7 Healthy Arabic Foods That Come From The Middle East
The Middle East is home to some of the most nutritious and delicious foods in the world. Unlike Western eating habits, the Arabs are more concentrated on healthy Arabic food recipes, containing more vegetables and meats, while skipping unnecessary fats and calories.
The rich culture and traditions of Arabia are adequately highlighted in their cuisine. They are known to have more protein-rich and calorie-controlled foods than other places in the world. Stews, curries, and excess use of beans in the diet are a few things that keep the overall health of Arabic people in check.
Is Middle Eastern Food Healthy?
Middle Eastern food is known to be healthy because it is mostly reliant on traditional preparatory methods, like fire ovens, grills, earthen pots, etc. In addition, the frequent use of vegetables, grains, beans, and lean proteins in their recipes is what makes them so delicious without raising the overall calorie count of the food.
Not only does Middle Eastern cooking incorporate healthier food components, but it also contains light and hearty spices. The calculated use of aromatic and flavor-rich spices in their cuisine adds some piquancy to the food without being overpowering.
Spices like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin, when used in suitable quantities, aid the body’s metabolic process. Some of them also help cure problems like inflammation and constipation. These points assert the point of view that you can control your weight while enjoying nutritious Emirati food.
Irresistibly Yummy & Healthy Arabic Food Recipes That Won’t Sabotage Your Diet
It’s never a bad time to switch to a healthier diet. With Middle Eastern foods, you do not have to worry about compromising on flavor just because you’re trying to control your calories.
In this blog, we’ve put together a list of healthy Arabic food recipes to help you eat clean without having to miss out on good food.
Hummus is a versatile food, found and consumed all across the Gulf region. This bean-based dip is ideal for snacking. You can have it as a dressing for your favorite bowl of salad or use it as a dip to go with plain crunchy vegetables. It also works to elevate the flavor of wheat-based crackers.
Hummus is made of chickpeas, which means that it is rich in fiber and will keep you full for a long time. It eliminates post-meal cravings, helping you push away your unexpected frequent desires. A study claims that incorporating hummus in an American diet replaced high-fat and sugar-based foods, improving the overall diet pattern of the tested individuals.
Restaurants serve it with a drizzle of olive oil and flatbread. The irresistibly creamy texture and taste of hummus is something nobody should miss out on. It is also available in different flavors, like olives, avocado, pumpkin, smoky sweet potato, etc. Add this vegan Middle Eastern food to your diet to extract numerous health benefits.
A staple in Lebanese cuisine, labneh is a soft cream made of cow’s milk. It is a yogurt cheese integration, made with thick and heavy Greek yogurt, that is both yummy and healthy. This light and airy cream cheese is a great alternative to sour cream or cheese spreads.
Labneh is also a probiotic, which means that it supports gut health. It delivers several nutrients to the body, including proteins and healthy fats. In fact, a study confirmed its positive effect on the “good” bowel bacteria, i.e., Escheria coli, while verifying its rich nutritional profile.
Have it with some pita bread, or ask your server for labneh balls that come with oil and herbs. This healthy food is ideal for those who look out for their weight and exercise daily to burn excess fats. It has a rather sweet and neutral flavor, unlike standard cream cheeses.
3. Baked Falafel:
Falafel is one of the most popular and nutritious Emirati foods. It is more commonly considered a street food locally and is served either with pita bread or salad. These fluffy chickpea fritters are filled with proteins and fibers. They also deliver some of the most essential nutrients, like iron, calcium, and Vitamin B.
Although most commonly available in the deep-fried version, you can find them in the healthier, baked version as well. In fact, an air-fried falafel is an even healthier alternative to the standard deep-fried version. A recent study concluded that a falafel made in an air frier loses 455 of its total fat content.
The nutritionally rich food is quite filling too, meaning you will not feel hungry soon after eating it. It’s a great option for your diet if your diet is not excessively exclusive.
4. Fattoush Salad:
Fattoush salad is originally from Lebanon but is also quite frequently consumed in the Emirates as well. It is a yummy Arabic salad, featuring fruity, citrusy, and herbal notes. The fresh bowl contains tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, onions, and capsicum. A drizzle of pomegranate molasses adds a bit of sweetness to the mix.
But what gives this salad a distinct identity? The crunchy toasted bread pieces are on top. Make it a regular item on your diet plan to enjoy crispy goodness, all the while keeping all your food-related guilts aside.
5. Kebab With Rice:
The frequent use of lean meat in Middle Eastern cooking makes it one of the most protein-rich cuisines. Lamb, beef, and chicken are all popular barbeque items. To prepare Emirati kebab, the minced meat is marinated in spices, and grilled over a charcoal fire.
Not only are these kebabs tender and extremely delicious, but they are also low on calories. You can have them with a small side serving of fragrant Afghani rice, or plain brown rice. Some also like to have their kebabs with freshly baked flatbread. However, if you’re overly concerned about your diet, you can have your Arabic barbeque kebabs with a side of vegetables.
6. Fish or Shrimp Stew:
Arabic cuisine is popular for its flavourful stews and curries. Fish meat has an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. In traditional preparation, fish or shrimp is cooked in tomato sauce and Gulf spices. It is served in the form of a curry with rice or flatbread.
The main component of this dish is kingfish or shrimp, which are both rich in vitamin D, riboflavin, zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium. All these nutrients in seafood reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of diabetes.
The American Heart Association suggests adding fish-based foods to a healthy diet at least twice a week. This means that the comforting Middle Eastern fish stew should be a regular occurrence on your food table. Have it with a side of rice or flatbread to make it a complete meal.
Saloona is a home-cooked stew that is made with either meat or vegetables. The runny curry-like food is one of the staples of Middle Eastern cuisine and is available at almost every traditional restaurant.
The rich and succulent flavors of the saloon not only offer a pleasant palatable sensation, but also ample nutrition. And the best part is, you get to decide if you want it vegetarian or meat-based. In the former case, you will obtain essential minerals and vitamins from this dish, whereas in the latter, essential proteins. Seasoned with classic Arabic spices, the curry offers a balanced taste with a bowl of rice or a flatbread.
Is Middle Eastern Food Good For Weight Loss?
Middle Eastern recipes can help lose weight if you know how to eat deliberately. Most of the traditional recipes contain calculated amounts of carbs, proteins, fiber, healthy fats, and vitamins. This means that you will be getting ample nutrition without overly stuffing on high starch or calorie-containing foods.
Arabic diet food features recipes like hummus, salads, and tender barbecued meat. It offers healthier alternatives to snacking, by incorporating bean-based dips, healthy grain bread, and vegetable stews into the diet. If you are looking out for your weight, but also want to have delicious food, switching to Middle Eastern cooking may be a great decision.
There are numerous healthier options in Middle Eastern cooking. Switching to organic eating habits is not too difficult if you know what you want to eliminate and add to your diet. There are several healthy Arabic food recipes you can incorporate into your daily diet in order to maintain a healthy eating pattern.
You may have to make some tweaks in the recipes, as some of these foods are deep-fried, or may contain high-fat content. We suggest staying consistent with your healthy eating habits, all the while enjoying your favorite foods!