Weight loss Meal Plan – Middle East Edition

Find Your Personal Trainer

Published: April 13, 2022

Diets associated with Middle Eastern cuisine are healthier because they contain fewer saturated fats, refined flours, and sugars. The traditional Western diet does not include enough fresh fruits and vegetables, which is crucial for balanced meals throughout the day. For people who love spices and fresh ingredients, a weight loss meal plan created based on Middle East food is a perfect choice. DubaiPT has gathered some crucial information necessary for anyone who wants to embark on this journey. Starting from basics, through ingredients and health benefits- we have it all covered.

Middle Eastern cuisine: The basics

Middle Eastern cuisine, sometimes referred to as West Asian cuisine, includes Arab, Turkish, Armenian, Iranian, Kurdish, and many more cousins. Since the Middle East has changed over time and from one source to another, it is difficult to determine the exact countries included in this region. A majority of Middle Eastern dishes include lean proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, and grains, making them one of the healthiest in the world. Lamb is the primary meat of this cuisine, and you will find it in most main dishes. Present-day eating habits have modernized, but this remains one of the best cuisines in the world, and it’s easy to incorporate in a meal plan.

Map of Middle East
Middle East cuisine and the weight loss plans based on it can break geographical boundaries

Weight loss meal plan for those who enjoy Middle East cuisine

It can be difficult to create a weight loss meal plan on your own. There is nothing wrong with following a meal plan you see in a magazine, but you probably won’t find something as specific as a Middle East edition meal plan. But before we present our weight loss diets plan, we need to cover the basics- main ingredients, dishes, and spices, so you are better prepared to start your journey.

Main ingredients of Middle Eastern meal plans

Wheat and rice are staple foods in the Middle Eastern diet.  Whole grains and white rice is a perfect base for your main courses. The region also uses a lot of barley, as well as maize in some areas. Barley is full of fiber, and it can be an aid for losing weight. Additionally, you can incorporate burghul and couscous. In burghul, the wheat grains are partially cooked in water, dried in an oven (or in the sun), and then broken into pieces. Aside from meat pies, you can use burghul in salads (notably in tabbouleh mixed with chopped parsley, lemon, and oil).

In the cuisine of the region, squash, tomato, eggplant, and okra are prominent ingredients. Usually, eggplant is fried, sliced, and topped with yogurt and garlic. It’s the main ingredient of Baba Ghanoush. There is no middle-eastern dish that does not use tomatoes in salads, stews, or kebabs. These are all very fresh and healthy ingredients, filled with vitamins and fibers that will help you digest and lose weight. There is no shortage of olives on Middle Eastern tables, served as a side dish at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As Middle Eastern cuisine consists of various meat substitutes, like fava beans, chickpeas, lentils, and split peas, you can easily adapt to the vegan meal plan Dubai trainers have to offer.

Olives are a big part of weight loss meal plan
Olives and olive oil are great for your weight loss meal plan

Healthy dishes you can incorporate in your meal plan

Food from the Middle East is largely composed of plant-based ingredients. Beans and vegetables are used in many dishes, including some of their trademark dips. This is a diet high in nutrients that promotes good health. A lot of dishes are served in mezze form, similar to Spanish-style tapas, which often have built-in portion control. This style of presentation encourages you to taste new dishes, and smaller plates can help you eat less. Here are our favorites:

Baba Ganush and Tabouleh

Baba Ganush is a super healthy salad made from eggplants. It’s very low in calories and filled with Vitamin K. Salad Tabbouleh is made up of finely-chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint, bulgur, onion, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. It is a vitamin-rich Middle Eastern dish. Replace bulgur with quinoa or couscous for a boost in protein and fiber.

Hummus and Fattoush

This is probably one of the best-known dishes in the Middle East. In Hummus, mashed chickpeas are mixed with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. It’s a great antioxidant filled with fibers, vitamins, magnesium, etc. Simply said, it’s a great healthy dish you need in your meal plan. Fattoush is a type of salad made from bread, said to have originated in Lebanon’s north. It only has about 60 calories per serving, and it can be a great breakfast for the summer.

Two plates of hummus
Hummus is the most famous and favorite dish of the Middle East

Lentil soup and vine leaves

In addition to being delicious, lentil soup is also rich in nutrients. There are many sorts of beans available in a variety of flavors, and they are relatively easy to prepare. In addition to boosting the immune system and promoting heart health, lentils contain antioxidants and B vitamins. Wrapped in fresh vine leaves, dolma is traditionally made to hold brown rice or meat as well as vegetables. Aside from being incredibly low calorie, vine leaves contain many nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K, calcium, and fiber.

Falafel

Falafel is a fried chickpea ball typically served with pita bread and salad in Middle Eastern countries. Besides protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, falafel also contains calcium, iron, and vitamin B. Reduce the fat content associated with frying by using coconut oil or baking. It’s a great meal to take after a workout routine. It will provide you with the much-needed energy, and a boost of happiness as it’s delicious.

Beverages you can drink on your weight loss meal plan

Many don’t really think about what they drink during the day. What you consume can affect your diet hugely, as most drinks also come with many calories. Following our monthly meal plan DubaiPT has to offer, you will have a better insight into what you can and cannot drink. Today, we will speak about a couple of beverages you can take without feeling guilty:

  • Turkish coffee- strong black coffee, made with boiled ground beans and then cooled down without filtering- it has only 15 calories per cup
  • Ayran or Doogh- a beverage based on yogurt that’s popular in Iran and Turkey, has 118 calories but it’s a great probiotic and should be included in a weight loss meal plan
  • Qamar Al-Din- a sweet beverage made from apricots, that is a favorite drink during Ramadan, with only 60 calories per 100ml

Sample weight loss meal plan

Here is a quick and simple weight loss meal plan- Middle East Edition.

Day 1

Breakfast should be quick and easy to make, like Bait Tamat- eggs with tomatoes. The eggs will give you enough energy by lunch, and tomatoes will freshen up your morning. For lunch, make a chickpea wrap. Chickpeas can be roasted in a short amount of time and they are packed with protein. As both breakfast and lunch were light, for dinner you can have lamb with plain rice, but watch out for the portion size. Any meal, even healthy, if eaten in big portions can be unhealthy.

Day 2

There’s nothing more satisfying than a traditional Middle Eastern breakfast where you spread the table and serve olives, vegetables, cheese, jam, kaymak, basically everything you have in your freezer.  If you have time to prepare it, fresh okra/bamya stew served with rice is a great comfort meal for you and your family. Some okra compounds can even help you lose weight. For dinner, make red lentils in a roasted carrot soup. This will be the perfect warm dish to end the day with.

Day 3

For your third day, you can start with a sweet breakfast. Some seasonal fruit with yogurt can be very nourishing. For lunchtime, roasted chicken, or chicken kebabs are a perfect meal. You can also roast eggplant and serve it with tahini for dinner.

Falafels and olives on table
Falafels are much healthier when service with different sorts of vegetables

Day 4

Start your day with veggie hummus wrap. This will pack a punch, but your body will have the whole day to burn out the calories. For lunch, you can have falafels, but try to serve them with a salad instead of another wrap. For example, you can make falafel-stuffed peppers. Dinner can be simple, cucumber and roasted chickpeas with a tahini dressing.

Day 5

Baba Ganoush is a great low-calorie dip. It’s a perfect and healthy breakfast. You can heave a meaty lunch, like meat dolmas.  In the summertime, you will find fresh vine leaves, but you can also substitute them with jarred leaves. Tabouleh is one of the healthiest salads for weight loss, and you can freely eat it for dinner.

Spice up your diet

A Middle Eastern meal cannot be prepared without spices and seasonings. Black pepper is a popular ingredient, and chili peppers are sometimes added for a little punch. In cooking and in salads, most use plenty of parsley and mint. In Arab countries, thyme and thyme blends (za’atar) are common, as well as a mixture of dried thyme and sumac (crushed sour berries) consumed with bread and oil for breakfast. But the most popular spice is cumin. You can add it in falafels, or any sort of meat.

Different spices in the market
Diets are not easy, but the Middler Eastern edition filled with spices and great taste will be fun to follow

Middle Eastern food influencers

We all know that a weight loss journey can be hard. Luckily, in the the time of internet and food influencers, it can be much easier to get new ideas and recipes. Celebrities and food influencers are popular in the Middle East because social media usage is among the highest in the world. Chefs like Nusret Gökçe, who own restaurants in Turkey, Qatar, UAE, and the USA prompt the beauty of Middle Eastern food in the greatest way possible.

With its focus on natural ingredients and simplicity, Middle Eastern food has benefited from this type of advertising. Creating an important theme for this trend is Halal, a central part of Middle Eastern culture. Education is improving consumer knowledge, eliminating misjudgments of the past. If you want to be on a weight loss meal plan, you will not just lose weight. You will expand your horizons, and learn all about the beauties of the Middle East and its culture.

Don’t confuse this weight loss meal plan with other diets

Middle Eastern cuisine has been previously hidden behind the broader term of ‘Mediterranean food’ to escape negative connotations. Falafel and hummus have gained popularity, so this is changing. There is increasing appreciation of positive Middle Eastern culture in the West, as well as increased media coverage that has enhanced knowledge of the region, including its specific cuisines. As a result, cuisines such as Iranian, Lebanese, Turkish, Israeli, Syrian, and Moroccan are now being recognized and allowed to explore their individual identities and flavors.

Is this meal plan for you?

Yes! Dubai PT has presented you with a weight loss meal plan that can fit just about anyone. This plan aims to bring rich, authentic dishes to tables around the world, which are both delicious and healthy. It is no longer enough for Middle Eastern food to be known for kebabs and shawarma. It is now taking the position of healthy superfood gastronomy that brings people together. If this sounds like something you will like and be able to follow, don’t let anything stop you. Of course, no diet or meal plan is enough to lose weight, so try to incorporate cardio exercises into your daily routine.

Eating healthily day after day presents its own set of challenges. Even though it might seem demanding some days, following a healthy diet is not impossible.  You don’t even have to give up your favorite foods. And the tastes and spices of this weight loss meal plan- Middle East edition will make it even easier.  Packed with flavors, you will be looking forward to every meal.

 

Get Matched With The Best Personal Trainer

Dubai PT logo image Schedule a Free Training Session With Our Top Rated Trainers X

Please leave your info and we will provide you with a list of openings for your complimentary training session

Dunja Zaric - trainer profile image

Dunja Zaric

  • Customized entry-level training
  • Home, gym & outdoor workout
  • Cardio & Strength training
  • Professional nutrition guidance
  • Dance & Bodyweight courses
View Profile

Voja Budrovac - trainer profile image

Voja Budrovac

  • Nutrition specialist
  • Providing fast results
  • Home, gym & outdoor workouts
  • Internationally certified
  • Hundreds of satisfied clients
View Profile

Aly Mohamed - trainer profile image

Aly Mohamed

  • Fat loss & muscle building expert
  • Over 15 year of experience
  • Level 3 certified personal trainer
  • Speaks English & Arabic
  • Home, gym & outdoor workouts
View Profile

Kate Nadich - trainer profile image

Kate Nadich

  • Strength building expert
  • Certified personal trainer
  • Over 6 years of experience
  • Postnatal recovery programs
  • Weight-loss & nutrition specialist
View Profile

Djordje Brajkovic - trainer profile image

Djordje Brajkovic

  • Weight lifting & cardio training pro
  • Internationally certified
  • Home, gym & outdoor workouts
  • Faculty degree in sports & fitness
  • Kids' & teenagers' training programs
View Profile