5 Delicious (and HEALTHY) Places to Eat Out in Dubai

So Derek made a really great comment on my last post about Jared and how he was able to lose an astonishing amount of weight by eating fast food – in this case Subway sandwiches – every day. The key to Jared’s success didn’t simply lie in the fact that he chose subway over any other fast food, but also in what went on and in his sub!

That being said, you can totally eat subway every day and gain weight if you make the wrong choices as well. My point is, while it is possible to eat healthy even when you’re eating out, for most of us, when it comes to managing our weight (and our health through nutrition), eating out can be a mine field! So I thought I’d share five places here in the city that not only tantalize the tastebuds but also do good for the body! I’m not listing them in any sort of ranking because I think all of them are great depending on what you’re in the mood for :)

1. Category: Ethnic Cuisine – Zaatar W Zeit

Hey as Dubains we all want to have great Middle Eastern fair, but most places serving up local food in the city don’t really think about it from a health angle. However, I have noticed recently that a few of the chain restaurants like Just Falafel, which now offers a baked option with whole wheat Saj bread, are starting to come around.  Still the options are far and few between. That’s exactly why when it comes to healthy Middle Eastern fair, Zaatar W Zeit, tops my list! Their menu is littered with ways to make your favorite choices just a bit healthier. But more importantly, those choices do not sacrifice anything when it comes to taste – in fact in my opinion they enhance it. In fact they  are one of the very few (the only one I know of in fact) places in town that actually gives you the option to get  multi-cereal versions of your favorites like manakeesh, along with baked falafel and quinoa tabbouleh. Did I mention that all of it is DELICIOUS?! The one draw back is that they still don’t have a nutrition breakdown for their food. Hope that’s coming soon :)

2. Category: Chain Coffee Shop – Costa

As a Canadian, I LOVE my Tim Hortons, but I must say that Costa out shines all others when it comes to great sandwiches, salads and light lunches that are both healthy and yummy. The best part is that most of their fair has nutrition info right on the package so you can take a look at ingredients and calories while your waiting in line. In fact there are several choices that fall into the 300-400 kcal range and are made from wholesome ingredients, take for example their Free-Range Egg Mayo Sandwich or Tuna Melt both on multigrain breads and under 400 kcal. But they also have excellent TREAT day desserts too!

3. Category: Independently Owned Coffee Shop – Urban Bistro

Well this is a little gem I stumbled upon very recently, located in Media City this place serves free-range farm fresh eggs, gluten-free options and a lot of organic, local fair and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either! Not to mention that the decor and overall feel of the place is SOOO inviting you never want to leave! Warning though – their portion sizes are overly large so if you want to stay within healthy portions, plan to share your meal with a friend.

4. Category: Pizza – N_K_D Pizza

If you haven’t tried this pizza yet, you are seriously missing out! While from a calorie perspective, both Pizza Hut and N_K_D come out to about the same (a 63g large slice of pepperoni pizza is 303 kcal at N_K_D vs Pizza Hut’s 75g slice which is 370 kcal) they are hardly the same when you compare them from a nutrition perspective. That’s because N_K_D prides itself on having a whole grain bread that is finished off with organic/local toppings. I’ll tell you after eating a slice of this pizza, I didn’t have the usual symptoms associated with that heavy doughy feeling in my stomach that I usually get from enjoying fast food pizza. Overall though, unless you like the thinner crust, this should still be a treat meal unless you can manage to stop at 1-2 slices, which is kind of hard to do when it tastes so great :)!

5.Category: Burgers – Shake Shack

Have you noticed that new HEALTHier burger joints are cropping up around the city? Just in the last month I’ve been to Elevation Burger, Burger Fuel and Shake Shack. But in the health department, New York Fries extension – South Street Burger Co. comes out on top with their small burger on a whole wheat bun weighing in at only 289 kcal. Compare that to Shake Shack’s single cheese burger which has 470 kcal and there really isn’t much in terms of competition. But if I’m being honest with my taste buds – I would have to go with the Shack. Everything they serve, including their concretes are simply delicious. Considering they take a lot of care in selecting their ingredients, I’m not too worried about the negative effects that this burger will have on my overall health either. If you want to stick within a healthy calorie range you may be able to get away with a single burger with a bottle of water. That or make it one of your treat meals – it definitely is one of mine!

Yay – it’s finally happening, Dubai is slowly getting onto the healthy restaurant food wagon! It is truly nice to see that what we, as consumers, are asking for is getting converted into better meal choices available to us when we eat out. Let’s face it, in this fast paced world that we live in, this trend is not likely to change much. So it’s great to know that restaurants are willing to cater to us by providing the healthy foods we want to see more of.

As a closing, I want to talk about Jared, and the picture I put of him on this blog post. I’m not posting a picture of an article looking at his recent weight gain just to be mean, but more because it really is about  our overall choices in the long run and how they impact our health. Jared didn’t simply lose weight because he switched to Subway, but more because he changed how he was choosing to eat. I’m glad to see that he’s recognized that he’s slipped into poor eating habits and recommitted to his health. That being said, keep in mind that  enjoying delicious food and eating healthy don’t have to be concepts that cannot co-exist. It all comes down to finding that healthy balance!

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About Moi :)

I am a well-seasoned (pun intended) Registered Dietitian with over 10 years of experience in the field and a love for all things YUMMY - I want to share what I've learned about EATING and staying SKINNY with you through this blog. I'd also love to hear from you so leave me a comment and I'll get back to you!

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