Greek food is also known as healthy diet food. However, when eating out at a Greek restaurant, you may have a hard time finding a meal that works well with your diet. Many Greek restaurants saturate foods in butter and cook with high-fat red meats. Items on the menu that seem healthy are actually loaded with hidden saturated and trans fats. Before you dig into a plate of spinakopita, try one of these healthy food choices from a Greek restaurant.
Souvlaki are kebobs made of chicken, lamb or pork. They offer a lo- fat option for your diet and are loaded with healthy vegetables. Chicken souvlaki generally has only 260 calories and 8 grams of fat. Your lamb or pork options only have 310 calories with 11 grams of fat. Make sure when ordering souvlaki, you ask what side dishes come with the kebobs. Avoid large servings of rice or pita bread. Opt for steamed veggies or a side salad with no cheese or dressing.
Salads are not always the best option on the menu, especially when they’re loaded down with dressing a cheese. If you order a Greek salad, ask for no feta and no dressing. Feta cheese on the salad can add close to half of your daily recommendation of saturated fats. For extra flavor, ask for a side of tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is Greek yogurt flavored with cucumber and garlic. Add grilled chicken to boost your protein intake.
Hummus is a chickpea-based dip made with tahini (seasme seed oil), garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and other spices. Many restaurants offer hummus in a variety of flavors including roasted red pepper, spinach and artichoke, and roasted garlic. Chickpeas are rich in protein and have a glycemic index of 12, meaning it will satiate your appetite without loading you down with extra calories. When ordering hummus, ask for plenty of fresh vegetables for dipping. Typically hummus is served with warm pita bread, cucumbers and tomatoes.
This traditional Greek fisherman’s soup is typically made with the catch of the day, or whatever is seasonal, like snapper, mullet, or whitefish. Chefs may also add in shell fish like lobsters and shrimp for added flavor. Loaded with heart-healthy vegetables and herbs, a bowl of this soup provides an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants.
A dip of ground eggplant, garlic, and olive oil, melit janosalata provides a great source of heart-healthy ingredients without a ton of calories. Ask for extra veggies on the side for dipping so you don’t fill up on pita bread.
Since Greek food is steeped in Mediterranean tradition, many Greek restaurant menus offer a variety of seafood meals. Look for a dish that is grilled, pan seared or broiled, not fried, and offers a side of fresh vegetables or salad. Ask for no sauces on your seafood because it will load your dish down with unwanted calories. Avoid eating large portions of rice with your fish, as it adds up to 200 extra calories to your meal.