Eating Out Greek Style

Sure, you love to eat out, or even order in for dinner. But you want to eat healthy AND flavorful foods and doesn’t everybody already know to stay away from fried rice, eggrolls and double cheese-stuffed pizza? What about healthful fare that is less common but just as tasty, such as Greek cuisine? Can it be healthy too? If you like to dine out but are looking for healthier options…read on. Opa!

Let’s take a fresh look at Greek cuisine. As is true of all Mediterranean cuisine, Greek cuisine offers lots of fish and vegetables. In addition, beans are a major source of protein for the people of the region. They take in “good fat” with all those wonderful olives (monounsaturated or heart healthy) but just because it’s better for you DOES NOT MEAN it is LOW CALORIE. A fat gram contains 9 calories, any way you look at it, so be moderate. Many restaurants will prepare fish specials “simply grilled with olive oil and lemon.” Avoid fried, creamy offerings smothered with cheese.

Healthy appetizers: Greek Garden salad (small), roasted tomato soup, Greek seafood pilaf, octopus salad, beets with garlic sauce, and steamed wild greens

Healthy entrees: penne pasta with eggplant and tomato (or other pastas with a seafood – marinara sauce), grilled fish, chickpea rice, beets with garlic sauce, vegetable dolmades (tender grape leaves filled with rice, tomato and herbs), grilled baby octopus, baked gigantes (giant beans, tomato, onion, fennel and dill, Greek fava (mashed yellow split peas topped with chopped arugula, spring onion and capers), Malitzanosalata (roasted eggplant salad with garlic and lemon), beets with Skordalia (red beets, marinated giant beans with garlic sauce) or Black-eyed peas with capers (a delicious vegetarian dish, like many other recipes with beans, lentils and legumes).

Desserts: Luckily, fruit is the most common way to end a delicious Greek meal, so you may have the choice of sharing a fresh/dried fruit platter (think figs, grapes, apples)…Firkia Glyko is a good choice as it is small, whole sweet apples prepared in a light syrup seasoned with cinnamon and cloves; Karpouzosoupa is a refreshing watermelon soup made with sweet wine, mint and honey; and Akhlathia me Sokolata is simply whole poached pears served with a dark chocolate sauce. In addition, remember that quinces are in-season in late autumn. It is a cross between an apple and a pear and while raw quince is astringent, when cooked with sugar, (or spoon sweet – like preserves) the flavor is delightful.

Article Source by Michele Turcotte

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