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Pei Wei Asian kitchen is an American restaurant chain specializing in Pan-Asian food. Pei Wei was founded in 2000 in Scottsdale, Arizona as Pei Wei Asian Diner. The chain has over 200 locations in the United States alone and six international locations in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and South Korea. Food from Pei Wei is made to order in an open kitchen using methods such as wok firing and stir-frying. The chain prides itself on the customization of orders where one can easily choose to add or remove a specific ingredient from their meal. Even though Pei Wei was a little late to the movement, the company made changes in 2016 to improve the nutrition of their food.

A customized Pei Wei lunch box

Pei Wei’s extensive menu

Pei Wei has a fairly extensive menu with a good variety of dishes. The menu pulls inspiration from Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Mongolian and other Asian cuisines.

Pei Wei is famous for its great customization ability. The restaurant allows customers to choose what to include and exclude from a meal. This is especially useful for those with food allergies like gluten sensitivities.

Pei Wei nutrition

Similar to any fast food restaurant, Pei Wei nutrition is lacking in many ways. The food is just as high in calories but Pei Wei’s food has a richer micronutrient composition than other fast-food restaurants. This is because Asian recipes use a lot of vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and cabbage in cooking.

The high Calories of Pei Wei

Pei Wei’s food is very high in calories with the rice and noodle bowls haveing the highest calorie count among all dishes.

Noodle and rice bowls

All of the rice and noodle bowls from Pei Wei are very high in calories with no single exception. They are all in the 1000 calorie range which is far from ideal even for a non-calorie conscious individual. It goes without saying that if you are watching your calories, you should avoid the bowls and opt for an entrée.

Entrees

The majority of Pei Wei’s entrees are between 700 and 1000 calories per serving. The lowest calorie options are those with half vegetables half meat for example the chicken and broccoli with 486kcal and beef and broccoli with 620kcal. The majority of Pei Wei’s entrees have small and large size options. Ordering a small size is a great way of controlling your calorie intake but it is only effective if the smaller serving is filling to you.

If you are watching your calorie intake it is wise to stay away from the Spicy Thai Basil Cashew Chicken and Teriyaki (Fried)Tofu since they are both over 1,000kcal.

Pei Wei’s sides

Pei Wei is one of the few restaurants with low-calorie nutritious sides. The sides include white rice, brown rice, green salad, green lettuce cups, and fried rice. Pei Wei also introduced cauliflower rice as part of their move towards a more health-conscious way of serving food. Similar to the entrees, Pei Wei’s grains also come in two sizes; small and large. The highest calorie side is fried rice with 640 calories in the small and 750 calories in the large size.

Desserts and beverages

Like a typical fast-food restaurant, Pei Wei’s desserts are loaded with calories and little nutritional value. There are 3 desserts available all of which are equally empty in terms of nutrition.

Pei Wei serves two kinds of beverages that is to say soft drinks and tea. Among the soft drinks, there are sodas such as Coca-Cola and Sprite and juices like Minute maid. Due to its processed nature, the juice is high in calories giving 270 calories for a 22oz serving. The tea is a much more sound choice for a beverage both in terms of calories and nutritional value. Tea has zero calories unless a sweetener like sugar or honey is added to it.

Pei Wei’s salads

The restaurant has a very narrow range of salads with only two options. Both the salads have a reasonable calorie count with the Asian Chopped Chicken Salad having 660 calories and the Spicy Polynesian Poke Bow having 710 calories inclusive of the dressing.

Carbohydrates are in high amounts

Since they are made from grains, the noodle and rice bowls from Pei Wei are very high in carbohydrates all surpassing 100g of carbohydrates. Even though a lot of Pei Wei’s entrees are meat-based, they are rich in carbohydrates. This is because most of the dishes are cooked with sweet ingredients such as honey. The restaurant is no place for a ketogenic eater to have a complete satisfying meal.

Pei Wei’s food is high in Protein

Pei Wei’s food is rich in protein due to the use of meat, fish, and chicken in many of their dishes. Interestingly, a plant-based dish, the Teriyaki fried tofu has the highest protein content. It ties with the Spicy Thai Basil Cashew Chicken with a protein content of 49g per serving.

Micronutrients: Pei Wei’s outstanding vitamin and mineral content

You can expect a rich vitamin and mineral composition from Pei Wei’s food since a lot of the dishes incorporate vegetables. However, there be a lower concentration of water-soluble vitamins (B and C) since they are lost on heating and exposure to air. To maximize the amount of vitamins you get from Pei Wei, order a side salad to go with your meal or simply get a salad bowl.

Many of Pei Wei’s dishes incorporate vegetables, a practice common in Asian cuisine

Cholesterol and Sodium

The majority of fast-food restaurants serve high sodium foods. However, Pei Wei’s food’s sodium content is so much higher than regular fast food levels. This is because of the use of soy sauce one of nature’s richest sources of sodium. It is highly advisable to regulate the number of times one eats Pei Wei’s food to minimize the risk of high blood pressure.

Pei Wei’s food is fairly low in cholesterol with only the noodle and rice bowls having alarming levels.

Ordering extra vegetables with your food at Pei Wei will protect you from the health consequences of both the sodium and cholesterol content of the food.

Pei Wei’s Allergy Information

Pei Wei’s food contains a number of allergens. Nearly all common allergens are present in the food that is to say eggs, fish, dairy, peanuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Soy is present in almost all foods due to the use of soy sauce. If you have a soy allergy, it is advisable to steer clear of Pei Wei.

Pei Wei’s allergy information is together with the nutrition information which makes it quite difficult to read.

A review of Pei Wei’s nutrition

In short, Pei Wei’s nutrition is lacking. Out of 5, the restaurant earns a 2.5-star rating. Pei Wei’s menu could use more vegetable options in the salads and sides section. A total of 4 vegetable options is very limiting for their customers who are health conscious. The 2.5 stars are for the nutritious sides on the menu, a quality very rare among fast-food restaurants.

In conclusion, Pei Wei should be a once in a while indulgence in your diet but not a daily affair.

What is the healthiest meal at Pei Wei?

For a healthy meal from Pei Wei, choose a half veggie half meat entrée such as the chicken and broccoli and pair it with some brown rice.

Is Pei Wei high in calories?

Yes, Pei Wei’s is high in calories, particularly the noodle and rice bowls.

Is Pei Wei food healthy?

You can get a healthy meal from Pei Wei but remember to watch the calorie and sodium content of your meal.

Is Pei Wei keto-friendly?

No, individuals on keto usually go for meat and chicken which are both available at Pei Wei but are very high in sugar.

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