How many calories are in Chinese beef and broccoli with white rice?

Chinese beef and broccoli with white rice is a popular Chinese takeout dish. It typically consists of sliced beef and broccoli florets stir-fried in a sauce and served over a bed of white rice. Knowing the calorie content of this meal can help with weight management and overall health. In this comprehensive 5000 word guide, we will analyze the calorie content of Chinese beef and broccoli with white rice by looking at the individual components of the dish.

Calories in Beef

Beef is the main protein source in this dish. The calorie content of beef can vary significantly depending on the cut of meat.

Beef Cut Calories per 3 oz Serving
Top Sirloin 158
Tenderloin 120
Strip Steak 140
Ribeye 158
Ground Beef (90% lean) 122

As you can see, leaner cuts of beef like tenderloin have around 120 calories per 3 ounce serving, while fattier cuts like ribeye have closer to 160 calories. Beef used in Chinese dishes is most often flank steak or top round, which contain 130-150 calories per 3 ounce serving.

For the purposes of this analysis, we will assume a 3 ounce serving of flank steak containing approximately 140 calories.

Calories in Broccoli

Broccoli is a nutrient-dense, low-calorie vegetable. One cup of raw broccoli florets contains only 31 calories. When broccoli is cooked by stir-frying, some of the water content reduces, concentrating the amount of nutrients per cup. Cooked broccoli contains about 50 calories per cup.

A typical serving size of broccoli in Chinese beef and broccoli is around 1 cup of chopped broccoli florets. So the broccoli portion of this dish adds approximately 50 calories.

Calories in White Rice

White rice is the high-carbohydrate accompaniment for this dish. White rice is mostly starchy carbohydrates with a small amount of protein.

Here are the calorie counts for different serving sizes of cooked white rice:

Serving Size Calories
1/4 cup 55
1/2 cup 110
1 cup 220

A typical serving size of white rice with Chinese food like beef and broccoli is around 1 cup. So the rice adds approximately 220 calories to this dish.

Calories in Sauce

In Chinese beef and broccoli, a sauce or glaze is poured over the beef and broccoli when stir-frying. This sauce often contains soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, sesame oil, cornstarch, and brown sugar.

The calorie content of the sauce depends on the specific amounts of each ingredient. In general, a 1/4 cup serving of a typical Chinese brown sauce would contain around 60-100 calories.

To be conservative in our estimate, let’s assume the sauce adds 100 calories to this dish.

Total Calorie Estimate

Now let’s add up the calories from each component to estimate the total calories in a serving of Chinese beef and broccoli with white rice:

Dish Component Calories
Beef (3 oz) 140
Broccoli (1 cup) 50
White rice (1 cup) 220
Sauce (1/4 cup) 100
Total Calories 510

Based on this analysis, a serving of Chinese beef and broccoli with white rice likely contains around 510 calories. This estimate provides a rough guideline, but the actual calorie count may vary depending on the exact recipe, ingredients, and portion sizes. Small tweaks like using leaner cuts of beef, minimizing oil for stir-frying, or reducing the amount of sauce could potentially slightly lower the calorie content of this classic Chinese dish.

Ways to Reduce Calories in This Dish

If you are looking to reduce the calorie content of beef and broccoli with rice, here are some tips:

– Use leaner cuts of beef like top round or tenderloin instead of fattier short ribs or chuck steak. This can save you 50-70 calories per serving.

– Increase the proportion of broccoli and reduce the beef. Broccoli has very few calories.

– Use cauliflower rice instead of white rice. Cauliflower rice only has around 30 calories per cup versus 220 for white rice.

– Cook with cooking spray or broth instead of oil. Avoid deep frying.

– Flavor the dish with garlic, ginger, vinegar, chili and other spices instead of sugary sauces. Ask for sauce on the side.

– Opt for steamed rice instead of fried rice, to eliminate about 45 calories of added oil per cup.

– Request small portion sizes. You can always get more if you are still hungry.

Following some of these tips can potentially reduce the calories in a beef and broccoli rice meal by 150-300 calories while still providing satisfaction.

Nutritional Benefits of Beef and Broccoli

While this Chinese food favorite is reasonably high in calories, it also provides many important nutrients:

Benefits of Beef

– High quality protein needed for muscle repair and maintenance. Just 3 oz of beef provides about 25g protein.

– heme-iron which is absorbed 2-3 times more efficiently than non-heme iron from plant foods. Important for oxygen transport.

– Zinc supports immune system and cell growth.

– B-vitamins including vitamin B12 not found in plant foods.

Benefits of Broccoli

– Vitamin C: supports immune function and collagen production. One cup of cooked broccoli provides over 100% DV.

– Vitamin K: Needed for blood clotting and bone health. Provides the full DV in just one cup.

– Folate: Essential for new cell and DNA production. Provides 14% DV per cup.

– Fiber for digestive and heart health. One cup has 2-3g fiber.

– Anti-inflammatory nutrients like sulforaphane may lower cancer risk.

So while reasonably high in calories, beef and broccoli also provide high quality protein, essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and beneficial plant nutrients. If calories are a concern, consuming smaller portions or reducing the calorie density as described can help optimize the nutrient value.

Comparing Beef and Broccoli to Other Chinese Foods

How does beef and broccoli compare calorie-wise to some other popular Chinese restaurant menu items?

Chinese Menu Item Calories (for typical serving)
Beef & Broccoli with rice 510
Sesame Chicken with rice 800
General Tso’s Chicken with rice 950
Kung Pao Chicken with rice 690
Chicken Fried Rice 450
Vegetable Lo Mein 500
Broccoli w/ Garlic Sauce 270

Beef and broccoli contains fewer calories than popular fried, breaded chicken dishes, or carb-heavy fried rice. Choosing vegetable-based dishes like broccoli or lo mein can further reduce calories compared to beef. But overall, beef and broccoli is reasonably low in calories for a protein-rich Chinese food choice.

Tips for Enjoying Beef and Broccoli while Managing Calories

Here are some tips if you want to keep enjoying beef and broccoli as part of a healthy diet:

– Pay attention to portion sizes. Split a large entree or take half home for leftovers.

– Fill up on lower calorie foods first like broth based soups or steamed veggies. These provide few calories but lots of nutrients and fiber.

– Avoid deep fried appetizers and high-calorie dipping sauces. Stick to steamed dumplings.

– Opt for brown rice instead of white to add more filling fiber and nutrients. Or choose veggie sides like sauteed bok choy over rice altogether.

– Request all sauces and oils be served on the side, and use sparingly. Sauces, condiments, and oils can quickly add excess calories.

– Skip sugary drinks like soda. Opt for green tea, which has antioxidant benefits.

– Offset higher calorie restaurant meals by eating lighter the rest of the day. Focus on lean protein, fruits, veggies and whole grains.

Chinese food like beef and broccoli can absolutely be part of a healthy diet when ordered with balance and moderation in mind. Pay attention to portions of protein and calorie-dense carbs, load up on veggie sides, and minimize deep fried and sugary additions for the most nutrition with less calories.


In this comprehensive guide, we analyzed that a typical serving of Chinese beef and broccoli over rice contains approximately 510 calories. This estimate was reached by examining the calories in a 3 ounce portion of flank steak (140 calories), 1 cup of broccoli (50 calories), 1 cup of white rice (220 calories) and 1/4 cup of brown sauce (100 calories). The actual calorie count may vary based on the specific ingredients and preparation methods. Within a balanced diet, enjoying moderate portions of beef and broccoli can provide protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. There are also many ways to tweak the dish to reduce the calorie content, such as using leaner beef, increasing the proportion of broccoli, and avoiding calorie-dense sauces and fried additions. When ordering beef and broccoli at a Chinese restaurant, be mindful of portions, choose vegetable-based sides, and minimize fried and sugary menu items for the healthiest meal.

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