There are a growing number of made-in-the-UAE businesses out there, and a lot of them are devoted to catering to people who have decided to give their lifestyles and their diets a healthy overhaul. Choose from our specially curated list of nine new options, including apps that help you track macros and order in to a food waste recycler than will divert your scraps away from landfill, a new range of vitamins and lots of “free from” snack options for adults and children.
Three long-term Dubai residents and friends are behind an app that curates and suggests healthy meal delivery options, based on their calorie and macro requirements. Fadi Ghaly, Varun Kapur, and Ahmed Wasfie say their app, Count’d, is ‘a Spotify for healthy eating.’ According to CEO Ghaly: “We believe eating fresh food is as important as eating the right calories and we understand that customers want flexibility and convenience in their food choices.” Count’d connects with fitness tracking wearables, meaning that when the meals it suggests are ordered, the user doesn’t need to make a manual entry. So far there are more than 300 healthy meal options, with some of the most popular orders going to Little Erth, Fitness Feedz and BR8 Kitchen. Customers can order up to three healthy meals per day up to 10pm the night before, as well as pre-schedule orders for the entire month, with all calories and macros accounted for.
Thrriv is a a UAE-based homegrown one-stop-shop for affordable kitchen and pantry staples that are sugar-free, low-carb and gluten-free. “We want to create a movement where people stop accepting mediocrity in the healthy food market and demand value for money and the best quality in products that aren’t snacks,” says founder and CEO Radhika Sil. The company was founded during the pandemic with a vision that expanded on the initial goal of catering to diabetics when CFO Kailash Rathore experienced a serious health crisis. “I was fighting for my life,” says Rathore. “To be hospitalized with diabetes ketoacidosis, fall into a coma and then be subject to a long road to recovery, my purpose in building Thrriv with Radhika was clear and of utmost necessity.” Thrriv sells low-carb and ketogenic diet-friendly, sugar-free baked goods including bread and buns, as well as a range of fruit jams, all-natural dressings and sauces, pastas, ice cream and fruit ice lollies.
3) Almond Mylk base
When you switch to plant mylk, the problems are the same as you had with dairy: keeping a fresh supply to hand. Enter Almond Mylk base, launched this summer by the UAE plant-based brand Eat Better Foods. This all-natural dairy alternative has just one ingredient – almonds – in a paste-like formulation that can be used in exactly the same way and for the same purpose as almond mylk. Three tablespoons added to a liter of water and blended for 30 seconds produces fresh and natural almond milk. Dh35 per jar via Spinneys and Waitress.
4) ProYouth bars
New to the UAE, this healthy snack aimed at children and teenagers was developed by a mom in the UK with the help of scientists and nutrition experts after she found that levels of certain ingredients in adult nutrition bars were unsafe for children. Each bar contains carefully selected macro and micro-nutrients to support performance, recovery, brain cognitive function and minimize fatigue. There are no added sugars or artificial sweeteners, only naturally sweet dates. ProYouth Nutrition bars are available in Banana Split, Vanilla Delight and Choco Brownie, priced from Dh12 and sold at selected locations including Choithrams, Enoc Petrol Stations and soon, Spinneys & Waitrose.
5) Koala Picks
Traditional children’s snacks are often heavily processed and filled with harmful ingredients. All of Koala Picks items are produced under the guidance of a functional nutritionist and food consultant, made with no refined sugar, trans-fats and oils, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. There is also a free from dairy and free from gluten range. Order from their range of subscription boxes or buy snacks individually.
New restaurants are opening all the time in the capital, but authentic Japanese offerings are still admittedly a bit scarce. That’s why news of Abu Dhabi’s first Udon House opening is worth a mention. UDN, located on Muroor Road, serves up the freshly made udon noodles and traditional ramen, and melt-in-your-mouth Japanese milk cake that you can’t get anywhere else. You can also get gyoza, edamame, tempura shrimp and mochi balls. It’s all brought to you by one of the hottest cafes in the capital, DRVN Coffee, with each dish made in-house, daily, from scratch.
The new GLOW gummies from rite are catering to the increasing number of people complaining of thinning hair, brittle nails and loss of elasticity in their skin. GLOW is fortified with 1,000 micrograms of Biotin, along with a blend of nourishing plants including horsetail and rose petals for skin and hair, plus all key ingredients for stronger hair growth and the stimulation of collagen production, such as coenzyme Q10, vitamin B3, l-cystine, selenium and zinc. The other advantage is that unlike a lot of supplements, the rite range is flavored with rose petal and raspberry, vegan, low sugar, non-GMO, and free from gelatin, synthetic colors and artificial flavors.
Contribute to the livelihood of Afghan women and farmers and get a unique, authentic, meaningful and healthy product via Mira Farms. A social enterprise from the Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Initiative, this retail venture helps independent farmers from nearly every corner of Afghanistan market their produce globally. Shop online for natural hand-picked dried fruit, nuts and saffron from Afghanistan. The products have no additives, preservatives or added sugars and are cultivated without agricultural chemicals or pesticides, making Mira both a healthy and ethically sustainable option.
9) Kibson’s Food Cycler
Do your part to minimize your waste, and keep pounds of food scraps from local landfills. Kibsons now stocks the Food Cycler, an at-home odorless composting machine selling for Dh1,975 that offers a simple four-step process that breaks down, decomposes and sterilizes food in just three hours. No water, chemicals, venting or draining is required and there are no emissions. When the three hours is up, the volume of the scraps will have been reduced by 90 percent, leaving you with a small amount of nutrient-rich soil that can be folded into your plant or garden dirt.
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.