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How To Go Low Carb at Panda Express Menu

Latest updates by: Janella Diaz
Custom KetoDiet Plan

On a keto diet but craving for Panda Express? We can't blame you! After all, who can say no to enjoying Orange Chicken, Yang Chow Fried Rice, and Chinese Noodles in an instant?

However, here's the thing.

Most of the dishes in fast-food restaurants are filled with calories and packed with carbs. That's why eating at a fast-food restaurant may not be the best option for low-carb dieters.

But wait, we'll let you in on a little secret

Panda Express is one of the few fast-food restaurants with keto-friendly dishes on their menu!

That's great news, right? 

If you're excited to know how to get your Panda Express to fix without ruining your keto diet, continue reading!

Is Panda Express Keto Friendly?

There's no straightforward answer to this because it will depend on the type of dish you'll order. 

Panda Express indeed offers few keto-friendly options. However, please note that most of their dishes are not recommended for people on a keto diet.

How to Order Keto at Panda Express?

With that in mind, how can you make sure that you won't be exceeding your maximum carbohydrate limit when you eat at Panda Express? 

Here are some of our simple tips on how to order low carb at Panda Express.

Take advantage of Panda Express's Build Your Plate. 

This offering allows you to customize your dish to suit your taste, preference, or nutritional needs, which is a good thing to take advantage of when you're on a low-carb diet.  

The first step is to choose which type of meal do you want?

Here are the options that you have:

  • Bowl: one entrée + one side
  • Plate: two entrees +one side
  • Bigger plate: three entrees + one side
  • Family Meal: three large entrees + one large side

After choosing your meal type, you're given the side dish options. Please take note that the only suitable side dish for the keto diet is mixed vegetables. Ask them to hold the carrots as it is rich in carbohydrates.

Up next, you should pick your entrees. There are plenty of options to choose from, but most of them are high in carbs. We'll discuss what are the best low-carb entrees for you in the next section. 

Hold the sauce.

Almost all Panda Express meals come with sauces. While these make the meals more delicious, you should remember that most of these sauces contain high amounts of sugar—a big no-no in your low-carb diet. 

Not only that, but the sauces also contain flour or cornstarch. These don't just give the sauces a thick consistency but also increases their carbohydrate content in the process. 

Because of this, it's always a good idea to hold the sauces when ordering entrees. 

Choose from the wok smart menu.

Panda Express is truly starting to offer healthier and low-carb choices to their customers. Their latest offer is the Wok Smart menu comprised of dishes with fewer calories and more protein (2). The good news is they didn't sacrifice their sought-after flavors!

You'll find out what these dishes are in the next section!

Check out the meals' nutrition information.

If you wish to include a sauce or other side dishes in your meals, that's up to you! You can experiment with your meals as long as they will fit your keto's macronutrient and net carbs requirements.

To ensure this, you should check out the Nutrient Information found on the Panda Express Website (3). In that section, you'll discover the nutrition facts (including net carbs and calorie content) of every meal that the restaurant offers. 

The Best Panda Express Low Carb Keto Options 

Now that we've got the ordering tips covered, allows us to share with you what are the best low-carb options you have at Panda Express. 

Here are our choices.

Super Greens

First things first, we need to start with the sides/ appetizer. As mentioned, the greens should be the only low-carb side dish you can have in the restaurant. These include a blend of cabbage, broccoli, and kale. 

With its contents, you won't just satisfy your required macros and get a decent dose of fiber which is always a good thing when on keto. Additionally, most people say that the Super Greens is mostly broccoli, which is an excellent thing since it's rich in antioxidants too!

Super Greens Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 90
  • Net Carbs per serving: 5 grams
  • Fats: 2.5 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams

String Bean Chicken Breast

This dish features chicken breast, green beans, and onions tossed in a mild ginger soy sauce. 

Everything in this dish is light, delicious, but above all, low in calories! The green beans are also high in fiber, which is a big plus.

String Bean Chicken Breast Nutrition Facts:  

  • Calories: 190
  • Net carbs per serving: 9 grams
  • Fats: 9 grams
  • Protein: 14 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken 

If you can't hold the sauce and you want something a bit more flavorful than the other low-carb options, the grilled teriyaki chicken is the next best option that you can have. 

While it is slightly high in calories because of the grilled chicken teriyaki sauce, it's still considered "low carb" than most Panda Express Bestsellers. 

Another great thing you'll love with the grilled chicken teriyaki is it uses grilled chicken thigh, which is juicier and more flavorful than the usual chicken breast option. 

However, please take note that the grilled chicken teriyaki comes with an additional serving of marinade. If you're tempted to consume it, please always remember that the serving of teriyaki sauce contains extra 16 grams of net carbs!

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 300
  • Net Carbs per serving: 8 grams 
  • Fats: 13 grams
  • Protein: 36 grams

Mushroom Chicken

Of course, we have another chicken dish on the list! 

Similar to the String Bean Chicken, the sauce of this dish is a ginger soy sauce, but instead of mild, they use a light sauce. 

And in exchange for the string beans, the mushroom chicken has, well, mushrooms. It also has zucchini which gives the dish a bit of a refreshing taste.

Mushroom Chicken Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 220
  • Net Carbs per serving: 10 grams
  • Fats: 14 grams
  • Protein: 12 grams

Kung Pao Chicken

The Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken is a Szechuan-inspired dish, so you should be ready to take on garlic and chili peppers' bold flavours. 

Besides the chicken, it also contains peanuts and vegetables, so you're sure that this dish will help you feel full for longer. Not to mention, it will satisfy your taste buds as well!

Kung Pao Chicken Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 290 calories
  • Net Carbs per serving: 12 grams
  • Fats: 19 grams 
  • Protein: 16 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams

Black Pepper Chicken

The Panda Express Black Pepper Chicken features a marinated chicken mixed with chopped onions and bell peppers. 

All ingredients are coated with a black pepper sauce which gives it a bold and powerful savory flavor.

Among the dishes in this list, the black pepper chicken has one of the highest carb contents. Despite that, it's still considered to be low-carb and suitable for the ketogenic diet. Since it has bell pepper and onions, it may also help you reach your recommended fiber intake. 

Black Pepper Chicken Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 280
  • Net Carbs per serving: 14 grams 
  • Fats: 19 grams 
  • Protein: 13 grans
  • Fiber: 1 gram

Firecracker Chicken Breast

The Firecracker Chicken Breast features tender chicken breast slices mixed with freshly chopped veggies coated with Chinese black bean sauce. 

This isn't breaded, so you know it's going to be an excellent option for keto!

Firecracker Chicken Breast Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 170 
  • Net Carbs per serving: 9 grams 
  • Fats: 7 grams 
  • Protein:16 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram

Black Pepper Angus Steak

Yes, you can enjoy the Panda Express Black Pepper Angus Steak! The best ingredient here is the wok-seared Angus Steak slices mixed with sliced onions, mushrooms, baby broccoli, and red bell pepper. Then, everything is tossed in a flavorful black pepper sauce. 

The steak will give you the right balance of protein and fats, while the broccoli will provide you with the fiber you need. 

Black Pepper Angus Steak Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 180 calories
  • Net Carbs per serving: 9 grams 
  • Fats: 7 grams 
  • Protein: 19 grams 
  • Fiber: 1 gram 

Broccoli Beef

With its beef strips, broccoli cuts, and ginger soy sauce, this food seems like the usual beef broccoli sauce at first look. What makes it stands out is the tender beef!

Aside from the beef's tenderness, there's one more thing that we'll surely surprise you about their broccoli beef — the nutrition facts! 

You'll be amazed at how they were able to make this delicious beef dish low-calorie!

Broccoli Beef Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 150 
  • Net Carbs per serving: 11 grams
  • Fats: 7 grams 
  • Protein:9 grams 
  • Fiber: 2 grams

Panda Express Dishes That Can Be Keto Friendly (When Tweaked)

Some Panda Express favorites are not keto but can be modified to fit the keto diet using a few tweaks. 

Here is how we'd tweak it.

Honey Sesame Chicken

If you're like most people whose Panda Express face is the honey sesame chicken, we've got some good news for you! 

You can still squeeze it into your keto diet. 

This includes thin crispy chicken strips, yellow bell peppers, and string beans. These ingredients are put together in a hot sizzling wok with sesame seeds and honey sauce. 

However, let's be clear. 

The dish's original recipe is not low-carb, but it can be suitable for the keto diet with a few modifications. 

How do you make it keto? Simple. Just skip the honey!

Honey Sesame Chicken Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 490 
  • Net Carbs: 38 grams 
  • Fats:22 grams 
  • Protein: 16 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams

Honey Walnut Shrimp

This one is another Panda Express crowd favorite because it features the crunchiness of the tempura-battered shrimp, the added texture from walnuts, and the honey sauce's sweetness.

But, of course, you need to remove the honey sauce from the equation if you want it to be keto. 

However, the dish would be dry without the sauce, so here's a pro tip: order it with a lower carb sauce like soy sauce or black pepper sauce.

Honey Walnut Shrimp Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 360 
  • Net Carbs: 33 grams 
  • Fats: 23 grams 
  • Protein: 13 grams 
  • Fiber: 2 grams

The Panda Express Dishes to Avoid When on Keto

While there are some entrees that you can tweak to suit your keto diet, there are entrees that you should avoid when on keto. 

The reason is they won't suit your limited carbohydrate consumption no matter what you do. 

The Original Orange Chicken

Yes, this is heartbreaking, we know. 

But if you want to reap the benefits of keto, you need to bid their orange chicken goodbye. This is because it contains up to 490 calories and 49 grams of net carbs per serving. 

SweetFire Chicken Breast

You also need to say goodbye to the sweet, chili, and crispy SweetFire Chicken Breast.

THE carbohydrate content is as high as 46 grams, and the calorie content is around 380 calories per serving.

Beijing Beef

Here's another flavorful breaded dish that is not suitable for keto dieters. Because of its breading and the sweetness, tangy sauce, this dish is high caloric (470) and high carb (46 grams per serving).

Conclusion

If you've always thought that going keto means you'll no longer be able to eat in a fast-food restaurant, we hope that this article has enlightened you. 

It's still possible for you to eat at Panda Express. You still have lots of dishes to choose from. All you need to do is check the dish's nutrition facts to ensure that you're getting just the right macronutrients for your diet.

Additionally, you also want to ensure that you're taking the right keto supplements so your keto experience will be as smooth sailing as possible.


Janella Diaz

Janella Diaz is a pharmacist-turned-freelance-writer who loves to read medical and health books and exploring various fitness sites during her downtime. She struggled with high blood sugar levels a few years back, and that’s when she discovered the beauty and benefits of the ketogenic diet. Now, she has made it her life’s mission to help people further understand what a keto diet and assist keto dieters in making the most out of their diet.


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