How to revolutionize eating out in Saudi Arabia
Make better healthier choices
Eating a clean diet begins with buying healthy products. But where can you find these? Many grocery shops are stocked with candies and full-fat dairies. Here are a few of the Kingdom’s best health stores.
Probably the oldest health store in the country, Abazeer offers an interesting collection of organic products and macrobiotic food. Currently, Abazeer has a branch in Souq Al-Mussadia on Madinah Road and a smaller one on Sultan Road, both in Jeddah. Many of its organic foodstuffs are imported, but its Al-Mussadia branch also has a decent selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. It even recently opened a bakery, where you can find a selection of healthy breads and (not so healthy but) organic cakes and pastries.
The Diet World Center offers monthly diets for SR2,250. During this time, you will receive three meals daily prepared by the chefs of the center tailored to your needs. Prior to joining the program, a dietician will sit with you to assess your needs and wishes, such as a gluten free or vegetarian diet. Cakes and desserts are included. While Diet World only offers monthly programs, in Jeddah it has an outlet in Red Sea Mall where you can buy single meals. The Diet Center is another company that offers similar programs and has various shops in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Khobar.
An American-based company, the General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) focuses on health and nutrition-related products. Do not expect a store full of fruits and vegetables. However, GNC offers a wide variety of vitamins, herbal supplements, sports nutrition, and protein powders, but also some flours, seeds, and muesli. It has branches in major cities.
Diet and organic section supermarkets
Supermarkets are increasingly becoming aware of the popularity of diet and organic products. This is good news, because that means these sections are getting bigger and bigger. Especially Danube, Manuel, and Lulu Hypermarkets (only in Riyadh and Khobar) have a good assortment of diet and organic foodstuffs, although not all their branches offer fresh organic products. Also, keep in mind that organic does not necessarily mean healthy. Organic chocolate, candy bars, or cereals may be full of sugar!
Souks in the neighbourhood
With the increased number of health shops, one would almost forget the healthiest stores in town are the good old fruit and vegetable shops. All the supplements and packaged health foods notwithstanding, fresh produce remains the most wholesome thing you can feed your body with. So, pay a visit to your neighborhood grocer, and stock on apples, oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, and anything else they have.
Abazeer’s equivalent in Riyadh is BioBest, an organic grocery store that also sells organic skincare products. This year celebrating its 5-year existence, the BioBest store is located in the Cercon Building number 5, Musa bin Nussair Street in Riyadh’s Ulaya district. BioBest sells an extensive variety of organic tea, brown rice, pasta (including gluten free), jams, maple syrups, oils, and beauty products. Even for cookies and chocolate this is the right address!
Dr. I Al-Shahwan Organic Farm
Imagine having fruits and vegetables freshly sent to your home. This is a not a distant dream for those living in the capital: Dr. Al-Shahwan offers a home delivery service for anyone interested. His organic farm grows a decent assortment of vegetables, including tomato, cucumber, variety of peppers, zucchini, eggplant, okra, beans, as well as herbs, such as parsley, coriander and basil. Keep in mind that all produce is seasonal, so availability may vary throughout the year. For more information and to order, email email@example.com or call 0 599 703 741 / 0 505 112 562.
Located on Madinah Road, this new “smart eating” company delivers healthy sandwiches, salads, burgers, hot dishes, and even desserts everywhere within Jeddah during office hours. Their philosophy is that diets don’t work in the long run; instead, people need to learn to eat healthy by choosing lots of quality carbs and fiber, low-fat dairy, healthy oils, and lean protein, including plenty of vegetables and fruits. Delivery is free for orders above SR50 (if nearby) or above SR80 for further locations. More information can be found on their Facebook page and on Instagram, @litebite_jeddah.