When it comes to healthy eating, we’ve been raised to believe that vegetables, particularly the green, leafy kind, are king.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans and snow peas tend to be hot ticket items in the pursuit of a balanced diet, and rightfully so. They’re high in iron, vitamin C, magnesium and more.
But there’s a new item that’s been making its way into influencer and dietitians’ shopping carts, heralded as a must-buy if you’re trying to lose weight: dumplings.
When the team first saw dumplings popping up on TikTok, we took little notice, assuming it was another diet fad worth minimal attention.
That is, until dietitian, Susie Burrell, shared her list of the healthiest foods to buy at the supermarket, and a packet of Mr Chen’s Pork & Chive Dumplings made the list.
“It took me a while to be swayed by the dumpling movement, but now they are my favorite go-to quick and easy meal served with Asian greens and edamame,” she wrote. “This is my favorite brand as it is one of the few supermarket brands that does not contain added MSG.”
But we had a couple of questions. How, when dumplings are stuffed with meat and minimal vegetables, and are made from a pastry wrapper which is usually fried to serve, could they possibly be deemed healthy?
We thought it was time to do some digging.
One of the early dumpling adopters was @therealfreezma, an Australian diet and training coach on TikTok. Back in August, he shared a video recommending his girlfriend’s favorite healthy snack that you can buy in Woolworths – Yum Cha Japanese pork gyoza.
Made from pork (44%), cabbage, wheat flour (15%), chives (10%), water, sugar, salt, soy sauce, and flavor enhancer (621), gyozas are actually considered a complete meal, ticking off the five major nutrient categories: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
The entire 10-pack of dumplings clocks in at only 320 calories, which is low for a main meal – though you could pack it out with some steamed greens or gyozas if you need a little more. You’ll also hit 2.8 grams of protein per serve, or 28g per pack, which is great if you struggle to pack enough sodium into your diet.
It is worth noting that these packet dumplings do contain a lot of salt. If you eat a whole packet of 10, that makes up your entire recommended sodium intake for the day at just over 2,000 micrograms. So if you are going to add these into your diet, be prepared to up your water intake to help flush the sodium.
Another consideration is that while the dumplings may be pretty healthy on their own – especially ones made from pork, chives or cabbage – how you cook them makes a big difference to the overall caloric intake.
If, like most people, you like to fry your gyozas in a pool of vegetable oil, obviously the number of calories per serve is going to rise.
Two solutions: either steam the gyozas and eat them like that. Or, if you’re a fry-only kinda girl, then we like online health coach Matt West’s suggestion of tossing them in the airfryer. By using hot air to cook off the dumplings, you get that sought-after crunch without the oily pay-off, keeping the calorie intake low.
So it turns out store-bought gyozas are actually as healthy as everyone says. The only downside of this craze is that they keep selling out.