The information comes at us from all angles – eat healthier! Cut back! Make changes! The process of healthy eating can be overwhelming. We all want to be healthy and lose weight. But we’re used to eating the things that have been part of our diets all our lives. This rings especially true for those of us that are vegan or vegetarian. There are already so many things we can’t eat, how are we supposed to make even more changes towards clean eating
? Fortunately, there are a number of great healthy eating alternatives in the Middle East, especially in the UAE and Saudi that can easily act as substitutes for the unhealthy foods in our daily routines. The kicker? They’re actually quite delicious. From fruit salads to whole wheat, let’s take a look at healthy alternatives to your favourite foods that leave you guilt free and healthy!
Scenario 1: Convenient junk foods
Junk food rose to popularity mostly out of convenience. When we’re in a hurry, we don’t always have time to prep and cook healthy meals every day! Among the most common junk foods are:
French fries, hash browns, and other dishes featuring fried potatoes are among the most popular junk foods in the world. Part of the appeal is that they are great for to-go meals and as a quick side. Plus, fried potatoes are delicious! But they are loaded with fat and unhealthy carbs without adding much of anything in the way of protein and nutrients. Instead, go with:
- Power Bites: Healthy eating doesn’t have to sacrifice flavour. With delicious nuts, raisins, oats, and even chocolate chunks, Power Bites are baked into convenient little bars that travel anywhere with you.
- Sweet Potato Fries: offer more nutrients and less empty carbohydrates than traditional French fries, without losing that crunchy, snack-y satisfaction.
As one of the most popular foods worldwide, fried chicken ticks all the boxes when it comes to appeal. Delicious, good with just about any type of sauce, quick and portable. But chicken fingers are full of fat and are highly processed. Certainly not a healthy food and a terrible thing to get into the habit of eating. How about trying:
- Falafel: Satisfy your craving for deep fried goodness while keeping it vegetarian and packed full of plant-based protein. Falafel is among the most popular proteins throughout the Middle East and Gulf. For good reason – it’s versatile and can serve as the star in dishes such as a falafel sandwich, or complement other items on a hummus plate.
- Chicken skewers satisfy the chicken craving without all that breading or oil. Circle Café serves a delicious recipe with a healthy salad and saffron rice.
Fried Chinese food:
Here’s an idea – let’s order Chinese takeout tonight! Except for the fact that dishes like Sweet and Sour Chicken and Sesame Shrimp are packed full of calories (not to mention the white rice served on the side). A great option instead:
- Salmon Teriyaki: Grilled fish packs a lean power punch of proteins and vitamins, including Omega-3s. As healthy eating gains popularity in restaurants around the world, grilled fish with a light sauce and side of rice and one of a number of healthy salads is looked to as a nutritious and delicious crowd pleaser.
Scenario 2: Junk foods that make you feel full
Sometimes, that hunger bug bites right in the middle of the workday, or while taking the kids on errands. All you want is to fill those bellies quickly and get on with your day, right? Why not just grab a quick burger from the drive-thru? It’s still important to remember to eat healthy even when a full meal isn’t on the table.
Most fast food restaurants use high-fat beef and fried bacon, along with cheap, processed cheese. Not a healthy eating combination! There are much better ways to go, including:
- Lamb Burgers: Lamb meat is leaner and grilled to keep in the flavours and nutrients. Using onion jam instead of mayonnaise or aioli keeps the fat content even lower!
- Steak Salad: Among the best salads in Dubai, the Steak Salad at Circle Café satisfies your beef craving without all of the unhealthy additions. Fresh veggies go a long way in healthy eating, and you don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to enjoy them.
Everyone knows that too much soda is a bad thing. After all, it’s just empty calories and corn syrup. A better way to go?
- Fruit juices: Still sweet, but much more natural, fruit juices such as orange, watermelon, or pineapple give you the nutrients of fresh fruit salads without the bad stuff.
Scenario 3: For the sweet tooth
When the dessert menu is passed around, the temptation to indulge immediately takes hold. Fight back – don’t give in!
There are a number of options out there that are both sweet and delicious with no need to put down that giant slice of ice cream cake.
- Carrot cake: Carrot cake is sweet and doesn’t have the layer of ice cream in the middle. With pineapple and walnut also included, you’re even putting down some essential nutrients.
- Milkshakes: How about a glass full of fat and calories? That’s what you’re getting with a milkshake. Often added to a meal to make you feel more full at the end, what you’re really doing is adding to the waist line. Instead, go with a:
- Banana Oat Fuel smoothie: A bit of sweet, a lot of clean eating. Substitute that milkshake for a fruit salad smoothie or another delicious concoction to lower the calorie content and boost that nutrition up a notch (sacrificing flavour not required!)
Make clean eating a habit
There’s something that junk food purveyors don’t want you to know. Healthy eating is actually more satisfying than eating poorly. Once you’ve developed a taste for clean eating and found some great recipes and restaurants, the cravings shift from deep fried to deep nutrients! Circle Café is here to help make that transition easier, and keep you on a permanent track of healthy eating
We offer both dine-in and healthy food delivery in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Saudi Arabia. Click here to order food online