Eating at Panda Express When Bulking or Cutting (6 Meals)

Eating at Panda Express can provide a quick food option both when busy or traveling but it’s important to select your meal that aligns best with your specific goal – whether that’s bulking or cutting. 

So what should you eat at Panda Express if you workout? If you are losing weight, a plate with grilled entrees and super greens will provide a high protein and moderate to high-fat meal. If you are bulking, a plate with one grilled and one beef entree and rice will provide a high protein and carb but moderate fat meal.

In this article, I will provide:

  • 3 meal options for what to eat at Panda Express to lose weight
  • 3 meal options for what to eat at Panda Express when bulking 
  • My top 3 tips for eating at Panda Express both before and after your workout

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What To Eat at Panda Express To Lose Weight: 3 Meal Options  

Three meal options to order at Panda Express to lose weight are:

 1. 400 Calorie Panda Express Cutting Meal Plan 

400 calorie weight loss panda express meal plan
  • Order a bowl 
  • Add Grilled Teriyaki Chicken as your entree 
  • Add a side of super greens 

This meal has 384 calories, 42g protein (44%), 18g carbohydrates (19%) and 16g fat (38%).

By ordering super greens instead of rice as your side, you are saving yourself 285 calories and 77g of carbohydrates. Your body uses carbs as a quick source of energy so you are likely to find yourself hungry sooner after eating. By opting for super greens, it is an easy way to cut down on the total calories without feeling hungry. 

Grilled teriyaki chicken is high in protein and contains a serving of fat. Protein and fat both provide the feeling of being full and satisfied for longer periods after eating. When eating less calories, this is very helpful to feeling good so it’s important to include in all meals. 

If you are eating this meal before or after a workout, you can further customize it by ordering half steamed rice and half super greens. This will boost the carbs in your meal, providing you with lots of energy to get you through your workout.

2. 700 Calorie Panda Express Cutting Meal Plan

700 calorie weight loss panda express menu plan
  • Order a plate
  • Add grilled teriyaki chicken as your first entree
  • Add beef and broccoli as your second entree 
  • Add ½ super greens and ½ steamed rice as your side

This meal has 682 calories, 52g protein (30%), 69g carbohydrates (40%) and 22g fat (29%).

By ordering ½ steamed rice and ½ super greens, you are saving yourself 143 calories and 34g of carbohydrates. Since rice is high in carbs and our body uses carbs quickly as energy, you won’t find yourself full for as long after you eat. By opting for ½ and ½, you are able to save calories, without risking being hungry later.

Entrees are high in protein and fat, both of which will keep you full and satisfied longer after you eat. When losing weight and eating fewer calories, this can really help in feeling more comfortable throughout the day making it easier to stick with long term. Ordering a meal with two entrees will make sure you’re feeling full for hours after you eat.

This meal would also make for a great pre or post workout meal. If you are looking to further boost the carbs, a full serving of steamed rice can be ordered as the side. 

3. 900 Calorie Panda Express Cutting Meal Plan

900 calorie weight loss panda express meal plan
  • Order a plate
  • Add teriyaki chicken as your first entree
  • Add shanghai angus steak as your second entree 
  • Add ½ super greens and ½ steamed rice as your side

This meal has 890 calories, 67g protein (30%), 79g carbohydrates (36%) and 34g fat (34%).

By ordering ½ steamed rice and ½ super greens, you are saving yourself 143 calories and 34g of carbohydrates. Our body uses carbs quickly as energy, so you won’t find yourself as full for as long after you eat when eating a higher carb food like rice. By cutting the serving of rice, you are able to reduce calories without feeling hungry later.

Adding shanghai angus steak as the second entree provides more fat and protein to your meal. Fat and protein will keep you feeling full and satisfied for a longer period of time after eating. When losing weight, this can make the process much more comfortable, making it easier to stick to long term enough to see significant progress.

To further customize this meal for before or after a workout, opt for grilled teriyaki chicken as it has less fat than teriyaki chicken. We want to keep fats lower around a workout so we feel as energized as possible during our workout. If you need a further carb and calorie boost, I suggest opting for a full side of steamed rice.

Related Article: 12 Best Low Sodium Panda Express Meals (What To Eat)

What to Eat at Panda Express When Bulking: 3 Meal Options

Three meal options to order at Panda Express when bulking are:

1. 700 Calorie Panda Express Bulking Meal Plan

700 calorie bulking panda express meal plan
  • Order a plate
  • Add grilled teriyaki chicken as your first entree
  • Add black pepper angus steak as your second entree
  • Add ½ super greens and ½ steamed rice as your side

This meal has 710 calories, 62g protein (35%), 66g carbohydrates (37%) and 22g fat (28%).

Ordering two entrees will approximately double the protein serving. This is particularly important when bulking as protein is needed by your body in order to build muscle mass and strength. 

By selecting two entrees that are grilled and not deep fried, this keeps the fat to a moderate serving size. Fat provides a strong feeling of being full and satiated so consuming too much may make it challenging to eat the high calories needed when bulking. 

To further customize this meal for eating around a workout, I recommend ordering a full serving of steamed rice for your side. This will boost the carbs in your meal giving you the energy you need to get through a tough gym session. 

2. 900 Calorie Panda Express Bulking Meal Plan

900 calorie bulking panda express meal plan
  • Order a plate
  • Add teriyaki chicken as your first entree
  • Add shanghai angus steak as your second entree
  • Add ½ super greens and ½ steamed rice as your side

This meal has 890 calories, 67g protein (30%), 79g carbohydrates (36%) and 34g fat (34%).

By adding steamed rice to your order, you are increasing the carbs by 43g and calories by 172. Carbs are a quick energy source for your body, meaning you will not find the rice gives you the feeling of being full and satisfied for as long after eating. This is helpful when bulking to ensure you are hungry enough to eat the high calories required. 

To customize this meal for eating around a workout, I recommend ordering a full serving of steamed rice as your side. This further increases your carbs by 43g, giving you more quickly available fuel for your workout. 

3. 1100 Calorie Panda Express Bulking Meal Plan

1100 calorie bulking panda express meal plan
  • Order a plate
  • Add grilled teriyaki chicken as your first entree
  • Add grilled asian chicken as your second entree
  • Add fried rice as your side

This meal has 1114 calories, 83g protein (30%), 101g carbohydrates (36%) and 42g fat (34%).

Grilled teriyaki and grilled asian chicken are = highest protein entree options with 36g of protein each. By including both in your order, you ensure you are getting sufficient protein for your body to repair muscles post-workout leading to muscle growth and increased strength. 

If you are planning to eat this meal before or after your workout, I recommend opting for the 700 or 900 calorie meal plans. Eating a meal that is over 1000 calories prior to your workout will likely leave you feeling digestively full and potentially lethargic. 

Tips for Eating at Panda Express Before a Workout

What you eat pre-workout plays an important role in your gym performance as it provides you with the energy you will need to get through your workout. 

Should you eat at Panda Express before a workout? 

Yes, you should eat at Panda Express before a workout. A bowl with grilled chicken and a side of steamed rice is a high carb, moderate protein and low-fat meal ideal for pre-workout. Avoid fried rice, chow mein noodles and meat that is fried.

3 Tips for How to Eat at Panda Express Before a Workout

My top 3 tips for how to eat at Panda Express before a workout are: 

1. Order steamed rice as your side

The meal you eat before a workout should be high in carbs, as this will provide you with a quick fuel source that will keep you energized throughout your workout.

You want to consume at a minimum two servings of carbs, with a serving being the size of a closed fist. At Panda Express, the best option is steamed rice. Ensure you are avoiding fried rice as it has extra fat that impedes this process.

The ideal time to eat this meal is 1 – 2 hours prior to your workout.

2. Order grilled teriyaki or grilled asian chicken as your entree

Prior to working out, we want to minimize the amount of fat we are consuming. Fat slows down our digestion so we aren’t able to use all the carbs we just ate. You will find you have more moderate energy for a longer period of time, instead of the quick burst of intense energy needed for a workout. 

Grilled teriyaki and asian chicken are the leanest protein sources at Panda Express making them the best option to eat before a workout. 

3. Order a bowl with one entree

In order to build muscle, we need to consume protein throughout our day so our body has enough. This includes our pre workout meal. However, we don’t want to overdo it. Protein is slow digesting so if we consume too much we are likely to feel digestively over full and overall less energized. 

One entree that is a grilled meat is the right serving size to provide adequate protein but not enough to cause any digestive discomfort that would impact a workout. 

Tip for Eating at Panda Express After a Workout

Your post workout meal is just as important as your pre-workout meal. It starts the process of replenish your body’s stored fuel and repairing muscles. Both processes are important for strength and muscle growth. 

Should you eat at Panda Express after a workout? Yes, you should eat at Panda Express after a workout. A plate with grilled chicken and a side of steamed rice is a high carb and protein and low-fat meal ideal for post-workout. Avoid fried rice, chow mein noodles and meat that is fried.

3 Tips for How to Eat at Panda Express After a Workout

My top 3 tips for how to eat at Panda Express after a workout are:

1. Order steamed rice as your side

During your workout, your body will go through the majority of the fuel it has stored. When we replenish these stores after our workout, we are able to jump start the process of repairing our muscles. When we repeat this process of damaging and repairing our muscles, this will lead to muscular and strength growth. 

To replenish these stores, a high carb meal after your training is necessary, preferably within 1 to 1.5 hours post-workout. You should be aiming for at least two servings of carbs, with a serving measuring approximately the size of a closed fist. 

At Panda Express, the best option is to order a side of steamed rice. Ensure you avoid the fried rice as this has extra fat that impedes this process. 

Want to learn more about fats after a workout? Check out Should You Eat Fat After A Workout? (No, Here’s Why)

2. Order grilled teriyaki or grilled asian chicken as your entree 

Fat slows down our digestion process, meaning it will take longer for our body to digest and absorb the carbs and protein that we just consumed. In order to prioritize the repair of our muscles, we want those carbs and protein to be digested and absorbed as soon as possible. Reducing the fat in our post-workout meal will make sure there are no delays. 

At Panda Express, grilled teriyaki or asian chicken are the leanest protein options resulting in the lowest fat meal most ideal for post-workout. 

3. Order a plate with two entrees 

In addition to carbs, your body also needs protein post-workout. Protein is what our body will utilize to repair the damaged muscles. If we don’t have adequate protein in our system, the process of muscle breakdown will continue. 

In order to ensure that we are consuming adequate protein, a meal with two entrees is recommended.

Comparing Panda Express

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions for eating at Panda Express if you workout:

Can I Eat at Panda Express and Still Lose Weight?

Yes, you can eat at Panda Express and still lose weight. In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you are eating. Panda Express’ menu has low calories options, such as a bowl with grilled chicken and a side of super greens, that make it possible to reduce calories and lose weight. 

Can I Eat at Panda Express and Gain Muscle?

Yes you can eat at Panda Express and gain muscle. To gain muscle, you need to be eating enough protein to repair your muscles post-workout. Panda Express offers options that include two and three meat entrees. If selected a grilled meat entree, both options will provide you with a sufficient amount of protein.

What Meal at Panda Express Has the Most Protein?

The meal at Panda that has the most protein is a bigger plate with teriyaki chicken for all three entrees and chow mein as the side. This meal has 1,563 calories with 136g of protein, 122g of carbohydrates and 59g of fat.

What Meal at Panda Express Has the Most Calories?

The meal at Panda Express that has the most calories is a bigger plate with orange chicken for all three entrees and chow mein as the side. This meal has 1791 calories with 82g of protein, 233g of carbohydrates and 59g of fat.

Which Meal at Panda Express Has the Least Calories?

The meal at Panda Express that has the least calories is a bowl with string bean chicken as the entree and super greens as the side. This meal has 305 calories with 15g of protein, 23g of carbohydrates and 17g of fat.

Let’s get you in the best shape of your life. Sounds good?

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About The Author

Laura Semotiuk

Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes.