It IS possible to enjoy keto at Panda Express. No, fast food keto foods are not of the highest quality. A well-balanced ketogenic diet with plenty of micronutrients, healthy fats, and high-quality protein sources is ideal, but it’s not always possible. We understand that you are human, and that fast food is sometimes your only option.
Panda Express bills itself as a fast and casual Chinese eatery. It is a large fast-food chain in the United States with over 2200 locations. Orange chicken and chow mein are some of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Some people find it difficult to stick to a low carb diet at Panda Express, but we’re here to change that.
The most popular dishes at Panda Express are fried rice, spring rolls, and orange chicken. Many Chinese flavors are loaded with sugar that isn’t readily apparent. These types of foods are not allowed on the keto diet. However, at Panda Express, you can still splurge a little bit. As long as you keep track of your macros, you’ll stay in ketosis.
Staying keto at Mcdonalds, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Chick-Fil-A may all be pretty straightforward, but when it comes to Panda Express, keto items may not be as obvious. Let’s go over how to stay keto at Panda Express!
You should keep your total carb intake under 50 grams per day if you’re on a keto diet. If a food contains both carbs and fiber, the net carb count can be calculated by subtracting the fiber grams from the total carbs.
Keto Entree Menu Items at Panda Express
All of these menu items can be eaten on a ketogenic diet, but they’re all on the higher end of the carb content count. If you stick to a strict under 20g net carbs per day diet, you’ll need to make sure your other meals are lower in carbs to compensate for this meal. Even though there are less than 20 grams of net carbs in each of these dishes, they all add up.
Black Pepper Angus Steak
180 calories | 7g fat | 10g carbs | 1g fiber | 6g sugar | 19g protein | 9g net carbs
This dish satisfies all of the keto requirements. Seared steak, baby broccoli, onions, red bell peppers, and mushrooms are all served with a savory black pepper sauce. Even those who prefer fine dining tend to agree that it is quite tasty — especially for fast food.
In addition to sticking to your low carb lifestyle, you’ll get a lot of vitamins and minerals (like calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin C) from this colorful blend of vegetables.
150 calories | 7g fat | 13g carbs | 2g fiber | 7g sugar | 9g protein | 11g net carbs
Tender beef, fresh broccoli, and a ginger-soy sauce will satisfy your fast-food cravings while staying true to your keto diet. The broccoli is almost perfectly steamed, as is the case with most Panda Express dishes. Broccoli is naturally high in fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, and magnesium, which is just a bonus.
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
300 calories | 13g fat | 8g carbs | 0g fiber | 8g sugar | 36g protein | 8g net carbs
The Grilled Teriyaki Chicken has been hand-sliced to order and served with teriyaki sauce.
Despite the fact that teriyaki is typically high in sugar, this grilled teriyaki chicken entree at Panda Express is one of the lowest-carb options.
220 calories | 14g fat | 10g carbs | 1g fiber | 5g sugar | 13g protein | 9g net carbs
The keto test is passed with flying colors with this Cantonese-inspired dish. It’s stuffed with chicken, mushrooms, and zucchini and drizzled with a ginger-soy glaze.
String Bean Chicken Breast
190 calories | 9g fat | 13g carbs | 4g fiber | 4g sugar | 14g protein | 9g net carbs
This is undoubtedly one of Panda Express’s healthiest choices. This dish includes string (green) beans, in a ginger-soy sauce, chicken breast, and onions.
Just make sure you don’t eat all of the sauce that has settled at the bottom of the bowl! This ginger-soy sauce is no exception to the rule that sauces are loaded with hidden carbs.
Kung Pao Chicken
290 calories | 7g fat | 0g carbs | 0g fiber | 0g sugar | 7g protein | 12g net carbs
Kung Pao Chicken is a Szechwan-inspired dish that combines chicken, peanuts, and vegetables with chili peppers on top.
45 calories | 2g fat | 5g carbs | 3g fiber | 2g sugar | 3g protein | 2g net carbs
Their Super Greens are their only keto-friendly side dish. It’s made up of cabbage, kale, and broccoli in a green medley.
Keto Sauces To Enjoy At Panda Express
- Soy sauce : 0g net carbs
- Chili sauce : 2g net carbs
- Potsticker sauce : 3g net carbs
- Hot Mustard : 0g net carbs
- Plum Sauce : 3g net carbs
Panda Express Items To Avoid
Carb-heavy foods like rice, noodles, egg rolls, and any fried meats should be avoided at Panda Express or any Asian restaurant. What you might not consider is how sugary the sauces are. Many sauces (such as sweet and sour, teriyaki, and orange chicken sauce) are high in carbs, even if the meat is grilled rather than battered and fried.
When it comes to added sauces, be cautious and double-check the nutrition information for anything you order! If you order any of the above entrees, we recommend lightly patting off some of the excess sauce with a napkin to cut down on sugar.
The entire appetizer menu is also off-limits. All of the rangoons, egg rolls, spring rolls, crispy shrimp, and pot stickers are too high in carbohydrates. No fortune cookies, either, as they have 5 net carbs. I’ve listed some less obvious entrees and sides to stay away from below. They appear to be low carb, but they aren’t. It’s all about the sauces.
Avoid These Entrees
- Teriyaki Chicken : 14 Carbs
- Asian Chicken – 14 Carb
- Orange Chicken : 51 Carbs
- Beijing Beef : 45 carbs
- Wok Seared Steak and Shrimp : 21 Carbs
- Honey Walnut Shrimp : 33 net carbs
Avoid These Sides
Rice and Noodles. Not only do they have a lot of carbs, but they also have little nutritional value.
Avoid These Soups
- Hot and Sour Soup : 13 net carbs
Avoid These Sauces
- Teriyaki Sauce : 16 net carbs
- Sweet & Sour Sauce : 21 net carbs
Tips For Successfully Staying Keto At Panda Express
- Anything larger than a Bowl, unfortunately, is not permitted.
- Super Greens is the only side allowed.
- Be very mindful of sauces.
Other Questions About Keto at Panda Express
Is Panda Express black pepper chicken keto friendly?
The black pepper chicken has the following nutritional information:
280 calories | 19g fat | 15g carbs | 1g fiber | 7g sugar | 13g protein | 14g net carbs
Because of the high carb count, we did not include the black pepper chicken on our list.
Is broccoli keto?
Broccoli is a Keto-friendly vegetable because it contains a lot of fiber and has a low net carb count. Broccoli has approximately 2 net carbs per cup.
Is Panda Express kung pao chicken keto friendly?
We included this dish on the list because the carb count is below 12g net carbs. Please see full nutrition above.
At Panda Express, you can eat keto because the menu includes a variety of low-carb and keto dishes that can be ordered without modification, as well as one low-carb, ketogenic side dish. These menu options should keep you on track and help you reach your keto goals!
All nutritional information can be found and sourced here: https://www.pandaexpress.com/nutritioninformation