Eating Healthy on a Holiday to Egypt
We spend months working hard on our summer-ready bodies, only to land on foreign soil and give into its culinary offerings. From the aromas of sizzling street food to three course evening meals at the restaurant that your guide book insists you go and try out, there’s temptation at every turn. And that’s probably the way it should be – you are on your holiday after all.
However, it is still important to refuel properly, get your fruit and veg and not go overboard on sugary treats. Luckily, Egyptian cuisine is based on legumes and vegetables, so it’s easy to get the nutrients you need. Oh and it’s pretty tasty too! Take a look at some of the foods you should try if you’re taking cheap holidays to Egypt.
Ful medames are beans with a history – remnants of the good stuff were found in Pharaoh tombs, so you could say that they have the royal seal of approval. Today they are very common in Egypt, especially with street food vendors. The beans are boiled, mushed and seasoned with a sprinkling of salt, a splash of olive oil and some garlic and mild spices. They are then served either in a small tub or in a piece of warm bread with vegetables. Jazz up your beans with lemon juice, onions, chilies or tomatoes. This is the kind of hearty but healthy grub that will keep you going on a day of sightseeing.
Keep hydrated and tick off some of your five-a-day with the fresh juices that you can buy for super cheap on every corner. Pomegranate juice is a hit here and it’s worth knowing that this ruby red superfood is an excellent source of fibre, iron and vitamins A, C and E. Other popular drinks in Egypt that are bursting with nutrients are mango juice, hibiscus juice (or tea in the colder months) and sobia coconut with milk. Drinking water throughout the day is of course essential but be sure to stick to the bottled stuff rather than using any taps.
There are lots of delicious soups to fill you up without feeling the guilt. Red lentil soup uses pulses with cumin, turmeric and garlic. Lentils are good for the digestive system and are high in protein and heart disease reducing magnesium. Spinach soup is another tasty health booster, usually served with rice and yoghurt. Spinach is rich in iron, folic acid and vitamin B2, meaning that is improves blood quality and helps to transport energy around the body.
If you’re looking for a daytime snack, dates are sold widely throughout Egypt. They also contain iron, calcium and several vitamins and are great for the gut. For something a little naughtier, basbousa is a sweet cake made with semolina flour and plenty of sugar!
Cheap holidays are all about trying something new on a budget, and food is a great way to experience local life abroad. Do it in Egypt and you won’t have to worry about piling on the bounds.