Talabat continues to enforce the strictest measures of Covid-19 safety Image Credit: Supplied

If your body could talk, what would it say to you? Our key to wellbeing is to listen to our bodies, and if we are attentive enough, we’ll hear it telling us that a balanced diet is the key to a healthy life. Food affects not just our bodies, but our mental state, energy levels, thinking capacity, sleeping patterns and now, more than ever, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it affects our immunity.

Right from childhood, we’ve heard our mothers telling us to eat well, and eat fresh. Our comfort foods were essentially those that were made at home, cooked with love, with a keen eye on our health. Today, a lot of us live far from home and we rely on food delivery platforms to help us make the right choices when it comes to eating healthy. As Middle East’s largest online food delivery platform, talabat understands the importance of a healthy, balanced diet and supports food partners who also share a similar philosophy.

Jeremy Doutte is Vice President, UAE at talabat Image Credit: Supplied

“During COVID-19, we saw a change in consumer habits with a rise in demand for immunity boosting food and products. At talabat, we always aim to offer our customers the widest array of choices, including a range of healthy cuisine options for those seeking a more balanced diet. This extends beyond the meals our food partners offer on our platform as we keep the same mindset when it comes to the items we provide through talabat mart, our quick commerce 24x7 grocery concept, which allows us to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to people in less than 30 minutes,” said Jeremy Doutte, Vice President UAE at talabat.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be about strict limitations or depriving ourselves from occasionally indulging in foods we love. It is about finding the right balance that allows us to feel great, improve our health, have more energy and uplift our mood.

We asked some of talabat’s healthy restaurant partners to share their food philosophy with us.

What is your food philosophy?

Ganesan Subramanian, General Manager @healthyanddietcafe

I have been pre-diabetic for more than seven years. Every time I go to a doctor for the usual checkup, they ask me if I am taking any medication, and I tell them no, I manage my health only by being mindful of what I eat and controlling my food.

I believe in the importance of food and healthy diet and their impact on a person’s overall health and I want to help people monitor what they eat. We offer our customers access to our nutritionists who discuss with them their objectives over the phone and we all work together to devise a tailored monthly meal plan.

- Ganesan Subramanian, General Manager at Healthy and Diet Cafe

Malek Ahmad Albayyari, Co-founder and COO @eatkrave

Krave is a family business, as partners we are all siblings. In the past, we found a gap in the market when it came to healthy but tasty food. The options were limited, and the food wasn’t appetising when it was healthy.

We joined forces and worked super hard for two years to create a menu that offers people a healthy food selection with excellent taste.

- Malek Ahmad Albayyari, Co-founder and COO at Krave

Fahad Jang, Founder @acaidxb

I believe you are what you eat and you feel what you eat. During the pandemic, people were homebound and had more time to think of their health and focus on their wellbeing. When you eat healthy food you feel much better and you are more alert.

Healthy food impacts your body, your thoughts and your feelings, that is my mantra and that’s why I offer customers the best quality ingredients.

- Fahad Jang, Founder of Acai Nation

Anas Salah, Managing Partner @lifterlife.nutrition

A healthy balanced lifestyle goes beyond the calories, it is about the value of the nutrients.

Our team includes qualified nutritionists that work closely with customers looking for a comprehensive meal plan to help them reach their fitness goals.

- Anas Salah, Managing Partner at Lifter Life

How do you encourage customers to make the right food choices?

Ganesan Subramanian, General Manager at Healthy and Diet Cafe

We have been present in the market for six years and most of our customers eat and live healthy. They want to know the proportion of protein or carbs in their food, which is mentioned in our menu. To further meet their fitness objectives, we have also adopted a no salt and no oil cooking method and use low fat cream as well.

Malek Ahmad Albayyari, Co-founder and COO at Krave

By offering them fresh and premium ingredients. We do not compromise on quality. Our entire menu has macros count, so our customers can see the percentages of calories, protein, fat and carb, etc. in any meal they select.

Fahad Jang, Founder of Acai Nation

Our entire menu is based only on healthy food, so once someone is willing to order an item from our restaurant, they are bound to order healthy as there is no other option. That being said, we encourage people to take the first step in adopting a healthy lifestyle by offering discounts to first-time customers.

Anas Salah, Managing Partner at Lifter Life

Healthy food doesn’t necessarily mean low on carbs, it is about offering people meals that are rich in vitamins and nutrients yet still tasty. To encourage people to make healthier choices, we are introducing lighter versions of existing popular dishes from all over the world. Our customers can improve their health while enjoying the taste of a traditional Arabic dish, a burger or even a taco.

We also believe in being healthy on the pocket, which means no premium pricing. We want everyone to be able to eat healthy and that is why we provide very generous portions with quality ingredients at a very affordable price.

What are your best sellers?

Ganesan Subramanian, General Manager at Healthy and Diet Cafe

Creamy chicken cooked with low fat cream, crispy chicken tender prepared using air fryer and grilled chicken black pepper sauce for those who love spice. All our menu is based on grilled protein, which we carefully select, choosing quality tender chicken, fresh salmon, and low-fat beef.

Malek Ahmad Albayyari, Co-founder and COO at Krave

Chicken in general has less fat than beef, that’s why our chicken breast is popular as it has a very low-calorie count. Another bestseller is grilled salmon and for dessert, the acai bowl.

Fahad Jang, Founder of Acai Nation

In terms of the Acai bowls, our best seller is the mixed berry bowl. When it comes to Acai blends, the most popular are Acai blended with banana, blueberries and pineapple. As for Acai toppings, customers prefer strawberries, granola and blueberries. And besides Acai, avocado toast is also a best seller.

Anas Salah, Managing Partner at Lifter Life

Our healthy chicken shawarma is definitely popular, as well as seafood dishes and pastas. Customers also like the lentil and chicken soups, and the broccoli pizza.

Food and the pandemic, what has changed?

Ganesan Subramanian, General Manager at Healthy and Diet Cafe

We already follow Dubai Municipality rules and have continued to do so during the pandemic while adopting stricter hygiene methods. We have a policy of no chilling or reheating food, so once we receive an order we directly prepare, cook and serve in our restaurant or deliver to customers at home.

Malek Ahmad Albayyari, Co-founder and COO at Krave

The pandemic hasn’t affected our operations, it has magnified them as people are even more conscious of their health and opting for a more balanced diet. We are currently located in DIFC, Motor City and Barsha Heights and planning to open two more branches in Silicone Oasis and Abu Dhabi. We naturally follow Dubai Municipality rules in all our branches and we are now even stricter with our hygiene standards and COVID-19 safety measures.

Fahad Jang, Founder of Acai Nation

The pandemic hasn’t changed anything in terms of operations, as we are already operating as delivery-based food with no physical location. Naturally, we are adhering to COVID-19 safety measures with stricter hygiene procedures, asking staff to wear masks at all times and increasing sanitization in the kitchen. Moreover, we have always been very mindful of our packaging to ensure Acai bowls reach our customers without melting and in the best quality, that’s why we place the bowl inside a zip-log bag with ice.

Anas Salah, Managing Partner at Lifter Life

We’ve enjoyed a very solid structure since day one, due to the expertise we have amassed from our long history in the restaurant business, which dates back to 1997, specifically in Dubai. However, I would say the pandemic shifted our focus from physical location to delivery, which is more convenient for customers and allows them to eat from the comfort of their homes.

Talabat takes the safety of customers, partners and riders very seriously. To help partner restaurants stay operational during Covid-19, talabat continues to enforce the strictest measures of safety, such as Personal Propection Equipment for all riders, contactless delivery and cashless tipping.