I love(d) Chinese food. Past tense because I hardly buy it anymore. First, I don’t want to spend the money and gas on it to get it. Secondly, it’s highly fattening. Here’s an easy recipe you can try if you’re trying to eat healthier. It’s full of fiber, vegetables and flavor. This was made for a single serving but could be expanded for more.

“FAKE OUT” CHINESE VEGETABLE LO MEIN NOODLES
Ingredients:
Whole wheat spaghetti (long noodles broken in half)
2 cloves of crushed garlic
Diced/cut daikon
Shredded carrots
Spinach leaves, chopped (half for dish, half for garnishing)
Diced mushroom
Bok Choy leaves or shredded cabbage (optional)
Green, yellow, red peppers (optional)

For Sauce:
A little water
Soy Sauce (preferably reduce sodium)
A teaspoon of corn starch
A spoonful of honey

Directions: Boil whole wheat pasta. Drain, reserve a little of the excess water and pour it in a bowl. Set noodles/spaghetti aside in separate bowl.  Dice/chop carrots, daikon, garlic, carrots, mushrooms. In the same pot you boiled the noodles in. Put about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of the pot. Put a lid on it to help speed the heating process. When oil is hot, place all of the chopped veggies inside.

In the bowl containing starchy water left over from boiling the noodles, mix in about a tablespoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of honey and just a small amount (perhaps a teaspoon and a half) of corn starch. Mix all of this together for the sauce. By this time, veggies should have cooked up just a bit. Re-add the cooked pasta noodles to the pot and give the entire pot a firm shaking to mix everything up (you may need to mix it with a fork or spoon). After letting the contents warm for just a little (careful not to let burn), pour sauce over everything and mix thoroughly.  At this point, add in a little of the spinach or shredded cabbage, or the bok choy leaves. For an added boost of flavor, toss in some small grape tomatoes and chopped pecans or walnuts.

Why you should eat this: Chinese food is fattening. It’s just something we sadly have to accept. The Chinese take-out food, I read in Men’s Health once, isn’t even REAL Chinese food. Cooking your own take-out gives you better control over the ingredients and makes it far more healthier and fulfilling. It also saves time, money and is just outright fun to get in the kitchen and create your own dish. When this is all done, you can create a dish that looks super impressive and fancy.

All of the veggies goes with my stop-light dieting plan: including veggies of every color means you’re getting more vitamins and minerals out of the dish. Using whole wheat pasta as the lo mein is also a good move. Why? Because in the Chinese food you buy out, the lo mein noodles are brown because they’re drenched and saturated with oil and fat. The kind of stuff that’ll end up expanding your stomach. Eat this dish with whole wheat pasta and loaded with vegetables and you can get by with eating as much as you want.

The whole wheat pasta gives you an added shot of fiber. Mushrooms can serve as a substitute for meat, but adding mushrooms to any dish can help lead to weight loss. Peppers are full of antioxidants (meaning you’ll look younger by eating them), spinach has muscle-building nutrients. Daikon (a Chinese radish)  is a veggie that actually cuts through body fat. Here’s another secret; the less you cook the veggies, the more of the original nutrients and vitamins they’ll maintain. This dish would be just as satisfying with some of these veggies kept raw. Notice I didn’t include any meat in this. If you HAD to have meat, I’d go with a little skinless/boneless chicken breast mixed in.

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