Ideas for healthy convenient meals in Turkey

I am currently living in Turkey for a while, and I’m finding the food absolutely delicious here. It’s the Mediterranean way – cooking with delicious, fresh produce. You can eat healthily and heartily by either eating out or cooking from scratch yourself. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy or inclination to prepare a meal so it’s great that there are so many convenient and yummy options here for eating out or taking in.

Turkish food is all about fresh produce, which is why the weekly fruit and vegetable markets are always bustling and busy, with locals packing their cupboards with cheap and delicious tomatoes, cherries, potatoes, peaches, aubergines … the list is endless, and the cost is low.

Like me you might not have the time or facilities to become the best Turkish housewife or house-husband out there, so here are some ideas for cheap and healthy convenience meals whilst maintaining that fresh and delicious Turkish taste?

Head to a Turkish restaurant.
If you want the best flavours, a seriously fully belly, and a very low cost at the end of it, go to a Turkish restaurant that is away from a tourist resort, or at least away from the tourist resort main streets. Go where the locals head, and you’ll find you eat yourself into oblivion and you pay very little. BBQ’d, or ocakbasi-style, cooking of meats is the order of the day here, and you will find it cheaper to eat like this, than you would if you bought meat from the butchers and made something yourself. It’s also much less hassle!

This is my addiction, and ever since I moved here, I’ve had it for breakfast and even an evening meal several times a week. The plus point is that you can either eat out and grab it, or you can make it yourself very cheaply and easily. It’s basically scrambled eggs with peppers and tomatoes in oil. Throw in some fresh bread and it’s a taste sensation and a half, as well as being very filling.

Turkish pizza is much healthier than the pizzas you would find from a takeaway elsewhere. It’s not advisable to try and make this yourself, because it contains lamb, and lamb isn’t the cheapest thing in the world. You can get lahmacun from a takeaway for as little as 3tl, and when folded over with salad and lemon juice in the middle, it is delicious!

Chicken kebab.
If ever I’m hungry and want something quick and easy, I call at the nearest kebab shop and get myself a chicken wrap with salad for as little as 7tl. I’m full for hours afterwards and I know I’ve had several of my five a day. This isn’t the kind of kebab you associate with a greasy night out, it’s actually chicken donor meat, carved up in a tortilla style wrap, with salad and mayo if you choose. Yum!

Whether you make it yourself by grabbing some oil from the supermarket and some fresh veg from the market, or whether you buy it from a takeaway, soup is a very popular and filling meal in Turkey. Because of the fresh produce used to make it, it is often tastier than the tinned variety, and much more filling. Again, fresh bread in Turkey is delicious too, and very, very cheap.

A fresh diet is a healthier one, and you can easily find that on the cheap whilst travelling or living in Turkey.

Guest post by our friend Nicky.

Photo Credit: Paul Keller under Creative Commons license. Menemen

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