Unlike many ethnic cuisines, it's pretty easy to eat a healthy meal at a Greek restaurant. Greek cuisine features abundant fresh vegetables and simple, grilled meats, all cornerstones of a heart-healthy, Mediterranean-style diet. That doesn't mean you don't have to be a little vigilant, however. Rich sauces and sweet desserts can sabotage your diet efforts if you're not careful. Below are some delicious and healthy choices available on most Greek menus.
- Appetizers. Skip the fried foods, such as calamari, in favor of things like "tzatziki" (a yogurt, cucumber, garlic dip or salad) or "dolmates" (grape leaves stuffed with rice.) "Avgolemeno" (egg and lemon soup) is another healthy, traditional Greek starter as is hummus, made with protein-rich chickpeas.
- Salads. The traditional Greek salad, filled with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and black olives is a delicious way to get your daily allotment of vegetables. Ask for light feta cheese (as feta is high in sodium) and for the oil and vinegar dressing to be served on the side, so you can control the amount of oil you consume.
- Entrees. Greek menus are loaded with healthy entree options, such as grilled lemon chicken, shish kebobs (sans sauce, of course), broiled fish and seafood and roast lamb. You'll also find meat or fish braised with tomatoes, olives, onions and peppers, another healthy choice. You might also decide on a big bowl of "kakavia," the Greek fisherman's soup, loaded with fish like mullet, whitefish and snapper as well as seafood (shrimp and lobster), vegetables and herbs. Besides being tasty, this soup is an excellent sources of nutrients and antioxidants.
- Sides. Vegetables grilled or lightly sauteed in olive oil are a perfect accompaniment to your grilled entree. If the meal comes with rice, ask if you can substitute a second vegetable instead.
- Desserts. While Greek cuisine is well-known for its sweet, honey-filled pastries, these aren't the only choices for ending a Greek meal. Instead of baklava, opt for fresh fruit or a cup of Greek yogurt garnished with berries.
Going out for dinner in a restaurant doesn't have to mean abandoning your diet. When your friends suggest an evening out, suggest going to a Greek restaurant like Alfa Greco Roman Cuisine Greek restaurant. There, you'll virtually be assured of finding a wide range of healthy food options, everything from fresh Greek salads to hummus to grilled meat and seafood. It's so delicious, you're friends won't even notice your healthy choices.