Don't have a Big Fat Greek dinner

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Monday, 16 March 2009.
Tagged: eating out, guides, healthy eating, take-away

Don't have a Big Fat Greek dinner

Greek cooking is tangy and flavoursome, robust peasant food at its best. If you choose carefully, it can also be a healthy meal out that's kind to your heart and your waistline. Check out what's good and what's not from my pointers.

For starters

A good starter is a plate of mixed appetisers - dolmades, plump Kalamata olives, barbecued prawns or octopus, crisp radishes, wedges of cucumber and tomato, with a dip of taramosalata (smoked cod roe puree), tzatziki (herbed yoghurt) or eggplant puree.

Cheese and spinach filo triangles are often on the menu but they are usually loaded with fat and not a good choice.

For your main course, order grilled fish or souvlaki which is usually made from lamb or sometimes goat. Because lean lamb is selected (usually from a leg of lamb), Greek meat dishes are quite low in fat and kilojoules.

Ask for a mixed dish of vegetables to accompany your meat or fish. The Greeks love vegetables and make great use of wild-growing green vegetables (which we would dismiss as 'weeds'), as well as tomatoes, vine leaves, cucumber, lemons, green beans and all sorts of legumes.

Like Italian food, traditional Greek food is low in cholesterol and saturated fats. It's based around olive oil, one of the healthiest oils, and offers plenty of heart-protective garlic and seafood.

Just steer clear of heavy cheese-topped dishes like moussaka or pastitsio and the occasional fried dish such as fried calamari. Try to order a Greek salad with your meal but have only a few cubes of the salty fetta.

At the end

And say No to those deadly Greek pastries dripping with honey syrup such as Kataifi, baklava, loukoumades and Galactoburek (custard filled pastry). They are delectable but very rich! Ditto for the cresent-shaped almond shortbreads that melt in your mouth with Greek coffee.

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby has the answers! She is an accredited nutritionist, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Nutrition for Life 2020 Edition is a fresh new update on all the things you've read about or heard in the last year. Think insects, collagen, vegan eating, Keto dieting, vitamin B12, fast food and cafe culture.  It has plenty of colour pictures and is easy to dip in and out of. Grab your copy NOW!