No Secret: The Best Macro-Friendly Panda Express Options

Americans are flocking to Panda Express like bees to honey. Boasting over 2,300 stores, this fast-food giant makes 110 million pounds of their world-famous orange chicken each year. With each serving clocking in at 490 calories, you might be looking for another option. Keep reading.

For the health-conscious among us, finding anything on the menu can feel like a challenge. That’s where this guide steps in, with a mission to enlighten you on the best macro-friendly options at Panda Express.

Introduction

Eating out can often feel like navigating a minefield, especially when you’re trying to stick to a diet that’s low in fat, low in calories, and high in protein. It doesn’t have to be that way. Enter Panda Express. Yes, you heard that right. This fast-food giant isn’t just about Kung Pao Chicken and Chow Mein, it’s also home to some surprisingly macro-friendly options.

In this guide, we’re going to deep dive into seven stellar dishes that hit the sweet spot between being delicious and macro-friendly. These options, with their balanced protein, fat, and carbohydrate content, can help you maintain your nutrition goals, even when eating out.

The takeaway here is that you don’t have to compromise on taste or give up on your favorite fast-food restaurant. Panda Express can still be on the menu. It’s all about making smart, informed choices. So let’s get started, shall we?

The Super Seven: Macro-friendly Menu Items

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken (275 calories: 33g protein, 10g fat, 14g carbs)

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken from Panda Express is a lean protein option primarily composed of skinless, boneless chicken thighs. The chicken is marinated in a teriyaki sauce that gives off a savory flavor with a hint of sweetness.

With 275 calories per serving and a substantial 33 grams of protein, this is a power-packed option for anyone keeping an eye on their macros. A reminder – when you ever see dishes that boast 10g+ protein per 100 calories, you know you’ve reached the promised land.

Given its hearty protein content, the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken pairs well with lower-calorie, veggie-focused sides for a well-rounded meal. Consider choosing the Super Greens, a blend of broccoli, kale, and cabbage with just 90 calories per serving and 6g of protein.

With many of these dishes being based on chicken, enjoy my macro-friendly Chick-fil-A breakdown!

Black Pepper Angus Steak (210 calories: 19g protein, 10g fat, 13g carbs)

The Black Pepper Angus Steak at Panda Express is a flavorful dish made of Angus steak, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, stir-fried in a savory black pepper sauce.

With this dish giving you 19g protein for 210 calories, you can feel confident in adding to the mix. Just like grilling keeps the fat content down, so does stir-frying, which is how the lean Angus steak is prepared.

Just like I mentioned with the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, your best bet is pairing this with the Super Greens as well. You can also get a steamed rice cub meal for 240 calories if you have extra calories to spare.

String Bean Chicken Breast (210 calories: 12g protein, 12g fat, 13g carbs)

String Bean Chicken Breast at Panda Express combines chunks of chicken breast, fresh-cut string beans, and sliced onions, all tossed in a flavorful soy sauce-based stir fry.

The chicken breast provides lean protein, and the vegetables add fiber and nutrients without adding many calories. It’s not as protein-heavy as the earlier options, but with only 210 calories per serving, it’s still a healthier option relative to other menu items.

Read: 9 Starbucks Macro-Friendly Food Options

Mushroom Chicken (220 calories: 13g protein, 14g fat, 10g carbs)

The Mushroom Chicken from Panda Express consists of diced chicken, mushrooms, and zucchini, stir-fried together in a light ginger-soy sauce.

At only 220 calories per serving and providing 13 grams of protein, Mushroom Chicken is a solid macro-friendly choice. The mushrooms and zucchini add low-calorie volume and nutrients to the dish. The light ginger-soy sauce keeps the overall calorie count down compared to heavier or cream-based sauces.

Broccoli Beef (150 calories: 9g protein, 7g fat, 13g carbs)

Broccoli Beef at Panda Express is a simple yet flavorful dish made of thinly sliced beef and fresh broccoli florets, cooked together in a ginger-soy sauce.

It has 150 calories and 9 grams of protein per serving. Again, the broccoli adds volume, fiber, and essential nutrients without many calories. Just as with the mushroom chicken, the light ginger-soy sauce gives flavor without as many calories.

Wok-Fired Shrimp (190 calories: 17g protein, 5g fat, 19g carbs)

Moving on from the meat, the next dish is for my seafood lovers. Starting with the Wok-Fired Shrimp, which is a satisfying dish consisting of large shrimp, sugar snap peas, red bell peppers, and yellow onions, all stir-fried together in a mildly spicy, savory sauce.

Shrimp is also a lean source of protein, making this dish a great option if you’re keeping an eye on your macros. The dish also benefits from the fiber and nutrients provided by the snap peas, bell peppers, and onions.

Compared to the other shrimp-based dishes at Panda Express, the Wok-Fired definitely takes the cake. It’s 170 calories less than the Honey Walnut Shrimp and the Golden Treasure Shrimp. Oh, and more protein.

Orange Chicken (490 calories: 25g protein, 23g fat, 51g carbs)

You might be asking why is this man writing a post about macro-friendly options at Panda Express and including the highest calorie meat or fish option they provide.

The answer is simple. Let’s face it – when it comes to taste, there are only a few people on this planet that I’ve met that don’t enjoy at least a bite of that Orange Chicken.

The point of writing all these posts about fast-food macro-friendly options is not to make you perfect. It’s to be more mindful of what you’re putting in your body. If you feel like you’ve been doing good in recent weeks and want a treat, go for it. If you just finished a hard workout and want a reward, go for it. Even if you haven’t done any of the above and just want to enjoy the Orange Chicken, go for it!

The important part is coming back the next day ready to get back on your routine. Consistency will always be key.

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Conclusion: Making Mindful Choices at Panda Express

Eating out doesn’t have to be a nutrition nightmare. Even at Panda Express, with a little bit of planning and knowledge, you can make choices that fit right into your macro goals. From Grilled Teriyaki Chicken to Mushroom Chicken, from Black Pepper Angus Steak to Broccoli Beef, and the veggie-loaded side dishes, you can feast guilt-free on these macro-friendly options.

Ultimately, it’s about making mindful choices. You’re not only looking for flavor and satisfaction, but also the right balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. As you walk into Panda Express next time, remember this guide, and you’ll walk out feeling nourished and fulfilled without straying from your health goals.

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