Healthy fast food in Dubai

Former Olympic weightlifter Derrick Branford explains how to navigate a food court without compromising your waistline Comments

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We all do it. We all eat fast food. Whether it’s a quick Lebanese meal or a full-on combo lard-fest, modern life is fast and our eating habits have followed suit. But is it possible to eat ‘healthy’ fast food?
Derrick Branford, a record-breaking Olympic weightlifter, is now taking it upon himself to train Dubai’s population on nutrition and healthy eating through his company, American Fitness. ‘When I was an Olympic weightlifter we would travel a lot,’ he explains. ‘It’s not like we took a packed lunch. We often had to eat on the road; we just made smart choices.’ Here are Derrick’s top picks from a typical Dubai food court.


Most Healthy
Yo Sushi

Grilled salmon bento (hold the rice)
‘Salmon is packed with Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, which are super-healthy. It’s also grilled – stay away from anything breaded and fried. The sauce has a little sugar, but it’ll be counteracted by the protein.’

Chicken yakitori bento (hold the rice)
‘It’s grilled and comes skinless with a seaweed salad, as well as fruit, both of which are healthy. The salmon is a better choice and this is a little high in sodium, but it’s OK if you’re sweating it out. With all bento boxes, hold the rice and replace it with lower-glycaemic carbs such as veggies.’

Tofu, wakame and cucumber salad
‘Tofu is a soy protein, so this is a complete, well-rounded meal because you get the combination of protein and low-glycaemic carbs. The seaweed is a superfood that’s packed with iodine, which raises your metabolism by maximising your thyroid output.’

Any sashimi dish
‘Sashimi is pure protein – this is the best option if you’re trying to lose fat. It’s high in protein and essential fatty acids: your body can use those acids in place of carbs. This is what an elite athlete would choose.’

Miso soup
‘This contains a pro-digestive enzyme that’s great for digestion. It also falls under the volumetrics plan, which runs on the premise that you eat what fills you up on the least calories – these are high-water and high-fibre foods.’

‘Anything breaded and fried, such as tempura and fried rice.’

By Nyree Barrett
Time Out Dubai,

User reviews:

Posted by: Mukhtar Jadoon on 10 Aug ' 10 at 10:38

It is really usefull.

Posted by: M on 02 Aug ' 10 at 11:10

ecxellent tips! thank you!

Posted by: Jenny on 02 Aug ' 10 at 08:24

You left - out NANDO'S - FLAMED GRILLED CHICKEN AND SALAD. Do not order the chips or coleslaw.

Posted by: Ghassan bouari on 02 Aug ' 10 at 08:01

Thanks for the info. This is at least something practical and convenient to apply as we are always on the go.

Posted by: K on 02 Aug ' 10 at 06:47

Good article, esp since we all end up visiting the food courts! Though it would have been great to know how the Arabic salads do on the scale

Posted by: Mark on 29 Jul ' 10 at 16:20

great and helpful article. thanks!

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