If you’re trying to reduce your sodium consumption, you might worry that your favorite Asian dishes from Panda Express are too high in sodium to fit into your diet.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Panda Express has a dozen different entrees that have less than 650mg of sodium.
The best low sodium meals at Panda Express are:
- Sweet & Sour Chicken Breast (260mg)
- SweetFire Chicken Breast (320mg)
- Honey Walnut Shrimp (440mg)
- Golden Treasure Shrimp (440mg)
- Eggplant Tofu (520mg)
- Broccoli Beef (520mg)
- Grilled Teriyaki Chicken (530mg)
- Grilled Asian Chicken (530mg)
- String Bean Chicken Breast (590mg)
- Teriyaki Chicken (630mg)
- Asian Chicken (630mg)
- Firecracker Shrimp (630mg)
If you want to reduce your sodium consumption while eating at Panda Express, it’s important to know what menu items to order, and what side dishes are lowest in sodium.
This article will teach you:
- Whether Panda Express menu items are high in sodium
- What is considered a low sodium option at Panda Express
- How to customize your order to reduce the sodium content
- Which menu items at Panda Express are lowest in sodium
- Which menu items at Panda Express are highest in sodium
Is Panda Express High In Sodium?
Panda Express does have more options on its menu that are high in sodium than those that are low in sodium. Therefore, it is fair to say that Panda Express is high in sodium in general. But Panda Express does have more entrees that are lower in sodium than other popular chains, like Chick-fil-A or KFC.
However, there are many options on the menu at Panda Express that are lower in sodium, so there are still options for people who are looking to limit their sodium consumption.
The menu items that are highest in sodium are those that have more than 1000mg of sodium on their own.
It’s important to keep in mind that many people will order one or more side dishes along with their entree at Panda Express, and the total sodium content could exceed the recommended daily total. It’s important to choose low-sodium side dishes too (discussed below).
What Is Considered Low Sodium At Panda Express?
The menu items at Panda Express that are considered low sodium are those that have less than 650mg of sodium per serving.
The guideline for 650mg of sodium at Panda Express is more than our general guideline of 500mg of sodium. Panda Express has only four entrees with less than 500mg of sodium, and I wanted to show other options that are still lower in sodium, to provide additional choices for people who do not need to follow a very low-sodium diet.
According to the American Heart Association, the general guideline for sodium intake for a healthy adult is 2,300mg. For people who need to lower their sodium consumption even further to manage health conditions such as high blood pressure, the guideline is 1200-1500mg of sodium per day.
Based on three meals per day with roughly the same sodium intake at each meal, this would mean 400-766mg of sodium per meal (depending on 1200-2300mg of sodium). The meals presented in this article cover this range.
I also wanted to highlight the fact that there are all full meals, and not just side dishes that are low in sodium.
If you know that you are planning a meal at Panda Express, you could choose to make the other meals in your day lower in sodium to be sure that you don’t exceed your daily recommended target.
Tips On Reducing Sodium At Panda Express
To reduce your sodium intake at Panda Express you can:
- Skip the sauce or choose a lower sodium sauce
- Select a smaller size
- Steam the rice
Skip The Sauce
All of the sauces at Panda Express contain sodium, so it is best to either skip the sauce entirely, or choose plum sauce, which has only 55mg of sodium per serving. Teriyaki Sauce has 380mg, which is more than some entrees.
Here is a quick comparison of the sauces at Panda Express for your reference:
|Sweet & Sour Sauce||115mg|
Select A Smaller Size
To lower the sodium content when ordering at Panda Express you can downsize your order so that you’re getting a smaller portion size for the high sodium foods.
All of the menu items at Panda Express are also available on the Panda Kids menu, just in a smaller size. This allows you to save calories, money, and sodium.
For example, the regular size Orange Chicken has 820mg of sodium, which makes it too high for our list of low sodium meals, but the Panda Kids size Orange Chicken has 620mg of sodium.
Steam the Rice
Plain steamed rice at Panda Express has no sodium at all for white rice, and only 15mg for brown rice. This is a significant savings in sodium compared to fried rice, which has 850mg of sodium.
If you are ordering a starchy side dish for your meal, stick to steamed rice to keep the sodium content low.
Panda Express Low Sodium Meals: 12 Options
1. Sweet & Sour Chicken Breast (260mg)
The lowest sodium entree at Panda Express is the Sweet & Sour Chicken Breast, which has only 260mg of sodium per 5.5oz serving.
Served on a bed of plain white or brown steamed rice, the Sweet & Sour Chicken Breast is a great low sodium lunch or dinner from Panda Express. Adding a side of Super Greens adds another 130mg of sodium. The total of 390mg is still a low sodium meal.
2. SweetFire Chicken Breast (320mg)
Another very low sodium item from Panda Express is the SweetFire Chicken Breast entree, which has only 320mg of sodium on its own.
Similar to the Sweet & Sour Chicken Breast, this could be served with steamed rice. Even adding the side dish of Super Greens, the entire meal would still be less than 500mg of sodium.
3. Honey Walnut Shrimp (440mg)
There are two shrimp dishes at Panda Express with a moderate amount of sodium. The Honey Walnut Shrimp has only 440mg of sodium. Getting the shrimp along with steamed rice creates another meal that has less than 500mg of sodium.
4. Golden Treasure Shrimp (440mg)
The Golden Treasure Shrimp at Panda Express is the second shrimp dish with only 440mg of sodium. Serving this meal on steamed brown rice adds only 15mg of sodium for a total of 455mg.
5. Eggplant Tofu (520mg)
I love that Panda Express has so many different choices for protein in its meals, including the plant-based Eggplant Tofu. And, it turns out that this meal has a reasonable sodium content, too, with 520mg. This means that vegetarians, vegans, and other plant-based eaters can meet their low-sodium goals, too.
6. Broccoli Beef (520mg)
I have provided low-sodium meals featuring chicken, shrimp, and tofu, and now there is a beef option with Panda Express’s Broccoli Beef with 520mg.
It’s great that Panda Express meals often feature vegetables as part of the entree, such as the broccoli in this dish. This means that it is not necessary to add a vegetable side like a salad to create a balanced meal, the way it would be at other chains.
Serving Broccoli Beef with steamed rice keeps the overall sodium content low.
7. Grilled Teriyaki Chicken (530mg)
The Grilled Teriyaki Chicken at Panda Express is part of its WokSmart program, a line of entrees that are 300 calories or less and provide at least 8g of protein. The Grilled Chicken Teriyaki is an excellent source of protein with 36g per serving and it is also heart smart because of its lower sodium content. That are two reasons to feel good about choosing this meal.
8. Grilled Asian Chicken (530mg)
Just like the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, the Grilled Asian Chicken at Panda Express is another selection from its WokSmart line and it also has 36g of protein but only 530mg of sodium.
I’d order this along with plain steamed white rice for a meal that gives me a 2:1 carb to protein ratio to support my athletic performance and keeps my sodium intake low.
9. String Bean Chicken Breast (590mg)
Similar to the Broccoli Beef, the String Bean Chicken Breast at Panda Express includes a full serving of vegetables, so you can get a balanced meal with less than 600mg of sodium even when you add steamed white rice.
10. Teriyaki Chicken (630mg)
Compared to the WokSmart Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, the regular Teriyaki Chicken at Panda Express does have more calories (+40 calories), but most of them come from even more protein (+5g of protein), and there is an additional 100mg of sodium per serving, for a total of 630mg.
If you really need to keep your sodium intake low, it is better to order the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken instead, and you can get another 5g of protein by adding a side of steamed rice.
11. Asian Chicken (630mg)
Just like the Teriyaki Chicken, the Grilled version of Panda Express’s Asian Chicken has 100mg less sodium. But, the regular Asian Chicken is still lower in sodium than many other entrees.
12. Firecracker Shrimp (630mg)
The last entree at Panda Express that has less than 650mg of sodium is the Firecracker Shrimp with 630mg. Just like the other entrees, I’d get this served with plain steamed rice to create a nutritious and filling meal that has a reasonable sodium content.
I’m really pleased that I was able to provide you with 12 full meal choices, and not just side dish items with low sodium content.
Meals To Avoid
There is only one meal at Panda Express with more than 1500mg of sodium:
- Steamed Ginger Fish (1990mg)
For people looking to reduce their total daily sodium intake to less than 1500mg, it is also important to avoid meals/menu items with more than 1000mg of sodium:
- Chow Fun (1110mg)
- Black Pepper Chicken (1130mg)
- Hot & Sour Soup (large size – 1260mg)
Frequently Asked Questions
What Panda Express Item Has The Least Amount of Sodium?
The Panda Express menu item with the least amount of sodium is an order of plain White Steamed Rice, which has 0mg of sodium.
How Much Sodium Is In Panda Express Orange Chicken?
One serving of Panda Express Orange Chicken has 820mg of sodium.
How Much Sodium Is In Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp?
One serving of Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp has 440mg of sodium.
How Much Sodium Is In Panda Express Broccoli Beef?
One serving of Panda Express Broccoli Beef has 520mg of sodium.
How Much Sodium Is In Panda Express Teriyaki Chicken?
One serving of Panda Express Teriyaki Chicken has 630mg of sodium. One serving of Panda Express Grilled Teriyaki Chicken has 530mg of sodium.
How Much Sodium Is In Panda Express Fried Rice?
One serving of Panda Express Fried Rice has 850mg of sodium.
How Much Sodium Is In Panda Express Chow Mein?
One serving of Panda Express Chow Mein has 860mg of sodium.
More Low Sodium Fast Food Options
- Low Sodium Subway
- Low Sodium Panera
- Low Sodium Wendy’s
- Low Sodium McDonald’s
- Low Sodium Burger King
- Low Sodium Chipotle
- Low Sodium Taco Bell
- Low Sodium At Dairy Queen
- Low Sodium At Jack In The Box
- Low Sodium At Chick-Fil-A
- Best Low-Sodium Starbucks
- Low Sodium At The Cheesecake Factory
About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.