Healthier choices to ensure you don’t have to sacrifice eating your favourite cuisine.
Avoid anything with ‘alfredo’ in the name to save yourself from the huge amount of fat stashed away in this creamy concoction. Opt for marinara sauces instead, which are virtually fat-free (unless the chef is heavy-handed with the olive oil) and a good source of vitamins A and C thanks to the heavy tomato content. If you’re desperate for pizza, always opt for thin crust with a wholewheat base and choosing a vegetarian topping rather than meaty will save you a few hundred extra calories.
The good keywords here are steamed and wok-fried, and the ones you want to avoid are crispy (which usually indicates deep-fried) and sweet and sour (a double blow of sugar and salt). Stick to stir-fried veggies where possible, and opt to go without sauce – fresh garlic, chilli and a splash of soy will lend plenty of flavour without the sugar, sodium and fat. Likewise swap your usual order of fried rice for steamed.
For your starter, skip the loaded nachos in favour of guacamole prepared fresh at your table, and opt for fajitas (hold the grated cheese and sour cream, but pile in as many veggies as you like) instead of deep-fried, bean and rice-stuffed chimichangas.
Sushi has earned itself a reputation as a healthy option, but seemingly innocuous rolls can hide a fair number of calories, courtesy of the rice and the vinegar-salt-sugar solution that helps it all stay stuck together. Your best bet is to up the protein and ditch the carbs with fresh sashimi and steamed edamame, and avoid anything with the word ‘crunchy’ (code for
deep-fried) in it like the plague.
Like your meat? Swap that rich, creamy butter chicken for a grilled kebab and save your body from a big dose of fat and sodium. If you must have bread, go for a wholewheat tandoori roti rather than
a ghee-soaked, fried paratha.
A number of outlets – including Elevation Burger on Sheikh Zayed Road (04 440 9300) – now offer a low-carbohydrate version of this American classic, with a meat patty served between chunks of lettuce instead of sugary white bread. Swap fries for a baked potato or side salad if possible, and don’t fool yourself into thinking sweet potato fries are good for you. They’re higher in fibre than regular spuds, but deep-frying adds a huge amount of saturated fat