I love Greek food! I have always thought that eating Ethnic food was healthier for me, but have recently learned about the top five unhealthiest Greek foods I find it helps to know what parts of the dishes are the unhealthiest and many times you can make substitutions. Since I’ve learned how unhealthy my favorite Greek foods are, I now try to eat these foods in moderation and only splurge occasionally on them.
One of the worst Greek foods you can eat is called Baklava. It is also one of my favorite sweets. Baklava has that sweet flaky pastry made with tons of butter. The sauce on it is usually very sweet and made with sugar, and honey. To make the Baklava even higher in fat, it can also contain nuts. According to the nutrition action health letter, Baklava can contain over 20 grams of fat per serving and tops in at around 500 calories per serving.
Another unhealthy Greek food is Mousakka. It is a layer dish featuring eggs, fatty meats and fried eggplant. It is combined with butter, eggs and milk. Mousakka often features very fatty cuts of beef or lamb, which gives it a high fat content. It can also be very bad for your cholesterol since it features so much butter and eggs. In addition, many Greek dishes use sodium and they often use more than the daily recommended amount. The combination of fats and sodium makes Mousakka an unhealthy choice.
A gyro is probably the most common Greek food. It is also very unhealthy. The giant Pita, the mayonnaise, the sodium and the fatty meat all add up. Many gyros contain almost 40 grams of fat according to nutrition action health letter. Because of the way Gyro meat is prepared, it contains a large amount of sodium, more than the recommended daily allowance. Because Gyro’s use so much mayonnaise; you could save a lot of calories just switching to a light mayonnaise. You could also do better if you were able to use whole wheat pita bread versus a regular pita. Often times the Gyro will be overflowing the Pita and many eateries overfill the pita. If you were to skim off part of the sandwich you could still enjoy yourself and save a good chunk of calories. I often do this and I find I feel satisfied because I am eating the real thing, just less of the filling!
Another bad choice can be a Greek salad. I have often fooled myself thinking a salad is a healthy choice, but many Greek salads are overloaded with Feta cheese. The cheese makes them high in fat and sodium. The dressing can also be unhealthy too and often times they will drench the salad in too much dressing. If you order a Greek salad, get the dressing and cheese on the side – then you can control how much you need to feel satisfied.
The last unhealthy Greek food is spanakopita. It’s a form of a savory, meal-like pie. A serving of this is also high in sodium and very high in trans fats. You need to be careful with food like this because you don’t realize how many trans fats and in it and they are so bad for your heart.
The next time you go out for Greek food, think of this list. Try to make some substitutions, get half of it wrapped up to go or indulge in unhealthy Greek food less often!
Nutrition Action Newsletter – http://www.cspinet.org/nah/11_00/greekfood.html
Practically Edible Greek Food – http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/pages/greek