Eat Your Way To A More Healthy Dubai Lifestyle

The Ripe Market Dubai
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Healthy Eating in Dubai

Living the typical Dubai lifestyle of overindulgence and convenience, we’re inevitably surrounded by temptations everywhere we go.  From the overwhelming number of restaurants, food halls/trucks, cafes, deliveries the list goes on…all vying to grab your attention and tempt you in!

Inevitably we want to eat everything (and we do!) as it all looks sooo appetising and is just so damn easily accessible.

Don’t even get me started on those colossal brunch calories!

Before you know it, the pounds have crept on and your favourite jeans have become a distant memory, replaced by only the stretchiest of clothing – your trusty old leggings and extreme levels of spandex.

So, common is this story, that it’s even been coined its own nickname,‘The Dubai Stone!’

Here are 9 simple tips to help you maintain a fun, healthy and fulfilled Dubai lifestyle….

1.  Ditch The Junk Food

Dubai has so much more to offer outside of those nasty fast food chains!

You don’t need to banish takeaways entirely… try choosing a meal that avoids any processed rubbish and instead opts for a freshly made healthier version.

When I’m hungry at the office and short on time, I use thesaladjar.me as their yummy salads are extremely tasty and super filling.

Simply download the app, select your salad jar before 11 am and bingo healthy tasty lunches to your door.

I’m also an avid user of deliveroo.ae as they offer some of my favourite low-calorie dishes from restaurants around Dubai conveniently delivered to me in a matter of minutes.

2. Read the Labels Ladies!

When grocery shopping, a simple rule to remember is the healthiest products don’t have labels!  Yes, girls this means fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts and plenty of it!

Imagine yourself sitting down to a nice big bowl of crushed up tablets for dinner… Sounds disgusting right? Essentially that is what you are putting into your body when you eat foods that are chemically enhanced.

Look for brands that are GMO (genetically modified) and trans-fat free.  Avoid high levels of sugar and sodium and steer clear from any hormones, antibiotics and artificial colours.

Carrageenan (thickening stabilisers), preservatives, MSG (flavour enhancer) or BPA, (chemicals found in plastic food containers) are controversially linked to causing cancer and can be found in most pre-packaged convenience meals.

Bash ‘Eat Clean’ into Pinterest for loads of recipes and inspiration.

3.  Go Organic

Dubai has loads of home-grown varieties of organic produce making it reasonable to buy, next time you’re in Spinneys or Carrefour check out their organic aisle I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Also, a trip to the Dubai Garden Centre will inspire you to get all green-fingered.  Here you can pick up all sorts of grow your own fruit and vegetables; it’s easier than you think and super satisfying when you’ve harvested your own dinner!

If you don’t fancy this, leave it to the experts and head over to The Ripe Market at Zabeel Park for the freshest, cleanest fruit and veg in Dubai.

Biorganic,  Organic Food and Cafe and The Greenheart Organic Farm should be your go-to for fresh organic produce delivered straight to your door.

4.  Sauce On The Side!

Don’t ever be afraid to ask the waiter to swap out unhealthy ingredients for good ones.  I have no issues asking the waiting staff to serve the sauce on the side or swap french fries for a fresh side salad.

Spend time browsing through the menu options carefully; many restaurants have a version of your favourite made healthier.  Head over to Russo’s or Freedom Pizza they offer gluten-free or wholegrain bases as an alternative and trust me they taste way better than the regular ones!…

You could also try Gourmet By Kcal they’ve been super successful at making the food we love only healthier… they are 100% gluten-free and their vege lasagna is delicious.

5.  Prep Like A Boss

By planning and preparing your meals, you will be able to shop for exactly what you need, avoiding waste and encouraging you to explore those hidden culinary skills!

Give batch cooking a go…it might take a couple of hours of your time but will seriously save you making bad food choices in the long run and will free up some time for you to squeeze in a little more exercise during the week.

If you’re always on the go and find it challenging to cook and meal plan then try Dubai’s www.cookabox.com service. You select the recipes and hey presto!… they deliver the produce with super simple cooking instructions.

6.  Liquid Calories – The Hidden Enemy

There is nothing natural in a can of Coke and those ‘Diet labels’ only mean the sugar has been replaced with something more sinister, basically ending up making you crave more sugar.

Sorry ladies…that Diet Coke break has to go!  Instead, drink plenty of green vegetable based juices or smoothies.  Be aware, although good for you, fruit contains high levels of natural sugar so don’t get too carried away.

Try Organic Press for amazing juices, cleanse programmes and lots of other premium organic products too!

7.  Good Fats Are Your friend

Fats have been given a bad rep over the years. However, there is a big difference between fats that are bad for you and the ones we require to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

Choose a healthy source of fat, found in avocados, walnuts, chia seeds, salmon, extra virgin and cold pressed oils which are all very good for you.

Trans-fats and hydrogenated fats (an industrial process that involves adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils making them more solid) are the ones you should steer clear of as these are basically found in anything processed….and as we already established earlier, processed = BAD!

Check out Vomfassdubai you will fall in love with their selection of organic oils and vinegars.

8.  Stop Counting Calories

Counting calories takes the fun out of food and takes so long….  Instead of this consider what really does matter, the nutritional value of every meal you consume!

Put it this way you can polish off a cake at 200 calories or eat a handful of unsalted nuts for the same value but ask yourself this, which is likely to be most beneficial to your body?

If you’re struggling to find balance and control your portion sizes then there are companies out there to offer you a helping hand.

We tried fitnessfeedz.com for a headache free approach.  They have meal plans to suit everyone; there are programmes dedicated to aiding weight loss or ones designed to enhance your fitness regime.

Having my breakfast, lunch and dinner placed outside my door every morning was such a convenient way to balance my diet at a hectic time in my life.  I particularly enjoyed breakfast, which would typically consist of an apple as I’m rushing to work in the morning!  It felt like a treat to tuck into their mango and pineapple overnight oats, and I loved their protein pancakes with honey drizzle.

If you don’t want to commit to a full-time meal plan, then try Fuel Up by Kcal, you can order one meal or as many as you like with no ongoing subscription.

When making your own meals, download My Fitness Pal app, it records your daily food intake and shows you if you are eating a balanced diet v’s your general activity levels.

9. We All Love Cake…

Carrot…Red Velvet… Chocolate Fudge whatever your preference we all have sweet cravings and this battle of wills is a real struggle ladies!   So what if we told you, you can still get your sweet fix without the added guilt.

We should all let out a collective sigh of relief because alternative health-focused dessert companies are popping up all over the city!

Our favs include skinny-genie.com who are dedicated to baking low fat, low sugar, good honest food or try  rawlovevegan.com where you can get yourself scrummy desserts free from dairy, gluten and refined sugars.

When you’re next at the market make sure you stop off at Sweetfix by Rita’s stall and try her tasty vegan, paleo and sugar-free puddings if you can’t wait until then you can order straight from her Instagram account!

Emily Franklin

Co-Founder

I've been living in Dubai for five years with my husband and two boys, packing up our stuff we made the move from our beautiful hometown in Cornwall, UK. I have an extensive background in travel and tourism which has led me to be the co-founder of SheDXB, and I hope to make life in the sandpit that little bit easier to navigate. After a hectic week, you'll find us enjoying lazy family days on Black Palace Beach! Emily x

2 Comments
  1. In environment like Dubai staying healthy is important part of lifestyle. Very well written blog on what healthy things we should prefer over unhealthy things. Preventive healthcare is also part of healthy living which we all can execute in our routine to maintain disease free life. Go for regular health checkup once in a year which will help to know your health status and helps to follow the healthy habits & diet according to that.

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