Argentine Cuisine: Eating Healthy While Traveling in Buenos Aires

Argentine Cuisine: Eating Healthy While Traveling in Buenos Aires

Argentine cuisine can be summarized in one word: beef. Cheap, ubiquitous, and divine beef. The kind of meat that reminds you why you’re not vegetarian (and if you are, it will not be easy for you in Argentina). If you’re craving variety, don’t fret (hint: sarcasm). There’s always pizza, empanadas, gelato, and the infamous ‘caramel-but-better’ dulce de leche. Sweet, creamy, melts-in-your-mouth dulce de leche. Let me tell you, you won’t be able to get enough of it. But your body will.

Your body will be screaming, begging, and pleading for something green, something fresh, something that doesn’t contain cheese, bread, cream, or meat. You’ll find yourself craving fish even if you hate seafood; perhaps you’ll even impulsively vow to vegetarianism (these might be rather extreme). Bottom line: you’ll need a bit of healthiness even if you’re not the healthiest of women, especially if you’re spending a semester here like I currently am.

Reena in Argentina
Reena in Argentina

Eating healthy, however, is not an easy task in Buenos Aires. Even after you’re able to resist the aforementioned foods, you’ll have a hard time finding quality vegetables and well-cooked meats other than beef. I’ve ordered plenty of “salads” here that come with a slice of tomato and a few shreds of lettuce. To Argentines, “ensalada” essentially means any sort of vegetable, regardless of its quantity or quality. Furthermore, grilled vegetables and seemingly healthy chicken come doused in oil and butter. Based on the available options, it becomes evident why Argentina has consistently been in the top five for plastic surgery and eating disorders.

So how, one must wonder, does one find the Golden Mean, the happy medium, the perfect balance between eating healthily and enjoying the delectable Argentine treats?  To be honest, I’m still trying to figure it out, but I will share what I have discovered thus far:

Argentine Cuisine: Eating Healthy While Traveling in Buenos Aires

1. If you want a salad, make your own.

There are many hole-in-the-wall produce shops that sell various produce for very cheap. Though the quality isn’t superior, it will suffice and it will be inconceivably better than anything you’ll find at most restaurants.

2. Go for light gelato

Since cutting gelato out is not an option (and if it is, you’re doing better than I am), get the dulce de leche Light at Freddo instead of the regular dulce de leche. It tastes almost exactly the same for about half the calories.

3. Substitute sparkling water for coke

Everyone drinks Coke at all hours of the day, at all meals. This makes your teeth yellow and causes you to consume empty calories, so to satisfy your carbonation craving, get “Agua con gas” or sparkling water. For the same price, I’ve found that its taste is almost as fulfilling as a cold Coke.

4. Visit a dietetica

There are many dieteticas, or diet food stores, located around the city. They are pricey, but are filled with myriad of nuts, fibers, dried fruits, and all the little snacks your healthy tooth desires.

5. Walk!

The city is great for that—good people watching, unique architecture, and fun window shopping.

6. Eat sushi!

Though the sushi isn’t amazing, it satisfies the craving and it’s very trendy in the city, so there are many options. Be sure to ask for rolls “sin Philadelphia” or without cream cheese.

7. Check out my healthy restaurant recommendations:

Quinbombo (Palermo Soho)
Natural Deli (Recoleta)
Get Sushi (Barrio Norte)
Tea Connection (chain)
New Garden (Barrio Norte)—dietetica
Oui Oui (Palermo)
Bio (Palermo)

 

About Reena Roy

Reena RoyReena Roy worked as a freelance journalist in Buenos Aires.

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