Chicken Tikka Masala vs. Orange Chicken with Rice
The preparation for all these dishes will vary, but we asked Janis Jibrin, RD, the lead nutritionist for Best Life
, to analyze the basic recipes and track down nutritional info for chain restaurants. She found that although tikka masala has fewer calories than orange chicken (662 versus 871 for a 1.5-cup portion of the chicken dish plus 1 cup of rice), it has almost triple
the saturated fat (17 grams versus 6 grams). This is because it's made with cream and, usually, ghee (clarified butter). Jibrin says tikka masala is worse for your arteries and your heart, as well as your waistline.
Healthier Tikka Masala:
If you order a creamy curry, Jibrin advises limiting your portion to just 1 cup. Another idea for healthier but still-speedy Indian food: frozen entrées. Jibrin likes Ethnic Gourmet's Tikka Masala
, which has only 260 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat.
Healthier Orange Chicken:
Jibrin suggests ordering an all-vegetable entrée (such as stir-fried spinach, broccoli or green beans) with your chicken dish and sharing both with friends. Steamed veggies are the healthiest, but even Jibrin admits they get pretty boring. Instead, ask the restaurant to "go easy on the oil" when stir-frying, and substitute brown rice for white.