If you live in Lebanon, you know how long the summer season is. Typically spanning May through September and oftentimes spilling into October, warm weather dictates our climate for close to half the year. For our sea-bordering, beach-loving nation, this translates to self-consciousness about waistlines, bikini bodies, and muscular six-packs. Bottom line? It’s a permanent diet in the life of the Lebanese beach bum.
If you’re ordering food delivery via Bitfood, what are some of your best bets at healthy dishes to keep that sun-kissed figure trim and slim? We’re glad you asked.
It’s called Sandwiched, and sure, many of its signature specialties revolve around bread. But the eatery, boasting outlets in Antelias, Gemmayze and Jounieh, proposes no less than 10 light meals categorized under “World’s Lightest Salads” and “Catwalk Sandwiches.” What we absolutely love about the Sandwiched menu is how it quantifies masses of protein used in the dish. Take for example the No-Mayo Chicken Caesar, which purports 100 grams of char-grilled chicken breast on a bed of iceberg lettuce topped with 10 grams of Parmesan with croutons to boot. You can virtually run a calorie count on that salad!
Fairly new to the F&B arena in Lebanon is Homburger, an ode to home-like burgers (get it?). Typically, the homemade version as opposed to its restaurant counterpart is lighter, cleaner and less fussy, which is what this burger joint aims to do. If you’re looking to keep your weight in check, stick to the Light Beef Burger, incorporating a lean 120 grams of meat, two teaspoons of homemade light ketchup, two teaspoons of diced capers, two teaspoons of mustard, one teaspoon of light mayo, and a quarter teaspoon of ground red pepper. That’s a surefire (and admittedly very precise) recipe for success; just be sure you skip the fries.
Tabliyet Massaad has undoubtedly swept the food scene for its iconic wooden trays decked with taouk pita wraps, hummus, pickles, garlic paste, fries, and coleslaw (wow, that’s a mouthful!). While those combos hardly qualify as diet-friendly, home in on the “Light 3al Tannour” menu section, featuring makanek, chicken arayess, taouk, lahmeh, kabab, and soujouk. Hey, no one said meaty can’t be light! If anything, a protein-intense dish low in fat spares you unwanted calories from empty carbs.
Baliboula may be perched in the mountains of Mazraat Yachouh, but you’re not driving, so never mind the logistics! The key is to focus your energy on the Diet section, which is fairly well populated with the likes of Light Crispy Chicken, Light Crispy Taouk, Light Fajita Platter (250 grams of marinated chicken breast), Light Steak Platter (250 grams of marinated beef), and half a dozen other entries. What we particularly like, besides the fact that we’ve got choices galore, are the prices, ranging from LBP 7,000 to 15,000 (US$ 4.67 to 10).
Situated in Kaslik and Zalka, Paradox restaurants have something for everybody, from crepes and waffles to sushi and pizza. The foregoing probably don’t fit under light and dainty, but flip ahead to the platters and have your fill of grilled chicken with sautéed veggies and a baked potato, or perhaps grilled shrimp with black rice, or even grilled salmon topped with white wine sauce. Now that’s what we call a balanced, nourishing meal!
Danielle was born into a Lebanese household in Southern California. Growing up, she constantly found herself living between two realities: outwardly, she was an American girl who loved swinging on the monkey bars and reading The Baby-Sitters Club. Inwardly, she was Lebanese, speaking Arabic at home and forbidden from attending sleepover parties.
With age comes awareness and self-confidence, and Danielle learned to embrace these differences. She accepted that she'd forever be suspended between two worlds, and that she'd be like a tapestry, one culture woven into the other. As she grew older and worldlier, Danielle promised herself she would one day settle in Lebanon.
And here she is. Three college degrees and a few consulting gigs later, she is now in her parents’ homeland, working in strategy management, fleshing out her blog Beirutista, and contributing to Bitfood. Danielle gets her hair coiffed several times a week, like any proper Lebanese girl, and she loves the traditional mezze. But she still prefers peanut butter to Nutella. And her American accent is unmistakable.