Eating Out on a Diet - Greek Food
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Grease really can be the word for some Greek meals, which are often swimming in olive oil.
While olive oil is a great source of heart-friendly monounsaturated fats, generous glugs are not so good if you’re worried about gaining weight.
Better still, many dishes include delicious vitamin-packed Mediterranean vegetables such as tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and olives, which when served with bread and grilled meat make a healthy meal.
Greek dips make a tasty light lunch or starter when served with raw vegetables and pitta bread but many are loaded with oil.
Made from plain yoghurt and cucumber, tzatziki contains around 20 calories per tbsp and is the best choice.
Hummus is made from fibre-rich chick peas, but it also has loads of olive oil added, with the result that each tbsp provides around 40 calories.
Finally, with a calorie content of 60 per tbsp, you’re best off giving taramasalata a miss altogether.
This traditional Greek starter includes a selection of hot and cold appetisers, which are piled in the middle of the table so everyone can help themselves.
This means you can have as much or as little as you want.
Stick to grilled veg, tzatziki with pitta bread and olives if you don’t want to pile on the pounds.
Greek salad is on most menus and is a good choice: feta cheese is a useful source of calcium but is lower in fat and calories than most hard English cheeses and the tomatoes are packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene and the antioxidant lycopene that may help to lower the risk of cancer.
A typical serving without dressing contains 280 calories – but add an extra 70 calories for 1tbsp dressing and 100 calories for 1tbsp of olive oil!
This traditional Greek dish is high in calories and fat as the aubergines are fried in oil and the lamb mince can be really fatty. Add the rich, cheesy sauce and you’re looking at 700 calories in a portion.
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