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Chinese Food Meal Prep

glass meal prep containers with egg rolls, sliced green cucumber, and shredded red cabbage

Chinese food meal prep is one of the best options for busy people looking to eat healthy on a budget. We’ve already covered Asian food meal prep overall, but there is so much depth to each cuisine, so we’re deep-diving into Chinese food meal prep.

Chinese cuisine’s vibrant flavors and variety of dishes offers huge potential for meal prepping. 

Chinese food meal prep can typically be made with inexpensive ingredients such as rice, noodles, tofu, and vegetables. Asian grocery stores also often provide options to buy in bulk which can save a lot of money and cut down on packaging trash. Consider whether or not you have the space to efficiently and comfortably store the ingredients though. The last thing you want to do is spend money on a big bag of rice only to find yourself with so much you’ll never use it all. You can still use rice for non-Chinese dishes so compile a list of recipes that you want to try and buy rice accordingly.

The drag of meal prep for many people is burning out on the same recipes after eating them week in and week out. Chinese food meal prep is a great way to open a door to a world of diverse recipes while using similar ingredients (sometimes). From stir-fries to steamed dishes to soups and dumplings, there are tons of options. 

Beef Stir Fry with Squash Noodles

When picking a recipe you do need to consider which recipes will store or travel well. Dishes like stir-fries, fried rice, and soups can be easily reheated without compromising their flavor or texture, making them ideal for meal prepping.

Chinese food meal prep can also be quick and easy with only a little time actually cooking. Stir-fries, for example, come together in a matter of minutes and can be made in large batches.

Chinese cuisine emphasizes a balance of flavors and incorporates plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Many traditional Chinese dishes are low in fat and calories with a good balance of nutrients. More American style Chinese recipes that are covered in sauce can be high in calories, sugar, and salt. Cooking more healthy chinese recipes or by altering unhealthy recipes with low sodium or low sugar sauces you can eat well on a diet. You can also consider removing elements and eating a more deconstructed version that focuses more on the protein and veggies rather than the fried or saucy components.

Breaking down Chinese food meal prep even further we can look at variations in cuisine from North China to South China.

South China Food Meal Prep

Cantonese cuisine, which originates from the Guangdong province in Southern China, has had a significant influence on Southern cuisine as a whole. Cantonese dishes are known for their use of fresh seafood and subtle seasoning.

glass meal prep containers with egg rolls, sliced green cucumber, and shredded red cabbage

Southern Chinese recipes are more focused on rice as a base reflecting a warmer climate perfect for rice cultivation. Rice is often served as a side to compliment a dish or as part of the preparation like in stir-fries. Rice can be great for meal prepping especially if you have a rice cooker and can prep the veggies and proteins ahead and time and simply pair it with fresh rice. 

This cuisine typically features lighter and fresher flavors focusing on the natural taste of the ingredients. Seasoned with soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and garlic, but balanced so as to not mask the natural flavors. Finding healthy options for soy sauce is a great way to eat healthy without compromising the recipe’s taste.

You may recognize such famous Southern Chinese recipes such as dim sum, roast duck, and sweet and sour pork. All delicious and very different within the same cuisine. Southern Chinese food meal prep is great for fresh lunches and dinners that are totally unique.

Northern Chinese Food Meal Prep

The imperial cuisine of the Ming and Qing dynasties influenced Northern Chinese recipes with elaborate presentations and the use of high-quality ingredients. 

Northern Chinese recipes tend to use wheat as their base such as noodles, dumplings, and steamed buns. The cooler climates of the north are more conducive to wheat cultivation and heartier meals.

The flavors of Northern Chinese food meal prep are more robust and hearty, often featuring rich sauces. Just like the south, most dishes are seasoned with soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and garlic. Different from the south though, this cuisine uses these ingredients to enhance the savory flavors of the rest of the dish.

Many Northern Chinese dishes are well known around the world like  Peking duck, Mongolian hot pot, and jianbing. The steamed buns are often a popular choice with their rich flavors inside, bouncy bun exterior, and ease of eating.. 

Whether you are picking recipes from North or South China or you’re making variations of more American-style dishes, remember to have fun with them. Having fun with new recipes is one of the most important ways to enjoy them, even if your cooking skills need some practice. Try starting with some of our Chinese food meal prep recipes for a healthy and quick option.

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