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Baklava- Our Weakness in Istanbul

Macros down the drain...

baklava, Istanbul, not healthy food
Baklava in Istanbul

This is one of those "not-so-healthy" posts. Basically on every corner in Istanbul you can find incredible stores selling the best baklava dripping with honey. For sweets lovers like myself, this is extreeeeeemely dangerous!

This puffy pastry is layered with phyllo dough, nuts, honey, and spices. There are many different types, as you will see when walking into the specialty stores of Istanbul. Ana and I were partial to the small "normal" squares although I feel like we tried every single option possible throughout our time in Istanbul.

Here's the bad news- one piece of baklava has between 200 and 350 calories, depending on how it's made. A little bit of good news- it contains 3-5 grams of protein, mainly from the small amount of pistachios used. The problem is that it's very difficult to eat just one, and the calories will add up quickly. It's easy for me to eat 3 pieces in one sitting without even thinking twice.

While traveling, we suggest using Nutrionix or MyFitnessPal as a macro tracker. When inputting what you eat and drink throughout the day, you will be able to see how each entry affects your macro count. For example, I have a 2500 calorie maximum, and I try to stay far under this while still meeting my protein goal. If I eat 3 pieces of baklava this around 35% of my calories for the day!

Adding to the calorie conundrum is that 3 pieces of baklava isn't a meal. I will be hungry again within 30 minutes to an hour and taking in more calories, which is what messes people up.

What we advise is to sample local cuisine, like baklava, but in small amounts. Be honest about what you ate! Put it in the macro tracker so you can adjust as the day goes on. For example, when Ana and I tried a calorie rich dessert during the day, we would eat vegetables for dinner which loaded us with nutrients at minimal calories. This way we could sample amazing desserts but still stay under our macro count for the day and be in a calorie deficit to stay lean.

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