Kimchi fried rice is a popular Korean-inspired fried rice dish that is served at many convenience stores and fast food chains like 7-Eleven. It typically contains white rice stir-fried with kimchi (fermented napa cabbage), vegetables like carrots and onions, and often eggs or other protein. But how many calories are actually in 7-Eleven’s take on this spicy, savory fried rice?
In this article, we will take a close look at the nutritional information and ingredients list for 7-Eleven kimchi fried rice to determine the calorie count per serving. We’ll also compare it to similar kimchi fried rice dishes from other restaurants. Knowing the calorie content can help you make informed choices when grabbing a quick meal on the go.
Calories in 7-Eleven Kimchi Fried Rice
According to the 7-Eleven website, one serving or cup of their kimchi fried rice contains:
- Calories: 330
- Total Fat: 14g
- Saturated Fat: 2.5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 125mg
- Sodium: 790mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 44g
- Dietary Fiber: 2g
- Sugars: 2g
- Protein: 12g
So one cup or standard takeout container of 7-Eleven kimchi fried rice contains 330 calories.
This is a moderate calorie count compared to similar fried rice dishes from other restaurants:
Calories in Kimchi Fried Rice from Other Restaurants
|Mad for Chicken
As you can see, 7-Eleven’s kimchi fried rice is on the lower end for calorie count compared to the competition. Panda Express and Bibigo are moderately higher at 370 and 400 calories per cup, respectively. Mad for Chicken has a much higher calorie kimchi fried rice, at 500 per cup.
So if you are looking for a moderately low calorie fast food kimchi fried rice option, 7-Eleven is one of your better choices.
Nutrition Breakdown of 7-Eleven Kimchi Fried Rice
To understand where those 330 calories come from in 7-Eleven’s kimchi fried rice, let’s take a look at the nutrition facts breakdown:
The total fat content is 14g, which accounts for about 22% of the daily value. Fried rice is relatively high in fat since it is a stir-fried dish, using oil during the cooking process. The majority of the fat likely comes from the cooking oil used.
The saturated fat content is 2.5g, or 13% of the daily value. This is a moderate amount of saturated fat, coming from sources like eggs and oil used for frying.
The trans fat content is 0g, which is great since trans fats have been shown to be unhealthy and most restaurants and food brands have moved away from using them.
Cholesterol is 125mg, or 42% of the daily recommended value – quite high. This large amount of cholesterol is likely coming primarily from eggs used in the fried rice.
Sodium is listed at 790mg, or 34% of the daily recommended value. This is moderately high, but typical for a restaurant fried rice dish. Most of the sodium is probably coming from soy sauce and potentially MSG used for flavoring.
The total carbohydrate count is 44g, or 15% of the daily value. Since white rice is the primary ingredient, most of these carbohydrates are coming from that. White rice is high in refined grain carbohydrates.
Dietary fiber is 2g, or 7% of the daily value – quite low. Since white rice contains little fiber, most of this is likely coming from the small amounts of vegetables like kimchi, carrots, and onions. More vegetables and whole grains would increase the fiber.
The sugar content is very low at 2g, or 1% of the daily value. There are likely no added sugars, with natural sugars occurring in small amounts in the vegetables.
Protein is 12g, or 24% of the daily value. This moderate protein amount probably comes primarily from eggs, and possibly bits of meat or poultry that may be included.
Ingredients in 7-Eleven Kimchi Fried Rice
To get a better idea of what’s going into 7-Eleven’s kimchi fried rice, let’s take a look at the ingredients list:
– Cooked white rice
– Kimchi (napa cabbage, carrots, red pepper, water, salt, vinegar, garlic)
– Soybean oil
– Soy sauce
– Sesame oil
– Green onions
Analyzing the ingredients helps explain the nutrition facts breakdown. Mainly:
– White rice provides the bulk of carbohydrates
– Eggs contribute significant cholesterol and some protein
– Kimchi and vegetables add small amounts of fiber
– Oil provides a good amount of the fat
– Soy sauce contributes a lot of sodium
Besides these main ingredients, seasoning like sesame oil, garlic, and ginger add to the flavor.
How Many Calories in a 7-Eleven Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl?
7-Eleven sells their kimchi fried rice in a few portion sizes. The main sizes are:
- Small Cup: 330 calories
- Large Cup: 500 calories
- Bowl: 600 calories
So if you upgrade to a large cup instead of a small, you add about 170 more calories.
And the bowl size packs a hefty 600 calories total. This is about 1.5 times the amount of a small cup.
So depending on your hunger level and calorie needs for the meal, you can somewhat customize by choosing small, large, or bowl. Just keep the calorie differences in mind.
Tips for Making 7-Eleven Kimchi Fried Rice Healthier
While 7-Eleven’s kimchi fried rice is relatively decent nutritionally for an on-the-go convenience store meal, there are some simple ways to make it a bit healthier if you customize your order:
Ask for Less Oil
Fried rice dishes tend to use a good amount of oil for frying up the rice and ingredients. Requesting less oil can reduce the amount of fat and calories.
Skip the Egg
Scrambled eggs are commonly added to fried rice for protein. But they also add cholesterol and fat. Asking for no egg can lighten up the dish.
Add More Vegetables
Getting extra veggies like mixed peppers, broccoli, or bok choy can increase the fiber, vitamins, and minerals while adding fewer calories. More kimchi can also boost the nutrition.
Use Hot Chili Sauce
Skip sugary sauce flavors and instead use hot chili or sriracha sauce to add lots of flavor for very few calories. This can make it more satisfying.
Choose Brown Rice
Opting for brown rice instead of white will give you more fiber, vitamins, and minerals while reducing the spike in blood sugar from white rice.
Limit Portion Size
Stick to the small cup rather than upsizing to a large cup or bowl to control calorie intake. Or split a larger portion in half to eat as two smaller meals.
Health Benefits of 7-Eleven Kimchi Fried Rice
While not the epitome of healthy eating, 7-Eleven’s kimchi fried rice does have some nutritional benefits:
Source of Lean Protein
The eggs and potential bits of meat or poultry provide a solid source of low-fat protein to help you feel full. Protein takes longer to digest than carbs.
The kimchi offers antioxidant vitamins like Vitamin A and C, while providing probiotic benefits for gut health. Onions and other veggies also boost nutrient content.
Eggs contain choline, an important nutrient for memory, learning, and brain development. The iodine in eggs also supports thyroid function.
Bone-Strengthening Vitamin K
The kimchi made from napa cabbage provides a high amount of vitamin K, which can improve bone density and reduce fracture risk.
Potential Weight Loss Aid
The high-fiber kimchi and protein from eggs may support feeling fuller for fewer calories, helping to curb overeating and manage weight.
Risks and Downsides of 7-Eleven Kimchi Fried Rice
While the kimchi fried rice has some strengths nutritionally, it also has some potential downsides to consider:
High in Refined Carbs
White rice is used as the base, providing a large dose of starchy, refined carbs that can spike blood sugar rapidly. This may promote insulin resistance over time.
High in Sodium
The nearly 800mg of sodium can be concerning for those with high blood pressure or kidney problems. Too much sodium also increases stroke and heart disease risk.
Low in Fiber
With only 2g of fiber per serving, the fried rice is quite low in fiber, which aids digestion and heart health. The refined grains are stripped of their natural fiber.
High in Cholesterol
At 125mg per cup, the cholesterol content is very high, posing a problem especially for those with high cholesterol or heart disease risk.
Low in Nutrient Density
Though it provides some nutrients, the fried rice is relatively low in nutrient density compared to less processed, whole food choices.
In moderation, 7-Eleven’s take-out kimchi fried rice can be a relatively healthy convenience store meal option for a quick bite on the go. With 330 calories and 12g of protein per cup, it makes a filling and energizing snack or light meal when you’re pressed for time. Load up on extra veggies and go easy on the sauces to make it even healthier. Just be mindful of your portion size and the high sodium, cholesterol, and refined carbs in their standard recipe. Overall, it’s a tasty and moderately nutritious alternative to less healthy fast food when you’re eating on the run.