Healthy Eating Habits among UAE Expats Increasing – Survey

1 in 3 expats make it a point to include fresh fruits and vegetables daily in their diet

Good eating habits, which counter the trend of obesity and lifestyle-related diseases, are increasing and have firmly taken root based on a survey that measures the food consumption behaviour of UAE expatriates.

A survey carried out in the beginning of 2016 shows that at least one in three expats make it a point to include fresh fruits and vegetables daily in their diet; these foods destroy the free radicals that can severely damage our health. The survey was carried out by Al Ahli Holding Group’s latest F&B venture, Little Manila, the first and only themed restaurant that offers an array of food choices from multiple Filipino brands under one roof. According to the survey, 35 per cent of the respondents, more than one-third of the sample population, said that fruits and vegetables figured regularly in their diet.

The ongoing campaigns to make the UAE populace adopt a more active daily routine and a more nutritious diet have shown results over the past few months – tens of thousands have taken the healthy living pledge, participated in a walking challenge, lost weight in order to win gold, and been aided by the introduction of healthful menus in restaurants.

The UAE has also taken well-publicised steps to promote better choices even when eating out. The ‘Healthy Restaurant’ initiative was launched by the UAE Ministry of Health last April to curb obesity, especially among children, drastically by the end of this decade. A health-oriented fun event, #HandtoPlate, was associated with the Dubai Food Festival last year, and similar events will be a part of this year’s festival which will take place on Feb 25 to March 12.

Balancing once tendency to dine out with the need to have nutritious meals means paying attention to where one eats and what one orders. Giving tips on making fast food healthier, advises two things: look for quality ingredients, and pre-determine your ‘go-to’ menu options.

Ordering sides of vegetables and avoiding high-calorie beverages are prescribed universally by nutrition experts. Sugar-laden desserts are known to be resolution-breakers, but nutritious alternatives are available.

Fruitas, a popular all-fresh-fruit-based dessert concept from the Philippines, has been introduced by Al Ahli Holding Group in its new restaurant Little Manila, targeting a major segment of fast food consumers.

Parvez Naqvi, International Business Development Head of Al Ahli Holding Group, said, “A common new year resolution of UAE expatriates is to lead a healthier lifestyle. We’re glad that the food brands we’ve brought to the UAE, including Fruitas, provide residents the option to combine authentic home-grown taste with the healthful aspect of eating.”

“Many have made ‘staying healthy’ the top item on their list of New Year resolutions. There is a good reason why people in the UAE, expats in particular, are trying to cultivate the habits of healthy eating – falling ill comes with a large financial burden,” he added.



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