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Eating Out on a Diet


Restaurant Advice: Middle Eastern
Hummus, made from pureed chickpeas and a splash of tahini, is a mild, flavorful dip that is a good choice when dining out on a diet.
Hummus, made from pureed chickpeas and a splash of tahini, is a mild, flavorful dip that is a good choice when dining out on a diet.

Middle Eastern restaurants are a good place to find a variety of grain-, vegetable-, and bean-based dishes with a healthy dose of garlic. Pita breads, which are common and a healthy choice, are used for dipping savory delights.

Best bets:

  • Hummus (spicy garbanzo bean dip).
  • Baba Ghanoush (spicy eggplant dip).
  • Tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber dip).
  • Lentil soup.
  • Plaki (baked fish with tomato).
  • Souvlaki (marinated, grilled meat with veggies in pita bread).
  • Gyro (lean, seared beef with veggies in pita bread) with sauces served on the side.
  • Dolmades (seasoned rice-stuffed grape leaves).
  • Tabouli (seasoned wheat-grain dish with cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs).
  • Couscous (steamed wheat grain).
  • Olive oil and feta cheese used lightly -- ask your server to have your food prepared with only a small amount of these.
  • Rice pudding.

Waistline expander:

  • Falafel (deep-fried garbanzo bean balls).
  • Tahini (ground sesame seeds).
  • Black olives.
  • Loukanika (sausage).
  • Ground beef and lamb.
  • Dishes with phyllo dough, such as spanakopita.
  • Bechamel (rich white sauce) used in dishes such as moussaka.
  • Heavy use of olive oil (lathera) and feta cheese. Don't order items in which these are a main ingredient. For instance, a feta cheese spread will be higher in fat than a spread made of feta, vegetables, and herbs.
  • Baklava (phyllo dough dessert).

In the next section, we will offer tips for eating at two of the biggest restaurant offenders: the all-you-can-eat buffet and fast-food joints.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

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