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Panda Express, a chain with over 2,000 locations in the United States, is the largest Asian chain restaurant in the U.S. Here are some ways to eat keto at Panda Express. I made some meal options for you all based on Panda Express’ latest available nutrition facts in the tables below.
Any U.S. chain restaurant that has over 20 locations must have its nutrition facts information available to the public by law as of 2018. This is great for anyone on a low carbohydrate diet to learn what options at chain and fast food restaurants are options for them. I accessed the nutrition facts used in this post here. Please note, Panda Express can change their recipes without announcement, so double-check these facts hold every few months.
Which Low Carb Diets Have Options for Keto at Panda Express?
The Panda Express foods listed in the tables below are most likely to work on a ketogenic or low glycemic index treatment diet. There are options that would work on modified Atkins as well. Leave out the rice and noodle dishes. Higher LGIT carbs people could choose to bank all or almost all of your daily carbs on that. A lot of dishes have added sugar to their sauces that make it hard to work with. Some of the kids’ meals could work if you had a craving for them as a treat; I don’t recommend using that many carbs for that regularly while on a low carb diet.
Tips for Meal Building Keto at Panda Express
Panda Express can be great for meal building treats by adding some home components to it. Think: take home some firecracker shrimp, cook up some fried cauliflower rice, throw in some extra shrimp, and eat together. If you’re on the go, plan how you’ll add more fat to it, because all of these dishes will need that for keto at Panda Express.
Ideas for adding fat to make keto Panda Express meals include adding extra oil to the dishes, dipping the dish in mayo, throwing in sliced avocado, or just add a fat bomb with the meal. A dessert fat bomb would be a nice end to the meal. Or having some Milkadamia Milk Unsweetened with added liquid heavy cream or MCT oil would work, and would encourage drinking fluids to help even out the high sodium content, too.
For adults, low glycemic index treatment diet is the easiest to use the most options at Panda Express, but if desired there are options that can work on any low carbohydrate diet.
I want to add that many Panda Express options have a high sodium content (note it’s the only non-macronutrient I included in the tables in this post). Many keto Panda Express options contain 50% or more of the recommended daily sodium intake for adults. The table below details recommended daily intakes for dietary sodium by age according to experts, more info available here and here.
Many Americans already take in more than this per day. Eating foods high in sodium can increase risk for high blood pressure, dehydration, and risk for heart disease and stroke. Also, eating foods high in sodium may lower calcium in your body that keeps bones strong. See here for more info.
Panda Express can be part of a healthy diet. It’s best eaten as a treat rather than on a regular basis. Add foods like steamed vegetables with keto Panda Express foods to stay hydrated. For example, adding steamed spinach, which can even be quickly prepared by microwaving raw spinach for 90 seconds, would work well.
What other restaurants would you like keto or other low carb diet eating advice about? Leave a comment below to let me know.