No one could ever claim that the UAE is short on extravagant, ever-so delicious, entirely decadent dishes (here’s looking at you, gourmet burgers, stuffed pizzas, unabashedly extra desserts and ice cream sundaes that stop at nothing when it comes to toppings). And yet, the country can more than hold its own when it comes to health-conscious eating.
Somehow, though, those dishes don’t tend to make the headlines in quite the same way as their sweet and sugary, calorie-rich counterparts. With that in mind, and ahead of World Diabetes Day on November 14, here’s a quick guide to where to find tasty, low-sugar, diabetes-friendly dishes.
Enjoy breakfast at Flow
With an ethos based on catering to a range of diets and serving up healthy, wholesome food made from sustainably sourced, organic ingredients, it’s no surprise that Flow, the cafe inspired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, does a stellar line of dishes suitable for those with diabetes.
Flow is renowned for its all-day breakfast offerings and, between its Jumeirah Emirates Towers and DIFC locations, diners can tuck into an array of diabetic-friendly dishes, including (but not limited to) rainbow-coloured, energy-boosting acai and smoothie bowls (the avocado-based Green Power Bowl will quite literally power you though the day), omelettes, a signature shakshuka featuring olives, salted ricotta and spinach, slow-energy release rolled oats and eggs both Benedict and Arlington.
Go sugar-free at Comptoir 102
Enviable interiors, French chic vibes and nutritious, delicious and oh-so-Instagrammable dishes; it’s no surprise that this gorgeous Jumeirah Beach Road spot in Dubai is a go-to for healthy eaters.
Comptoir 102’s regular menu is packed with wholesome, low sugar, nutrient-dense fare. Think detoxifying waters, sugar and dairy-free almond milk smoothies, vegan scrambled eggs, seaweed pesto and more. In addition, the cafe runs a specifically sugar and dairy-free menu that changes on a daily basis.
And for anyone not entirely au fait with superfood lingo and the associated benefits of these ingredients, the online menu provides a handy primer.
Try Kcal’s diabetic plan
While there are a whole host of health-focused meal delivery services operating across the UAE it’s fair to say that Kcal, established in 2010, paved the way. Not only that, it continues to be one of the best of the bunch, thanks in no small part to its nutritionist-approved meal plans.
The company’s low sugar, low-glycemic index, 1,000-1,300 calories-per-day Diabetic Plan is designed to aid weight loss while safely controlling blood sugar levels. Daily menus comprise breakfast, lunch, two snacks and dinner, plus a side, and include dishes such as smoked salmon frittata, Tex Mex turkey soup, shrimp tagine and protein-rich raspberry pancakes (consider this short list a taster; there are numerous options to choose from).
Delve into dessert at Kaleidoscope and Saffron
For more than a year now, the culinary team at Atlantis, The Palm have been working with Zusto, a low-calorie, low-GI, zero-carb sugar substitute made primarily from corn and chicory fibres.
While there are plenty of sugar replacements available, FDA-approved Zusto struck a chord with the restaurant’s chefs because it not only allowed them to create desserts suitable for those with diabetes but meant that they could do so without compromising on taste.
As a result, diners who visit Kaleidoscope and Saffron can tuck into all manner of great-looking, great-tasting treats – milk chocolate-infused yuzu tarts, coconut caramel flans, black forest cake, tropical fruit mousses and more – without worrying about the sugar count.
On a side note, keen home bakers who fancy cooking with Zusto will be pleased to learn that it can replace sugar on a 1:1 ratio in recipes, making it simpler and easier to use than many other sugar substitutes.
Have your cake and eat it at Ferns N Petals
Sometimes the best way to show someone you care, or treat yourself to some self-care, is with cake. Thanks to online gift service Fern N Petals, and its selection of sugar-free baked delights, you can still do that even if the intended recipient is following a diabetes-friendly diet.
From a stunning-looking, commendably moist, layered date-based creation finished with toffee buttercream to sugar-free versions of classic chocolate, red velvet and carrot cakes, these treats don’t just look good, they taste great, too. What’s more, orders can be placed online for next-day delivery across the UAE.