Give your health kick the start it needs with these 22 health-conscious bites
AÇai Bowl at Common Grounds When a dish contains high levels of antioxidants through berries that also boost immunity and energy levels, lower cholesterol, make you look younger and taste like ice cream, you’re onto a real winner. That’s why the super-food dish is one of our breakfast favourites and also our cover star. The açai bowl at Common Grounds comes packed with banana, blueberries and acai crush, chia seeds, granola, dragon fruit, passion fruit, dried raspberries and cacao nibs. Breakfast of champions, as far as we’re concerned.
Calories: 410 Dhs52. Mall of the Emirates (04 338 9688), The Warehouse Gym JBR, The Beach, opposite JBR (050 106 9955).
Akdeniz omelette at Kaftan The humble egg is the jewel in the crown of any low-carb diet. How else would you feel full without plates of this protein-packed food item in scrambled, poached or omelette form? One of our favourite versions of the latter dish is this authentic Turkish version, served with sautéed olives, mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes and herbs, which is enjoyed best at the restaurant’s large outdoor area, peppered with art pieces depicting the Turkish kaftan gown that gives the outlet its name.
Corn & sprouted mung chaat at Bombay Bungalow Sometimes food is so beautiful you feel it would be a sin to dig your fork into it. A visit to Bombay Bungalow for a light bite is likely to produce one of those times. This magnificently colourful take on the traditional Indian dish is a gastronomical work of art, scattered with cherry tomatoes, avocado, bhel dressing and tortilla blue corn chips. Go on, dig in.
Calories: 320 Dhs35. The Beach, opposite JBR (800 692 8779).
Eggs benedict at Flow At Flow, which “creates food that fuels the future”, this modern, healthy twist on the classic, indulgent breakfast item uses a wholewheat croissant, thinly sliced turkey and a yoghurt Hollandaise, and is served with beetroot purée and asparagus. They can fuel our morning with this low-calorie treat any day.
Freekeh quinoa salad at Fumo Lounge by Rosso If you’ve never tried freekeh, this zesty, light dish is a good way to introduce yourself to the green wheat, which is mixed with quinoa, tomato, parsley and capsicum with orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil and cumin to form an extremely low-calorie, but satisfying lunch bowl.
Fried sardines at Ibn AlBahr Not the most attractive-sounding dish, admittedly, but ask any real fish fan and they’ll tell you that fried sardines are delicious. This fish, which you might have heard friends from the UK refer to as pilchards, is rich in a number of nutrients that support a healthy heart, are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower cholesterol, and are an excellent source of vitamin B12. So a win-win! Here, these freshly caught fish are cooked expertly and served with lemon on the side. Simple, healthy and tasty.
Garden salad at Panini While the name doesn’t fill us with excitement, this wonderfully presented, colourful dish is much more than just lettuce and tomatoes. The salad itself is covered with summer fruits and walnuts and comes with a range of side dishes including a vegetable patty that is cooked without using any fat or oil. The healthy fats of avocado dressing absorb all the nutrients from the salad ingredients. A cheap and healthy work of art that is worth seeing… and eating. Calories: 266 Dhs45. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha (04 317 2222).
Grilled Atlantic salmon at Chival Another delish fish dish and also another winner for those trying their hardest to stick to a low-carb diet, this Chival special is served with courgette noodles, which are a fantastic accompaniment without all the sugars if you’re used to a starchy side dish – though it’s served in a delicious (but oh-so-sweet) mandarin glaze.
Grilled free-range chicken at Kenza One of the toughest things about sticking to a low-calorie diet is managing to feel full after meal times. Most hot dishes come with side salad or small portion of vegetables. No such problem here. This overnight herb-marinated free-range bit of deliciousness, seared to perfection, comes with both a baked potato and grilled vegetables. A good-sized portion and a wealth of flavours without the calories at this restaurant which, fittingly, is named after the Arabic word for treasure.
Kale salad at Eat & Meat Remember when the world went mad for kale? Well, that was for good reason. As well as providing a bucketload of vitamins and minerals, this leafy green vegetable is a powerful antioxidant, is said to have anti-cancer effects and even keeps your skin looking good. This dish provides a hearty serving of everyone’s favourite vegetable, lightly mixed with a zingy citrus dressing and tossed together with pita bread croutons, diced feta cheese, finely chopped jalapeños and juicy cherry tomatoes.
Calories: 310 Dhs60. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 501 8623).
Kingfish crudo at The Sum Of Us If you like to feast on fish and have an appetite for good coffee, The Sum Of Us is the place for you. We recommend this dish for those who want to watch their calorie intake but still demand full flavours from their food. Made with yuzu, sorrel, radish, jalapeño and avocado, this plate is a medley of strong flavours and colours.
Calories: 367 Dhs68. Burj Al Salam, 6th Street, off Sheikh Zayed Road (56 445 7526).
Lamb bajeen at Boulevard kitchen We can all agree that Lebanese food is brilliant. If there’s a cuisine that does bread or lamb better, we must have missed it. This is a snacky take on the popular Lebanese dish, made with finely minced meat topped with garlic, parsley and tomatoes. Lovely.
Calories: 285 Dhs64. Manzil Downtown, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (04 423 8899).
Mare e monti leggera pizza at PizzaExpress Diet or not, some days you just need to eat a pizza. Okay, this dish isn’t technically under 500 calories, so let’s toss away one of the mushrooms and bring it under the count. For those whose Italian is not what it once was, mare e monti means sea and mountain, which sums up quite nicely the king prawns and vegetables that appear on this delicious pizza, along with mushrooms, red onion that passata and olives with light mozzarella, all finished with a sprinkling of Cajun spice, oregano and fresh parsley. Calories: 500 Dhs56. Various locations including The Dubai Mall, www.pizzaexpress.ae.
Organic amaranth at Revo Café If breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, then it’s worth doing right. So leave the granola bar in your desk drawer, think of a good excuse to leave the office in the morning and head over to the Palm for this delicious and healthy combination of organic amaranth grains, soya milk and yoghurt served with a dash of honey and an assortment of fresh berries. Hearty and extremely satisfying.
Quinoa vegetable biryani at Biryani Pot The humble biryani is a Dubai favourite, and for good reason. Cheap and tasty, it’s the daily fare of thousands of expats across the emirate. And we at Time Out Towers are known to devour a faceful of this mixed rice dish during our lunch break, though only when our afternoon carb-coma napping won’t be spotted by those in charge. Well, this healthy take on the traditional South Asian dish comes without the heaviness of rice, which is replaced by organic grain. The traditional clay pot is there, as are the flavours, but the calorie count is slashed.
Seared tuna fregola salad at LARTE After weeks spent tucking into heavy, meaty dishes over the festive period, this gently seared tuna dish is just what our arteries ordered. Larte’s version fuses together wonderful Italian flavours with tomatoes, tuna, French beans and eggs, seasoned with balsamic vinegar. Calories: 280 Dhs55. Building 10, Dubai Design District (04 240 0441).
Seared yellow fin tuna at Seafire This steakhouse is as well known for its seafood (the clue is in the name) as it is for its delicious, perfectly cooked cuts of meat. For those wanting to cut their calorie count, this mouthwatering sesame seared tuna with coriander pesto, charred veggies and pickled ginger gel is right up there with the best.
Spinach salad at Délifrance Anyone familiar with pipe-toting cartoon character Popeye the Sailorman may have at one time or other misunderstood the nourishing properties of the octogenarian seafarer’s favourite snack. No, spinach won’t really give you superhuman strength (or a silly voice), but the leafy vegetable is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods, well-known for its nutritional qualities and capacity to increase energy and improve blood quality. This dish sees the superfood complemented by chiodini mushrooms, sun-dried and cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, pine seeds, Parmesan and balsamic dressing. No olive oil, though...
Calories: 380 Dhs46. Various locations including Ibn Battuta Mall (04 4427478).
Super caesar at Parlour Boutique We all have a friend who talks about nothing but their failed weight loss attempts. And how does it make you feel when that friend promises they’ll order a salad for lunch, only to begin their order with “I’ll have the Caesar with chicken…”? Us too, especially as the Caesar salad in some restaurants can verge comfortably into the 600-calorie zone – more than two double cheeseburgers from your friendly neighbourhood fast food chain. Not at this French eatery in Dubai World Trade Centre. With kale, spinach, broccoli, blueberries, fried chickpeas and shaved Grana Padano bringing the flavour, tell you friend they can order this one guilt-free.
Calories: 385 Dhs40. Parlour Boutique, One Central, Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 386 5333).
Wakamole at Waka Those clever Aztecs were onto something when they invented this delicious dip more than 100 years ago. This aesthetically pleasing interpretation of the traditional guacamole is Waka’s signature dish. Prepared with fresh avocados, tomatoes and onions, it’s served with delicate edible flowers in a gastronomic presentation.
Watermelon & feta cheese salad at Le Patio Some people might say that pineapple on a pizza is just wrong. Not us – we love a combination of salty and sweet flavours. But you don’t need to commit to a 1,000-calorie bread-and-cheese banquet to achieve this flavour combo. Instead, try Le Patio’s wholesome and nutritious salad that effectively combines juicy sweet watermelon and salty feta cheese. Served with a hummus quinoa, topped with pomegranate beads, roasted pine nuts and green asparagus, it’s another dish that is so pretty, you may feel bad about busting into it.
Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño at Nobu Nobu’s chefs are masters of Asian seafood dishes. And this extremely low-cal light bite is a testament to that mastery. Made from paper-thin slices of yellowtail amberjack, brushed with garlic purée, set in yuzu soy sauce and topped with a thin slice of fresh jalapeño and cilantro leaves, it’s a wonderfully simple dish that will leave plenty of room for one of the restaurant’s equally well-prepared desserts, should you so wish.