Updated 08 October 2013

‘Gatsby’ gets healthy makeover in Waterfront

Thousands of Capetonians flocked to the V&A Waterfront to taste-test SA’s first official heart-healthy Gatsby.

On Tuesday 8th October 2013, thousands of Capetonians flocked to the V&A Waterfront to taste-test SA’s first official heart-healthy Gatsby created by well-known cookbook author and food specialist, Heleen Meyer, in partnership with Pharma Dynamics and the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA).

 The challenge, which was issued by Pharma Dynamics, a prevention-minded pharmaceutical company, comes in the wake of National Nutrition Week (9 - 15 October) in a bid to promote the importance of a healthy and balanced diet in keeping diseases of lifestyle at bay.

Heleen Meyer, author of Cooking from the Heart, says the challenge to overhaul the local favourite Gatsby, an oversized sandwich typically stuffed with hot chips, meat and spicy sauce, has been one of the more interesting food challenges she has been tasked with.

“Most fast food meals can be turned into a simple, lean and healthier version by making some modifications. In this instance I’ve replaced traditionally deep-fried chips with oven-baked chips, polony with baked beans and lean red meat, and I’ve added fresh ginger, lemon juice and masala for extra flavour. These modifications translate into a delicious, nutritious Gatsby that is lower in total fat, unhealthy saturated fat and salt, and higher in fibre, making it a better choice for the heart,” says Meyer.

"Our aim is to encourage South Africans to watch what they eat and to share our philosophy of healthy living" says Meyer.

Tips from Meyer:

  • Watch what you eat. (Avoid processed foods such as:  polony and rather try lean steaks etc. )

  • Look at the way you prepare your food. (Use less salt and less fat. Rather cook with olive oil, lemon juice, ginger etc.)

  • Just because it's healthy, doesn't mean it needs to be bland – you can spice things up.

  • Watch how much you eat. (Try to eat smaller portions.)

  • Add more fibre to your diet and make what you eat a lifestyle.

Mariska Fouché, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says the challenge is in line with the company’s on-going drive to promote healthy eating via its popular Cooking from the Heart initiative – a free online recipe book containing more than 70 heart-healthy local dishes, which forms part of its umbrella campaign, called iChange4Health.

“More than 40% of all deaths in the country are attributed to chronic diseases of lifestyle, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes, and most of these are preventable if changes are made to the way we live, and attention is given to what we eat,” says Fouché.

According to Jessica Bacon, Registered Dietician with HSFSA the average Gatsby contains 6 200 kJ (kilojoules), 70 g fat, 12.5 g unhealthy saturated fat and 1 740 mg sodium (4.4 g or almost a teaspoon of salt).

“This provides almost three quarters of daily energy (kilojoule) needs and more than half of the recommended saturated fat intake based on an average 8 400 kJ diet. It also provides almost the entire maximum daily allowance for salt, which should be limited to no more than 5 g (one teaspoon) per day,” says Bacon.


Nutritional information per portion:


Average Gatsby
Healthier Gatsby
Energy (kJ) 6 200 2 147
Total fat (g) 70 18,5
Saturated fat (g) 12,5 5,8
Fibre (g) 2,1 10,1
Sodium (mg) 1 740 751

Bacon added that with almost half (48%) of adult South Africans eating outside the home it is imperative that restaurants start adding more nutritious options to their menus and that the public becomes more knowledgeable about what makes for a more nutritious meal.

“The statistics are alarming, with 1 in 4 South Africans at risk for disease due to their high cholesterol levels, which can be significantly altered through diet. Eating healthily doesn’t have to be expensive either and we’ve tried to convey this via the Cooking from the Heart recipe book and its latest addition, which we’ve dubbed, 'The Greater Gatsby',” says Bacon.

The heart-healthy Gatsby contains steak and beans and is even more affordable than traditional Gatsbies, ranging in price from R25 to R45 per portion.

Owners of some of Cape Town’s popular Gatsby hotspots, such as the Golden Dish, Cosy Corner, and Super Fisheries also came out in support of the project and gave the new healthier addition their thumbs up. Some even agreed to put the healthier version on their menu during World Stroke Week (28 October - 3 November).

The new recipe can be found on the Cooking from the Heart SA Facebook page, where Meyer continues to share healthy eating advice and cooking tips on how to cut down on salt, fat and sugar, whilst boosting flavour.

 For more info on Cooking from the Heart and other iChange4Health initiatives, visit:


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