How many calories is a large order of shrimp lo mein?

Shrimp lo mein is a popular Chinese noodle dish that typically consists of wheat noodles, shrimp, vegetables like cabbage, carrots, beansprouts, and scallions, and a savory sauce. It can be a tasty and satisfying meal, but many people wonder just how many calories are in a large takeout order of shrimp lo mein.

What is in shrimp lo mein?

The main ingredients in shrimp lo mein are:

  • Wheat noodles: The base of the dish is made from wheat flour noodles. The amount can vary depending on the restaurant.
  • Shrimp: Shrimp are the primary protein. A large order may have 7-12 or more medium sized shrimp.
  • Vegetables: Common veggies include cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots, celery, bell peppers, mushrooms, baby corn, snow peas, broccoli, and scallions.
  • Sauce: The sauce is made with broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, cornstarch, and other seasonings.
  • Oil: The noodles and veggies are stir-fried in oil, often vegetable, peanut, or sesame oil.

The sauce ingredients, vegetables, and amount of protein can vary significantly between restaurants. The quantity of noodles is one of the main differences between a small, medium, large, and extra large order.

Calories in the main ingredients

Here is a breakdown of the approximate calories per serving for the main ingredients in shrimp lo mein:

Ingredient Calories
Wheat noodles, 1 cup cooked 220
Shrimp, 4 oz (7-12 medium) 120
Broccoli, 1 cup chopped 30
Carrots, 1/2 cup sliced 25
Cabbage, 1 cup shredded 20
Bean sprouts, 1 cup 10
Green onions, 1/4 cup sliced 5
Soy sauce, 1 Tbsp 10
Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp 20
Sesame oil, 1 tsp 40
Vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp 120

As you can see, the wheat noodles and shrimp provide the bulk of calories in shrimp lo mein. The vegetables are low in calories, while sauces and oils add flavor and fat.

Average calories in restaurant shrimp lo mein

The amount of calories in shrimp lo mein can vary greatly depending on the restaurant. Here are some estimates for a large takeout order:

  • 1.5-2 cups cooked wheat noodles: 330-440 calories
  • 4-6 oz shrimp: 120-180 calories
  • 1.5-2 cups mixed vegetables: 60-75 calories
  • 2-3 Tbsp sauce: 60-90 calories
  • 1-2 Tbsp cooking oil: 120-240 calories

Adding this up, a large takeout order of shrimp lo mein may contain approximately:

690 to 1025 calories

Some factors that increase the calories include:

– Large portions of noodles
– Extra protein like shrimp or chicken
– Additions like cashews, water chestnuts or eggs
– Fried noodles rather than steamed
– Heavy handed use of oil during cooking
– Sugar and fat laden sauces

Some tips for lightening up shrimp lo mein include:

– Ask for steamed instead of fried noodles
– Choose mixed veggies over noodles
– Get sauce on the side and use sparingly
– Opt for vegetable or shrimp only instead of combo
– Request less oil and MSG

How to estimate calories in your order

It’s tricky to determine the exact calories in a restaurant meal, since recipes vary. But here are some tips to estimate calories in your order of shrimp lo mein:

  • Check the menu for nutrition information. Larger chains may provide calorie counts.
  • Look up the nutrition for a similar dish from another restaurant to get an approximate range.
  • Visualize the serving sizes of noodles, protein and veggies to estimate amounts.
  • Factor in extras like cashews, eggs, fried onions or heavy sauce.
  • Assume 1-2 Tbsp of oil was used in cooking.
  • Consider that steamed dishes tend to be lower calorie than fried.
  • Estimate 20% higher calories than you think if it’s from a restaurant known for large portions.

Keeping the estimates above in mind, you could add 20-30% calories to account for your specific order. So a very large order from a restaurant that piles on noodles, extras and heavy sauce could be estimated around 1,200-1,300 calories or more.

How to burn off the calories

Shrimp lo mein and other noodle dishes taste great but can pack a lot of calories, mostly from refined carbohydrates and oils. Here is how long it would take to burn off the calories with exercise:

  • 700 calories = 90 minutes of walking
  • 900 calories = 60 minutes of jogging
  • 1100 calories = 75 minutes of swimming laps
  • 1300 calories = 120 minutes of bicycling

As you can see, just a single large takeout order of shrimp lo mein may require over an hour of exercise to burn off the calories!

Some healthier options include:

  • Split a large order into 2-3 meals.
  • Order a small size with extra veggies.
  • Substitute brown rice noodles or zucchini noodles.
  • Pair it with salad or steamed veggies instead of fried rice.
  • Drink water instead of soda.
  • Walk for 10-15 minutes after eating.


In conclusion, a large takeout order of shrimp lo mein can range from around 690 to over 1,000 calories, depending on the restaurant’s recipes and serving sizes. The noodles, shrimp, cooking oils and sauces are the highest calorie contributors. To lighten it up, opt for steamed noodles, load up on veggies, and go easy on the sauce. Splitting a large order into multiple meals is also a good strategy. While shrimp lo mein tastes amazing, overdoing this high calorie dish can sabotage weight loss goals. Being mindful of portions and pairing it with activity is key to enjoying this menu favorite while sticking to a healthy diet.

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