Most Middle Eastern foods are quite healthy. Middle Eastern dishes tend to use a lot of rice, vegetables, yogurt and lean meat. Many Middle Eastern dishes are vegetarian, which is also healthy. There are a few dishes, however, that are best avoided or eaten in moderation.Chicken Balls (Koftit Ferakh)
These chicken balls actually deep fried and of course deep fried foods are never healthy. There are a number of other tasty Middle Eastern chicken dishes that you could have instead, like mansaf (a chicken dish with rice and yogurt) or chicken kabsa (a very popular Saudi Arabian dish with chicken, rice, tomatoes and various seasonings).Festive Spiced Rice (Al Koozy)
This rice dish is not terribly unhealthy but it contains a lot of butter or oil and is typically made with white rice which contains a lot of simple carbohydrates and does not have much nutritional value. However, you can prepare it with brown rice and get some good complex carbs and other nutrients.Triangles with Meat Filling (Samboosak)
This is another deep fried Middle Eastern dish, which will give you more fat than is healthy. They are traditionally eaten to break the fast during Ramadan. They contain ground beef or lamb, onions, hardboiled egg whites and seasonings. The filling is actually healthy but the deep fried wrappings are not. If you want the taste of this dish, you could sauté the filling and just eat that. There are also plenty of Middle Eastern beef and lamb dishes that are not deep fried that would make healthy choices.
Baklava is a delicious Middle Eastern pastry filled with walnuts, sugar and cinnamon. It practically melts in your mouth. Unfortunately, a tiny two-inch square piece has over 300 calories and more than 22 grams of fat. Skip the baklave if you can resist. You could choose a different Middle Eastern dessert, like date sweets (another traditional dessert made with nuts and dates), which is much lower in fat.Brides Fingers (Asabia el Aroos)
This Middle Eastern dessert is a little healthier than baklava, but not much. It contains a good deal of sugar and fat. Try date sweets or some other fruit dish instead.
Sources:In Mama’s Kitchen. http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/RECIPES/RECIPES/poultry/chicken_balls.html. Chicken Balls (Koftit Ferakh).
Global Gourmet. http://www.globalgourmet.com/destinations/mideast/festrice.html#axzz0z46U1M00. Festive Spiced Rice (Al Koozy)
Global Gourmet. http://www.globalgourmet.com/destinations/mideast/samboosak.html#axzz0z4nCYer8. Triangles with Meat Filling (Samboosak).
Global Gourmet. http://www.globalgourmet.com/destinations/mideast/asabia.html#axzz0z446c6SX. Brides Fingers (Asabia el Aroos).
In Mama’s Kitchen. http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/RECIPES/RECIPES/Desserts/Baklava.html. Baklava.