7 Healthy food options to try in UAE

UAE has a rich cultural heritage, and the local Emirati food plays a significant role in the traditional gamut. With a typical Arabian influence, the cuisine here has evolved over a period. Due to the influx of foreigners, the food and beverage industry has dramatically grown in size and composition in the last few decades.

Long working hours, extreme heat conditions outdoors, a lavish sedentary lifestyle, etc., adversely affect the residents’ health. Thankfully, the evolution of healthy meal plans as an industry has proved to be a savior. The plans are inspirationally curated to offer customers nourishment, are delivered to the user’s doorsteps, usually need to be heated or consumed ‘as-it-is,’ and come in eco-friendly packaging. These meal plans save time, effort, and the planet!

If you are all set to eat healthily, try these seven healthy food options to stay in the pink of your health:

1. Seafood

This is the staple food in the UAE. The combo of rice, camel meat, and seafood is quite popular as the ethnic cuisine of the country. One of the biggest pros of seafood is that it is highly nutritious.

Fish like salmon, shrimp, and more are rich in proteins, vitamins like B12 & B6, and minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium. Besides, seafood is one of the best sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA. Both these nutrients are required by the body to reduce inflammation and improve nerve cell health. 

If you have a diet that is low on nutrition, consider including seafood in your daily food habits. Two organ systems greatly benefit from seafood: the cardiovascular and nervous systems.

2. Nuts

Pine nuts and almonds are a part of many Emirati foods. For example, Lamb Ouzi is a traditional rice dish made with lamb meat, spices, almonds, and nuts. Similarly, Aseeda is a dish that is a pumpkin dessert item topped with nuts. 

The good thing is that nuts are a good food option because they are high in protein. Most nuts are also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are beneficial to the heart.

Which nuts are good for health? Almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, and walnuts are storehouses of essential nutrients. The best part is that you can chew them raw, roast and eat them, or add them to your salads, dessert items, or even main course items.

3. Dates

Like nuts, dates are part and parcel of an Emirati’s daily diet plan. For example, the iconic Batheetha is made from date paste mixed with wheat flour and nuts. It is a dessert item that can be stored for a few days without getting spoilt. Traditionally, dates from palm trees are considered pious in the Middle East region. 

In the UAE, the most popular dates are Medjool, Lulu, Khenaizi, and Dabbas. If you are considering healthy, nutritious food to add to your diet in the UAE, then dates should be a must. This is a nutrient-dense food, although it contains a high percentage of calories.

Dates are rich in carbs, fibers, vitamins, and minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium. Dates are also high in antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids, which help fight free radicals.

Various studies have proved that dates can help improve the functioning of the brain.

4. Emirati Spices 

One thing you cannot miss in the UAE is the delectable aroma of various local spices. Most of the food items in the country are topped up with spices like cardamom, saffron, cumin, peppercorns, fennel, turmeric, coriander, or spearmint for a unique flavor.

Spices and herbs come with a plethora of health benefits. Most of these are rich in anti-inflammatory properties and are known to boost the cognitive powers of the brain. For example, turmeric contains curcumin that has antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic benefits. It also helps reduce oxidative stress.

Similarly, cardamom is a healing spice containing a mix of phenolic acids and fixed and volatile oils. Including these spices in your regular meals can address multiple underlying health issues. 

5. Emirati Lentil Soup

The Shorbath Adas, meaning lentil soup, made from red lentils, is another staple food component in the UAE. The light tangy soup is amazing for the gut, soothing it to the core. It is super-healthy because the legumes are good sources of fiber and protein. 

With negligible fat, lentils are considered a super-food in many countries. Half a cup of this soup contains almost a third of proteins and fibers, recommended for daily diet. You can substitute the red lentils with any other legume, like chickpeas or dried peas. 

6. Fattoush

This is a must-try for vegetarians. Fattoush is a vegan dish from the UAE. Made from veggies and topped with olive oil, this is the perfect salad that can get you started on a healthy note for the day.

Fattoush contains veggies like cucumbers, onion, diced tomatoes, fresh lettuce, mint leaves, garlic, and lemon. You can have it as a salad or with Levantine bread which is slices of pita bread. 

This vegetable combo is amazing for your eyes, heart, and gut and helps you fight occasional food cravings. 

7. Arabic Coffee

Also called the Emirati Gahwa, this coffee is the traditional drink in the UAE, served and consumed more like a ritual. Without a trace of sugar or milk, the traditional drink is best enjoyed with dates.

Qahwa is another storehouse of health benefits. Made from saffron, honey, and nuts, it keeps the body and mind energized throughout the day. It is also suitable for digestion, contains vitamins B2 and B12, which strengthen the body’s immune system, and contains ample antioxidants that help relieve stress.


Try these seven nutritious food options in UAE and stay motivated to remain healthy and fit. These foods contain essential nutrients and can be a boon to people of all ages, genders, and lifestyles.


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