Dining Out: Greek & Middle Eastern Cuisines
-- By SparkPeople
There’s more to Greek food than gyros, baklava and Greek salads. Many dishes include low-fat dips, but many desserts and pastries are loaded with fat. Overall, this is generally a healthy way to eat; even the higher calorie items are usually not that high compared to other cuisines.
Olives and olive oils are a signature. Legumes (especially chickpeas), eggplant, okra, garlic, lamb, beef, and yogurt are very popular. Feta cheese is also a staple, especially in salads. Fresh meats, grains and vegetables dominate the menu.
- Take small portions of yogurt dressing, unless it’s low-fat.
- Feta cheese can be high in sodium.
- Falafel (vegetable patty made of fava beans and chickpeas) is a deep-fried favorite that is surprisingly full of fat.
- Hummus can be high in fat, depending on how it’s made. A quarter cup serving can pack 420 calories and 12 grams of fat, but it is also a good source of vegetarian protein.
- Watch for pan-fried dishes.
- High-fat salad ingredients include anchovies, kalamata olives and feta cheese.
- Spanakopita (spinach pie) may be small, but it has 290 calories and 21g fat
Although these dishes are be high in fat, it’s the good kind, but you still need to watch your portions:
- Baba ghanoush (dip made with eggplant and olive oil)
- Tahini (ground sesame paste) is almost all fat
- Saganaki (thick kasseri cheese fried and flamed in brandy)
- Any pastry made with phyllo dough, which contains a lot of butter and oil
- Bechamel (rich white sauce)
- Baklava: 400 calories and 21g fat
- Moussaka: 350 calories and 22g fat
- To boost fiber, look for dishes and soups with fava beans and other legumes.
- One skewer of Kafta has only 85 calories and 5g fat.
- Chicken or veggie shish kabobs
- Greek Salad
- Tabouli (bulgur mixed with tomatoes, parsley, mint, olive oil and lemon juice) has just 170 calories per 4-ounce serving
- Dolmas (stuffed vegetables, such as peppers, cabbage leaves, eggplant or squash)
- Couscous (steamed wheat cereal)
- Pilafs (rice dishes)
- Midya Dolma (rice-stuffed mussels)
- Yalanji Yaprak (rice-stuffed grape leaves)
- Lah Me June (Armenian pizza)
- Bulgur (cracked wheat)
- Plaki (fish broiled with tomato sauce and garlic)
- Pita Bread, especially whole wheat pitas
- Tzatziki (creamy yogurt and cucumber dressing/dip)
The Big Tip:
Any menu item that contains the word “lathera” means that it is cooked in lots of olive oil.
|Try This||Skip That|
|Tzatziki||Olive oil for dipping|
|Appetizers stuff with rice||Appetizers stuffed with meat|
|Roast lamb shish kabob||Moussaka (lamb/beef casserole)|
|Chicken pita sandwich||Gyro|
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