Torn at the diner? You may think, “It’s all Greek to me!,” but the winner is clear. “Even though Greek salads have lots of fat from the feta, olives and dressing, they’re mostly good fats, and the meal is still lower in fat and calories than a gyro sandwich,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, a dietitian in Chicago. The gyro’s main nutritional downside is not its pita bread or tzatziki sauce: The meat is the real doozy. The ground lamb, beef or both used in gyros aren’t necessarily of the leanest variety. Plus, the salad boasts more fiber, from vegetables such as romaine, red onions and tomatoes. (They also provide vitamins A and C.) Drizzle on oil and vinegar, or ask for Greek vinaigrette on the side—most restaurant cooks pour with a heavy hand, increasing the calorie tally. You’re ordering a salad, so who needs that?
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4 Ways to Healthy Up Greek Food
Split a Side of Falafel
These chickpea-based balls are just 57 calories apiece, which is diet-friendly as long as you resist downing half a dozen.
Don’t Leaf Without ’Em
A virtuous appetizer: dolmades, aka stuffed grape leaves. Versions with rice and pine nuts run about 140 calories for three.
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A Stellar Soup
At around 260 calories per bowl, a Greek lemon chicken egg soup won’t set you back too far, plus it has 25 grams of protein.
Be a Baklava Smartie
This traditional dessert is calorie-dense (250 calories) but so sweet you’ll need only a few bites to get your fix.