How many calories are in Chinese shrimp and broccoli in brown sauce?

Chinese food is a popular takeout option for many people. However, as with any food, it’s important to pay attention to nutrition information like calories when making choices. One common Chinese dish is shrimp and broccoli in brown sauce. Knowing how many calories this dish contains can help guide your decisions when ordering.

Calories in Shrimp

Shrimp is a type of shellfish that is low in calories and fat but high in protein. The number of calories in shrimp depends on the size. Here are some estimates for common shrimp sizes:

Shrimp Size Calories per 3 oz
Small 84
Medium 112
Large 140
Jumbo 168

A typical shrimp and broccoli dish at a Chinese restaurant may contain around 4-6 oz of shrimp. Going with 5 oz of medium shrimp, that would equate to around 185 calories just for the shrimp.

Calories in Broccoli

Broccoli is a nutritious low-calorie vegetable. One cup of raw broccoli florets contains:

  • 31 calories
  • 6 grams carbohydrates
  • 2 grams protein
  • 0 grams fat

When broccoli is cooked, the number of calories remains roughly the same. Some sources estimate around 25-30 calories per cooked cup of broccoli.

A typical shrimp and broccoli dish may contain 1-2 cups of broccoli. Using 1.5 cups cooked broccoli at 30 calories per cup, that’s an estimated 45 calories for the broccoli.

Calories in Brown Sauce

The brown sauce served with shrimp and broccoli can vary significantly between restaurants. Many restaurants make their own unique sauces. Here are some estimates based on typical brown sauce ingredients:

  • Soy sauce: Around 10 calories per tablespoon
  • Beef or chicken broth: 10-20 calories per 2 oz serving
  • Cornstarch: Around 60 calories per tablespoon once thickened into a sauce
  • Vegetable oil: 120 calories per tablespoon
  • Sugar: 45 calories per tablespoon

Putting this together, a 3 oz (6 tablespoon) brown sauce may contain around 300-400 calories depending on the specific ingredients and amounts used.

Total Calories

Adding up the estimates for each component:

  • Shrimp: 185 calories
  • Broccoli: 45 calories
  • Sauce: 300-400 calories

The total calories for a typical Chinese shrimp and broccoli dish with brown sauce would be around 530-630 calories for the entire dish.

This number can vary based on the serving size, specific ingredients, and restaurant preparation methods. Larger shrimp or more sauce can increase calories, while smaller shrimp or larger broccoli portions may lower it. But the 530-630 range gives a reasonable general estimate.

Ways to Reduce Calories

Here are some tips for lowering the calories if ordering shrimp and broccoli in brown sauce:

  • Request small or medium shrimp rather than large or jumbo
  • Ask for extra broccoli and less sauce
  • Request the sauce on the side and use sparingly
  • Substitute lower calorie vegetables like green beans, bok choy or celery
  • Request the sauce be made with low sodium broth instead of oil
  • Order steamed instead of fried rice
  • Avoid adding high calorie fried items like egg rolls or wontons

Making some of these swaps can save you 100 calories or more per serving. Small changes add up over time in your overall diet.

Nutrition Tips for Ordering Takeout

Here are some general tips to eat healthier when ordering takeout like Chinese food:

  1. Look up nutrition info online before ordering from a restaurant
  2. Opt for steamed, grilled, roasted and broiled entrées instead of fried
  3. Load up on non-starchy veggies like broccoli, peppers, bok choy
  4. Choose dishes with sauces, dressings and condiments on the side
  5. Split or share dishes to control portions
  6. Limit high calorie fried starters like egg rolls, wontons and potstickers
  7. Pair your entrée with a side salad instead of rice or noodles
  8. Ask if they can modify a dish to make it healthier

Chinese restaurants often accommodate requests to adjust dishes, so don’t be afraid to ask! You can enjoy the foods you love while still keeping nutrition top of mind.

Healthy Ways to Cook Shrimp and Broccoli at Home

Preparing shrimp and broccoli yourself at home is an even healthier option. Here are some nutritious recipes to try:

Baked Shrimp and Broccoli


  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Toss shrimp and broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast 8-10 minutes until shrimp is pink.
  4. Squeeze lemon juice over top and serve.

Sautéed Shrimp and Broccoli


  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic, minced
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook shrimp 2-3 minutes until pink.
  3. Push shrimp to the side. Add broccoli and garlic to empty part of pan.
  4. Pour in a splash of broth and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes.
  5. Cook until broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. Combine everything and cook 1 minute more. Serve and enjoy!

Sheet Pan Shrimp and Broccoli


  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss shrimp and broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings on a sheet pan.
  3. Roast 8-10 minutes until shrimp is pink and broccoli starts to char.
  4. Serve with lemon wedges or drizzle with lemon juice.

Cooking shrimp and broccoli at home allows you to control ingredients and portions. Bake, sauté or roast plain or season as desired with healthy herbs, spices and flavors.


Shrimp and broccoli in brown sauce is a delicious Chinese takeout option. A typical dish contains an estimated 530-630 calories for 4-6 oz shrimp with 1-2 cups broccoli and about 3 oz brown sauce. There are several ways to reduce calories, such as choosing smaller shrimp, loading up on extra broccoli, and having sauce served on the side. Preparing this meal yourself at home using healthy cooking methods is an even better way to control nutrition and customize flavors. With some small tweaks, you can feel good about enjoying this tasty combo of shrimp and broccoli!

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