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Chinese food take-out can be a quick dinner option on nights where families are too busy to cook, but the high sodium content in these foods works against a kid’s healthy diet. The Healthy Chinese Takeout Initiative brings restaurant owners and health professions together to slim down the sodium in these popular meals.
The city of Philadelphia has gotten over 200 Chinese food restaurants to agree to reduce sodium in their meals by 10-15 percent.
Organizers offered a series of low-sodium cooking classes last summer with the goal of changing the ingredients but not the taste. Nine months later, salt content in those two dishes was down 20 percent in samples from 20 restaurants. Researchers plan to test the food again in a few months, and expand the program to other items.
How did the chefs do it? They swapped excess salt for chilies and garlic, used less sauce, and decided to distribute soy sauce packets only on demand. Many participants also started posting nutrition information.
When restaurants start making healthier cooking choices, customers are able to make better food choices when dining out.