I love food and that is no secret. Believe it or not I have met and know people who don’t enjoy food in any special way, they really see it as a means to sustenance and that’s all. If that is you, this post is not for you. This is for the food lovers, who like to explore options beyond good old grilled chicken, asparagus and sweet potato meal prep. This is for those of you who also like to get a little culture into your diet. Bookmark this page for the next time you head out with your friends out for dinner. As I personally conquer number one on this list for lunch after my morning workout….honestly between the first two I don’t know which one is more my favorite or maybe I am just lucky that my favorites start at the top of the list.

Sushi or Shashimi
Not everyone is a fan of sushi. The idea of eating a raw fish is just not appealing and I can’t fault anyone for that. Nearly 24 years of my life had passed before I tasted my first piece of sushi. 20 years of my life had passed before I even knew what it was lol. Sushi is made of lean fish and steamed rice. It offers a great balance between protein and carbohydrates. Add a little avocado and you’ll also get a healthy source of natures fat. (Fat is not always a bad thing). Sashimi is another great source, but I only recommend 2-3 times a week. Fish that contain high levels of mercury include bigeye tuna, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish. Check your rolls ingredients, many of them don’t even contain fish.

Tandoori Chicken
So, notice I didn’t just say Indian cuisine. Specifically Tandoori Chicken. Usually this food is cooked on long skewers inside a cylindrical clay oven and marinated in a blend of spices, yogurt and lemon juice. The way it is prepared is excellent and leaves you a low-fat, protein-rich dish. Just don’t go all crazy and mess up your meal plan getting a side of high-carb, high-calorie rice called Biryani or loading up on too much Naan. Also be ware of some of the vegetarian dishes which sometimes are often prepared with a lot of oil, fat or butter.

Pasta Primavera
You can’t go too wrong here, especially being a popular dish that can be found on plenty of menus. This dish serves up a healthy dose of antioxidants with a bounty of nutritious vegetables, this popular pasta dish serves up a healthy dose of antioxidants. Plus, the fresh garlic helps to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Be sure to go without the fat-packed, cream sauces sometimes used with this dish and opt for those that are tomato-based and loaded with cancer-fighting lycopene.

Bean Burrito
Not the crappy, refried Taco Bell kind. We’re talking straight up black or pinto beans. Along with being rich in dietary fiber, beans offer a healthy dose of carbs and protein to keep you feeling full and energized. Throw in some fresh salsa, wrap it in a corn or wheat tortilla, and you’ve got the ultimate healthy, hand-held feast. Avoid the urge to top it off with piles of cheese and sour cream. With all the extra fat and calories you may as well eat a chili dog. Opt for a little crumble of queso fresco, which only has 41 calories and 2 grams of fat per ounce, and hot sauce instead.

Moo Shu Shrimp
Don’t let the “Moo” fool you. This delicious, non-beef dish low in fat and high in nutrition. The shrimp and eggs offer plenty of protein, while the cabbage, mushrooms and bamboo shoots are loaded with essential vitamins like beta-carotene and vitamin C. When adding rice, make sure it’s steamed and not fried.

Aloo Gobi
Sounds like something you might inadvertently step in during a jungle excursion, but it’s actually a potato and cauliflower curry dish with a wholesome blend of high antioxidant, Indian spices. One of those spices is turmeric, which research has shown helps fight disease by boosting the liver’s ability to detoxify the blood.

Tired of the same old rice and pasta dishes? A staple of North African cooking, couscous offers a tasty alternative. Made from durum wheat, couscous is commonly used as a nutritious base for salads and a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. It can also be sweetened, spiced and mixed with dried fruits and served as a dessert. To maximize the nutritional value be sure to choose whole wheat couscous over the regular version.

Horiatiki Salata (Greek salad)
With a combination of Kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and feta cheese, you can’t go wrong with this Mediterranean favorite. For extra flavor, go with a side of Tzatziki (Greek yogurt flavored with cucumber and garlic) sauce. To cut the calories and fat, ditch the feta as it can add close to half of your daily recommendation of saturated fats.

Tom Yung Gung
Nope, it’s not a Taiwanese action hero, but a kick-ass soup that has been proven to fight cancer. Made with shrimp, coriander, lemongrass, ginger and other herbs and spices used in Thai cooking, this appetizing soup is believed to contain powerfully potent tumor-inhibiting antioxidants.

Switch those traditional high-fat onion and ranch dips with this chickpea-based concoction made with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and other spices. The chickpeas are full of protein and have a glycemic index of 12, meaning it will leave you feeling full without loading you down with extra calories. When used as a dip, go with raw veggies like carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes instead of more calorie dense chips and bread.

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