A Mediterranean diet is often touted as one of the healthiest in the world. Loaded with fresh seafood and lean proteins, vegetables, quality olive oil, healthy nuts, whole grains and legumes. There’s no doubt that they’re onto something with that mix! However, that doesn’t automatically mean a Mediterranean-style menu is without its treats and not-so-healthy fare. Find out what to order (and what to skip) next time you dine out at your favourite Greek restaurant below.
What to order
- Salad, salad, salad! A fresh salad as a starter or side usually comes with a vinegar and some quality oil aiding digestion and absorption of the nutrients in your dishes. Just stick to three to four small cubes of feta. It’s usually kept in oil and will pump up the sodium and fat content quite quickly.
- Fish and veggie loaded broth-based soups are great. You can’t go wrong with water, veggies and lean protein for a filling addition to your meal.
- Grilled whole fish, calamari, prawns and chicken are your leanest sources of protein.
- Kopanisti (stuffed zucchini), koftas, souvlaki, seafood saganaki, stuffed capsicum and cabbage rolls contain a lighter balance of protein, carbs and some veggies. Just go easy on the rice or potato sides, keep your serve to a fist full.
What to avoid
- Skip the pita! One pita bread is typically the equivalent of two slices of regular bread. Add on the hummus, tzatziki, and other dips and spreads, and you might as well skip the rest of your meal!
- Keep the halloumi to only a couple of small pieces. A 30g serve can contain around 870mg of sodium! While enjoying quality sea salt is totally fine, having such a high amount of sodium can leave you dehydrated and bloated.
- Go easy on the mezes. The calories from dips, rice parcels, oily vegetables, and cheeses add up quickly. If you struggle with your portions, it’s best to jump straight to mains.
- Anything deep fried means trans-fats and minimal nutrients. Just leave them alone!
- Heavier meat and chicken dishes, including moussaka. They contain a whole lot of oil and cheesy sauce, which you may love, but it won’t love you back.
- Bougatsa, a semolina custard filled filo cake, is a total calorie bomb!