoy broth-based soups like egg drop, hot and sour, or wonton soup. They satisfy without too much salt.
Fill up on brown rice which contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals but very little sodium. Pair it with your flavorful entrees.
Stay hydrated with Chinese teas like jasmine or green tea. They have no sodium and keep you feeling full. With smart substitutions and selections, you can still enjoy the rich flavors of Chinese cuisine even when limiting salt! Try these low-sodium tips for healthy, hearty Chinese meals the whole family can savor.
How to Order Low Sodium Options at Your Favorite Chinese Restaurant
Chinese takeout is tasty, but high sodium levels in many dishes aren’t ideal if you’re watching your salt intake.
No need to give up your fave Chinese restaurant though! Just follow these easy tips for ordering lower sodium meals:
Explain your dietary needs
Let the staff know upfront you’re looking for low-sodium options. They can point out good choices or modify dishes.
Choose steaming not frying
Steamed or boiled dishes emphasize natural flavors without extra oil and salt from frying. They’re great low-sodium options.
Get sauces on the side.
Stir-fry sauces add lots of flavor but can be salty. Get it separate so you control how much you use.
Load up on veggies
Fresh veggies like broccoli, spinach, bok choy are naturally low in sodium. Make them the bulk of your meal.
Watch the condiments
Soy sauce, hoisin, and oyster sauce all pack a salty punch. Use sparingly or ask for low-sodium versions.
Try modified menu items
Many places can tweak dishes to be lower sodium like using less oil, salt, and sauce. Just ask!
Sip on hot tea
Chinese teas like jasmine and chamomile are sodium-free and let you enjoy the dining experience.
Fill up on brown rice
Fiber-rich whole grains like brown rice are low in sodium and great for stretching your meal. With a few easy fixes, you can still savor the bold flavors of Chinese food even when limiting salt. Follow these ordering tips for healthier yet still delicious Chinese restaurant meals!
Reduce Sodium Without Sacrificing Flavor: Easy Tips and Tricks
Chinese food is delicious, but high sodium can be an issue, especially if you’re limiting salt intake. No need to sacrifice flavor though! Using more herbs and spices lets you make meals that pop with flavor but are lower in sodium. Here are my three go-to tips:
Experiment with different herb and spice blends
Skip the salt shaker and use things like garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, basil, oregano, thyme, and chili powder to add lots of flavor. I especially love seasoning stir-fries and veggies with zesty spice mixes.
Whip up your own low-sodium sauces
Store-bought sauces and condiments pack tons of sodium. Make your own using low-sodium tamari or soy sauce (2), vinegar, broth and Chinese 5-spice powder or garlic. Add a squeeze of lime juice too for a tangy kick.
Brighten dishes with citrus and vinegar
A squirt of lemon or lime juice or a splash of rice vinegar adds a bright pop of flavor without any sodium. I love the tangy zip they give noodles, stir-fries, dressings, and dipping sauces. Using more herbs, spices, citrus and vinegar allows you to cut back on soy sauce and table salt while still delivering bold Chinese flavors.
Try making roasted Szechuan green beans seasoned with chili powder, sesame oil and lemon juice. Or marinate chicken in ginger, oregano, and vinegar before stir-frying. Get creative with herbs and spices for healthy low-sodium meals!
Best Low and No Sodium Sauces and Seasonings for Chinese Cooking
Chinese food is bursting with flavor, but the sodium in many traditional sauces can be concerning. As a health-conscious foodie, I’ve learned how to make my own low-sodium Asian sauces and seasons. This lets me create tasty Chinese dishes that fit my low-salt diet.
Use reduced-sodium soy sauce
Regular soy sauce is loaded with sodium. Swap it for a low-sodium version, which has at least 50% less salt but all the rich umami flavor.
Try wheat-free tamari
Similar to soy sauce, tamari is made without wheat and usually contains less sodium. It’s great for flavoring stir-fries, noodles, etc.
Whip up homemade sauces
Make your own low-sodium sauces using broth, vinegar, garlic, ginger, chili sauce and spices like five-spice powder. Control the sodium as you like.
Boost flavor with chili pastes
Asian chili pastes and sambals add a flavor blast without much sodium. I love sriracha in stir-fries!
Jazz up rice vinegar by steeping chilies, garlic, citrus peels or ginger in it. Use for tangy dressings.
Experiment with spice blends
Creative blends like Chinese five-spice let you add lots of flavor with zero added sodium. With homemade sauces and seasoned vinegars, you can create low-sodium versions of flavorful Chinese classics.
Try my orange chicken made with freshly squeezed citrus, chili paste and spices. Or use an infused vinegar to brighten up noodles and veggie sides. Get ready for tasty Chinese dishes tailored to your dietary needs!
Simple Ways to Cut Salt in Traditional Chinese Recipes
Reducing Sodium in Chinese Cuisine without Sacrificing Flavor Chinese cuisine is enjoyed by many people for its bold flavors. However, some traditional recipes can be quite high in sodium.
With some simple adjustments, you can create low-sodium versions that are just as delicious. As someone who has cooked Chinese meals for my family for many years, let me share some strategies I’ve found to be successful.
First, swap out regular soy sauce for a low-sodium alternative. Both low-sodium soy sauce and tamari sauce provide salty umami flavor yet use less sodium. I keep these on hand so they’re an easy swap.
You can also make your own sauces from fresh vegetables rather than canned, using low-sodium broth and various herbs and spices. I’ve found that combinations of ginger, garlic, and green onions make a flavor-packed sauce without the heavy salt load. Plant-based proteins like tofu and broccoli provide bulk and are higher in fiber than meat to aid heart health.
Instead of ordering popular restaurant dishes like broccoli beef that can be high in sodium due to sauces and processed meat, I prepare a stir-fry at home using just a pound of lean beef and a huge amount of broccoli.
Portion sizes and limiting ordering multiple menu items when eating out can further reduce sodium intake. The key is getting creative with nature’s seasonings rather than relying on salt shakers. With some trial and error, you’ll discover new flavor profiles that delight your taste buds without risking your health.
A balanced low-sodium diet helps regulate blood pressure and should be the goal for people of all backgrounds.
Make Your Own Low Sodium Chinese Favorites at Home
Many folks enjoy Chinese food for its bold and complex flavors. However, traditional recipes can be high in sodium due to store-bought sauces. Luckily, with some easy tweaks you can prepare lower-sodium Chinese dishes right at home. As an avid home cook, I’ve found the key is making my own sauces.
This allows me to control what goes into them. My classic sauce blend includes low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, and ginger. Not only does this impart a delicious salty-sweet taste, it contains only a fraction of the sodium of bottled types. I also focus on using fresh ingredients that are high in nutrients.
Produce like broccoli and green onions add crunch and flavor without extra sodium. Lean proteins like chicken and tofu provide filling fiber and protein. Whole grains such as brown rice deliver complex carbs and minerals. Together, these create meals that are just as satisfying yet easier on your health.
Cooking methods play a role too. For soups, I use low-sodium broth and mix in eggs dropped in the trademark “egg drop” style. The eggs give its signature texture and protein without additional salt.
For stir-fries and bakes, I reach for low-sodium Mrs. Dash seasoning blends which add savory umami without loads of sodium. With some practice and trial-and-error, you too can master homemade Chinese cuisine that bursts with the robust flavors of ginger, garlic and other spices. Your meals will have all the hearty tastes you love without all the extra sodium that isn’t good for your ticker. With these hacks, you can feel good about digging into your favorite Asian dishes!
Satisfy Your Chinese Food Cravings on a Low Sodium Diet
If you love Chinese food but are watching your sodium intake, have no fear. You can still satisfy your cravings with a few easy adjustments. As a dietitian passionate about Asian recipes, I’m often asked how to prepare these dishes in a healthy way. First, consider low-sodium sauce replacements. Traditional varieties pack loads of flavor…and salt. Yet reduced-sodium soy sauce tastes nearly the same. Making your own blend from chicken broth and spices gives you control.
You should also pick low-sodium ingredients naturally. Veggies like broccoli are nutrient-dense without much sodium. Opt for lettuce wraps filled with stir-fried lean chicken, bean sprouts and cucumber ribbons tossed in rice vinegar.
Portion sizes matter too. Restaurant meals can contain over half your day’s sodium in one serving! At home, fill half your plate with greens, then top with a modest 3-4 ounces of protein. Limit high-sodium dishes like crab rangoon to occasional treats.
A few weeks of practicing these tips, and your taste buds won’t even miss the extra salt. Your body will feel the benefits too, with steadier blood pressure and less bloat. With some tweaks, you’ll see how enjoyable healthy Chinese (3) cooking can truly be.
Finding low-sodium bites at Chinese joints can be tricky, but it ain’t impossible. With some smart tips and tricks, you can chow down on tasty Chinese grub without skimping on your low-salt diet. For starters, go for steamed or boiled dishes instead of fried fare.
Ask for sauces and soups on the side so you control how much sodium goes in. Opt for chicken, shrimp, or veggies as fillings rather than salty meats. And don’t be shy to ask your waiter to go easy on the soy sauce. Most restaurants will happily accommodate requests like these.
Whipping up homemade versions of your fave Chinese foods is another ace way to cut sodium while pumping up flavor. With the right combo of spices, herbs, citrus, vinegar, and garlic, you can make drool-worthy Kung Pao chicken, sweet and sour pork, or cashew shrimp without an ounce of salt.
It just takes some trial and error to nail down recipes that tickle your tastebuds. So take heart, Chinese food fans. With a few easy tactics, you can still get your mandarin cuisine fix while sticking to your low-sodium goals. Just stay flexible, get creative in the kitchen, and enjoy the tasty, yet healthy eats.
I am a skilled chef assistant with a passion for Asian cuisine, I have honed my craft through formal training at At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy and years of experience in the culinary industry. I have extensive knowledge of cooking techniques and herbs and spices, with a particular focus on traditional Chinese dishes. I’m also an author of the book “Delicious Keto Low Carb Chinese Food for Busy Moms and Fitness Enthusiasts” which is sold on Amazon. On my blog, bowlakechinese.com, I share my expertise in Asian cuisine and provide tips and recipes for those interested in low carb Chinese cuisine.