Are Korean Dumplings Healthy? (Is Mandu Healthy?)

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Korean dumplings (Mandu) are very delicious and come in many different forms and sizes with different cooking methods and styles. They are packed with different types of vegetables and often some pork or beef. Although Korean Dumplings or Mandu is delicious, is it healthy?

Korean Dumplings or Mandu consist of calories that come mostly from carbs and fat. It lacks in protein which makes it hard to balance in a healthy diet. However, Mandu can be managed into a healthy diet as long as calories are controlled and macronutrients are properly balanced.

Here are three key points that will help you lose weight when eating Korean Dumplings.

  1. What Goes In Korean Dumplings? 

  2. How Many Calories Are In a Single Dumpling? .

  3. Avoid Frying The Dumpling & Enjoy It Steamed Or Boiled

Now that we know the three steps to eating Korean Dumplings while staying lean, let’s take a deeper look and see what we can find.



How To Lose Weight By Eating Korean Dumplings 

Weight loss is the concept of understanding how many calories you need to consume on a daily basis in order to lose fat and stay healthy. So, “how many calories do you need to eat in a day to lose fat?” There’s a basic formula you can use which would be to multiply your bodyweight by 12 and to see if that amount allows you to drop 1 or 2 pounds within a week. If you drop weight by a pound, assuming you are working out and staying consistent with workouts, then the formula will allow you to lose fat. However, if you haven’t lost any weight using the formula, feel free to drop the calories bit by bit until the weight starts to change. 

Korean Dumplings are a food that is actually not bad to eat when dieting as its calories are low for every single dumpling you eat. However, it is relatively easy to overeat the delicious dumplings which is where the real battle comes in. Overeating is the cause of fat gain and so many different health issues: not necessarily the types of food that you eat. I’m not saying that  you can eat hamburgers and hot dogs but just less of them, I’m simply saying that there is a time and place to treat yourself and a time and place to add whole foods filled with vitamins and minerals.  

So, let’s get into the three tips that will help you eat your favorite Korean meal or snack while still being healthy and losing fat. 



Tip 1: What Goes In Korean Dumplings? 

There is a huge variety of korean dumplings and each dumpling can span to very different types of ingredients such as kimchi, chives, garlic, and leeks. If it is a Kimchi dumpling, its main ingredient consists of kimchi and pork and veggies along with fillers such as vermicelli. If it is a shrimp Dumpling, then the dumpling usually consists of shrimp and veggies along with noodles or rice. In this article we will be referring to the most popular and traditional form of Korean dumpling which is called “mandu”. 

Mandu is a Korean dumpling that contains pork, chives, vermicelli, and garlic. Unlike the other dumplings, traditional pork dumplings contain the main ingredients listed above along with freshly squeezed tofu, bean sprouts, zucchini, and egg. When looking at the ingredients in dumplings, pork and beef are the main  proteins that you can find. Unfortunately these proteins contain a lot of fat compared to what you can find in other proteins such as chicken or fish. 

What about the dumpling wrapper? Well, if it’s handmade then you can see that most recipes simply use boiling water, flour and a little bit of sugar. If the dumpling wrappers are store bought, however, they usually come with cornstarch as a binding agent to aid with keeping the dumpling more pliable. Whether it’s store bought or homemade, nothing in these ingredient lists are considered to be unhealthy. They just contain a lot of carbs per meal. 

Tip 2. How To Lose Weight By Eating Korean Dumplings

How about calories? 1 ounce of a traditional Korean dumpling has 58 calories with 3g of protein, 7g of carbs and 1g of fat. Not bad, right? Here are the nutrition facts listed below. 

 
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Based on your daily calories permitted, decide how many dumplings you need to eat for a meal in order to still stay on track. One dumpling has 58 calories, if you want to eat 7 dumplings, for example, you eat around 406 calories which is not bad at all. However, consider that many of those calories are coming from carbs and fats so make sure to eat them in moderation. 


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Another factor that helps you lose weight while still eating delicious meals is exercise and movement. Building muscle is key in any weight loss journey as muscle increases calories burnt at rest. Instead of relying on cardio to help you lose weight, rely on building muscle as your metabolism increases very quickly as long as you stay consistent with your workouts. Losing weight and losing fat are two different concepts. Losing weight means that you can lose weight in your muscles and fat. However, losing fat means that your muscle is retaining its shape while the only part of your body that drops in weight is your fat. This is why working out is so crucial when eating less as your body will drop weight in your muscles if you do not exercise on a consistent basis. If you want an example workout that is simple to follow then take a look at this article here. 

Cardio, however, is not useless and is actually a pretty awesome tool that you can use to lose weight even faster. There is a concept in the fitness industry that is named calories in vs. calories out. This concept simply states that losing weight or fat can only occur when the calories consumed is less than the calories expended on a daily basis. This concept helps you become aware of your body's caloric needs by asking, “are you eating less calories than the amount you burned?” Cardio, in this situation, helps you burn more calories on the days that you decide to go on a brisk walk or run. Relying on cardio, however, is not a great option as you can easily gain weight when the cardio stops. Muscle, however, stays for a very long time and can help burn calories when you are not doing anything at all. Basically your metabolism increases as you build more muscle.  

If you eat more calories than the amount burned then you will gain weight. If you are eating the same amount of calories your body burns then you are simply going to stay the same. If, however, you are eating less calories than your body burns, then you will lose weight, assuming you workout regularly. So make sure you understand how many calories your body needs to lose weight and meet those calories everyday. It’s really all a numbers game and making sure to hit your numbers is making sure that you are fit and healthy.  


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Tip 3: Avoid Frying The Dumpling & Enjoy It Steamed Or Boiled

The best way to enjoy this dumpling, if you are making an effort to be healthy and slim, is to avoid frying the dumplings as this can add a ton of calories that come from fats. 

Most of the frozen dumplings you can find in a local korean market are products that are mass-produced in factories which means that the quality of the dumpling and ingredients they use are poor. If you want to buy more delicious dumplings, you can choose a dumpling made in a local restaurant or a local catering company that supplies to a local market. Or you can have a fun project at home and make the dumplings from scratch! The price is a bit more expensive than factory made dumplings but  it uses quality ingredients and is made and sold locally. Eating 5 or more  makes a perfect meal that is satisfying and satiating. These dumplings have their own separate freezer and will be labeled with the address they came from along with information on when they were made. Just go to your local Korean market and you can easily find them. If you can’t find one of these fresher made products, then you can ask the market employee if there are any local dumplings made and they will most likely have it in stock.

You can steam or boil the dumplings but It is easier to boil dumplings as you need a steamer to cook them. Just fill up a pot of water and place the dumplings in the water when they start to boil. Let them boil for 5 to 7 minutes and, in no time whatsoever,  you can enjoy healthy, delicious dumplings that are locally made and freshly produced. 

If you’re Korean, however, you know that you can’t just eat these dumplings on their own. You need a soy based sauce to compliment the meal as the flavor can get a bit repetitive. It is very easy to make this sauce. You start by putting half a teaspoon of vinegar in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. From there you add 1 tablespoon of water and, if you like spicy foods, you can add a little bit of chilli powder to get a savory and spicy dipping sauce.

There it is. Three tips on how you can eat your favorite Korean dumplings without sacrificing your shape! 


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PHILLIP PAK

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Phillip Pak is a fitness expert who has been training clients for 5 years. Throughout his fitness journey, Phill has done it all when it comes to diet and nutrition. He is now the owner of Aspire Fitness Walnut where his main goal is to help those who are seeking to find the best version of themselves. He’s been through the struggle of obtaining an good physique and knows how to share it with others.