10 Pei Wei Healthy Options for Athletes
It can be helpful for athletes to have an idea of healthy items to order at their favorite restaurants. Pei Wei is a popular Asian food restaurant that athletes commonly enjoy for a quick meal.
Let’s look at some general tips for making nutritious choices at Asian food restaurants. Then we will explore healthy options for athletes on the Pei Wei menu.
Healthy Choices for Athletes at Asian Food Restaurants
Athletes looking for healthy options at an Asian food restaurant should select a meal that provides a good source of carbohydrates, lean protein, and a variety of vegetables.
Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy needed to perform at its best. Protein is important for supporting athletes with building and maintaining lean muscle mass.
Limit Fried Foods at Asian Food Restaurants
When looking to make healthy choices at Asian food restaurants, athletes should limit their selection of fried entrees and side items.
Entrees such as lemon chicken, sesame chicken, and orange chicken are typically breaded and fried. Thus, they are less healthy choices than entrees such as chicken with vegetables or beef and broccoli.
In addition, athletes should choose brown rice or steamed white rice over fried rice when possible. Edamame, spring rolls (wrapped in rice paper), and steamed dumplings are healthier appetizer options than fried wontons or egg rolls.
Pei Wei Healthy Options
Now that you have some general ideas for making healthy choices at Asian food restaurants, let’s look at 10 healthy options for athletes to order at Pei Wei.
All the nutrition information included in this article comes from the Pei Wei® Asian Kitchen® website. Menu options and nutrition information may change as products are updated. For the most current nutrition information, refer to the Pei Wei website.
A Note on Sodium
It is important to note that many of the Pei Wei menu items discussed below are high in sodium. In general, consuming sodium in the diet can help athletes with replacing the sodium lost in sweat.
However, athletes who have been advised to restrict sodium in their diet should work with a sports dietitian nutritionist to develop an individualized plan for meeting their sports nutrition needs.
Pei Wei Healthy Appetizer Options
Pei Wei offers a variety of healthy appetizer options that athletes can enjoy with their meal.
The edamame at Pei Wei is a healthy, protein-rich appetizer option that athletes can start their meal with. Edamame is a type of green soybean that is served in the pod. At Pei Wei, the edamame is steamed and served with kosher salt.
Edamame contains protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Soybeans provide a complete source of protein. A complete protein contains all 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce.
For athletes following a vegetarian diet, the edamame can be a great way to boost the protein content of their meal.
An order of Pei Wei edamame provides:
- 23 grams of protein
- 20 grams of carbohydrates
#2 Thai Wonton Soup
The Thai wonton soup is another healthy option for athletes to enjoy as part of their meal. The soup includes steamed chicken dumplings served in a chicken lemongrass broth.
Following a workout or competition, soup can be a good option for helping athletes with replacing the fluid and sodium lost in sweat.
The Thai wonton soup at Pei Wei provides:
- 5 grams of protein
- 29 grams of carbohydrates
Pei Wei Healthy Salad Option
#3 Asian Chopped Chicken Salad
The Asian chopped chicken salad at Pei Wei is a protein-rich salad choice for athletes. The salad includes mixed greens topped with chicken, carrots, red bell peppers, cilantro, scallions and crispy wontons.
Athletes should order the sesame ginger vinaigrette dressing on the side so they can control the amount added to their salad.
The Asian chopped chicken salad provides:
- 32 grams of protein
- 34 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of fiber
Pei Wei Healthy Entrée Options
There are a variety of healthy entrée options available at Pei Wei that athletes can select from. As a side with the entrée, I would encourage athletes to order brown rice.
The brown rice is higher in fiber than the white rice (6 grams vs. 2 grams). It also provides 7 grams of protein and 73 grams of carbohydrates, making it a nutritious addition to an athlete’s meal.
#4 Grilled Bourbon Chicken
The grilled bourbon chicken is a healthy, high-protein entrée option at Pei Wei. The entrée includes grilled chicken mixed in a sweet and savory bourbon sauce.
The grilled bourbon chicken provides:
- 50 grams of protein
- 90 grams of carbohydrates
Since the meal does not contain vegetables, consider ordering a side of edamame or Mongolian green beans with the meal.
#5 Mongolian Steak or Mongolian Chicken
Next on the list is the Mongolian chicken and Mongolian steak entrees at Pei Wei. The entrees include either wok-seared steak or steamed white meat chicken tossed with garlic, scallions, mushrooms, and soy sauce.
The Mongolian steak entrée provides:
- 42 grams of protein
- 45 grams of carbohydrates
The Mongolian chicken entrée provides:
- 36 grams of protein
- 43 grams of carbohydrates
#8 Beef & Broccoli or Chicken & Broccoli
The beef & broccoli or chicken & broccoli entrees at Pei Wei are both healthy options for athletes. Similar to the Mongolian entrees, the beef & broccoli is made with wok-seared steak and the chicken & broccoli includes steamed white meat chicken.
The beef & broccoli provides:
- 44 grams of protein
- 50 grams of carbohydrates
The chicken & broccoli provides:
- 38 grams of protein
- 47 grams of carbohydrates
#6 Spicy Korean BBQ Steak
For athletes who like spice, the spicy Korean BBQ steak is a good entrée option. It includes wok-seared steak, red bell peppers, onions, scallions, garlic, and a spicy gochujang sauce.
The spicy Korean BBQ steak provides:
- 42 grams of protein
- 38 grams of carbohydrates
#7 Pei Wei Original Shrimp
For athletes that desire seafood, I would suggest ordering the Pei Wei original shrimp entrée. It includes shrimp, carrots, snap peas, and scallions tossed in a sweet and spicy chili vinegar sauce.
The Pei Wei original shrimp entrée provides:
- 21 grams of protein
- 89 grams of carbs
#8 Chicken Lo Mein
The chicken lo mein is a high-carb, lean protein option that athletes can enjoy for a meal at Pei Wei. The entrée includes Asian noodles combined with steamed white meat chicken, bean sprouts, red bell peppers, shitake mushrooms, scallions, and soy sauce.
This entrée is a great option for athletes looking for a high-carb option to enjoy as a pre-game meal. It is also a good choice for athletes aiming to meet their recovery nutrition needs following a workout or competition.
The chicken lo mein provides:
- 51 grams of protein
- 128 grams of carbohydrates
- 6 grams of fiber
Pei Wei Healthy Vegetarian Options
Athletes following a plant-based diet can find several entrée options at Pei Wei that contain tofu. Tofu is made from soybeans. Thus, similar to edamame, it is a complete source of protein, providing all 9 essential amino acids.
#9 Teriyaki Tofu
Pei Wei’s teriyaki tofu contains tofu, red bell peppers, onions, and scallions tossed in a sweet soy glaze. The entrée provides:
- 6 grams of protein
- 95 grams of carbohydrates
To further boost the protein content of the meal, athletes can order edamame as an appetizer and enjoy the meal with a side of brown rice
#10 Thai Dynamite Tofu
The Thai dynamite tofu includes tofu, red bell peppers, onions, scallions, and basil prepared in a Sriracha chili soy sauce.
The entrée provides:
- 6 grams of protein
- 63 grams of carbohydrates
Similar to the teriyaki tofu, pairing the entrée with brown rice can increase the protein content of the meal.
Pei Wei Healthy Catering Options for a Team
When putting together your order, select one of the healthy entrée options listed above. With the entrée, offer brown rice or noodles for a high-carb side.
If you need a post-game meal that athletes can eat on the bus, the boxed lunches are packaged individually, thus they are a convenient option.
Pei Wei Healthy Options for Athletes
You are now set with a variety of healthy options that athletes can order at Pei Wei to support their sports nutrition needs.
For additional sports nutrition tips for dining out, check out my blog: Fast Food for Athletes: Healthy Eating Out Guide.
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About the Author
Mandy Tyler is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Mandy has experience working with athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation.