A guide to healthy eating in Durban

Durban healthy places to eat South Africa

Living a healthier lifestyle is definitely good for you – by making more nutritious food choices and getting more regular exercise your mind and body will grow stronger. Some of you will know about the many benefits that you will start to experience including having more energy, mental clarity, less bloating, improved skin and even looser fitting clothes! With all of these benefits in mind, it should be easy to make healthy choices a part of your daily life. So why is it sometimes still so hard to make the more nutritious choice?

Part of the reason may have to do with the fact that human beings don’t always find change easy. But it could also have something to do with how tough it can be to find ways to have fun with your family and friends, while still being mindful about the food that you eat.

Eating out can become a bit of a challenge when the menu has a limited amount of healthy options, so I did a bit research and came up with a list of restaurants that offer delicious and nutritious meal options in Durban and surrounds.

Dedicated Health Restaurants:

Ballito and Umhlanga

Tree Natural

This is a health hub that combines a yoga studio and health café. Why not pop in to enjoy a yoga session – they offer different types of yoga including sessions tailored to burning calories or help with your alignment. There are also specific classes aimed at pregnant women or new moms who have already given birth. The café offers various breakfast options including gluten-free and dairy-free meals. Choose from their breakfast or lunch menu or enjoy a yummy smoothie.

For more info:



La Lucia and Umhlanga


Need a quick bite while you’re on the go? This restaurant is situated on the top floor of La Lucia mall and they offer a range of healthy and delicious meals. They also have another outlet in Umhlanga’s Zenith Drive. Choose from breakfasts, salads, wraps baked potatoes or smoothies. Nouriti has a few options specifically tailored to kids and they also offer take-aways from both branches while the Umhlanga shop offers delivery.

For more info:





Earth Mother Organic

The team at this little restaurant pride themselves on sourcing organic produce. Their café can be found in a garden setting and they are happy to make changes to dishes to accommodate specific dietary requirements. Choose from breakfast bowls, salads, wraps or try their curry. While you’re there you can also browse the range of organic products including household cleaners and baby products they have on sale. There is also a deli on site that sells various products including pestos, cheeses and free-range eggs.

For more info:



Upper Highway

Conscious Café

This vegan and vegetarian café in Hillcrest is the perfect place to pick up a smoothie, open sandwich or scrumptious vegetarian lasagne. There’s also a lovely garden to explore while you wait for your meal.

For more info:



La Verdure Real Food Café

Situated in Gillits this restaurant offers plenty of breakfast and lunch options and pride themselves on cooking “real food”. They offer regular meal specials so keep an eye on their Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss out (https://www.facebook.com/LaVerdureRealFoodCafe/). Low carb and gluten-free options available.


Greater Durban


This popular franchise makes nutritional meals easily accessible. They serve smoothies, wraps, healthy sandwiches, salad bowls and warm bowls. Find your closest Kauai or check out their menu here.


Restaurants with healthy options

If you go out with friends who have their hearts set on enjoying traditional favourites like toasted sandwiches or a burger and chips why don’t you try one of these restaurants that offer a mix of different options?


Freedom café in Greyville is well-known for serving quality creative meals. Their menu offers a range of breakfast and lunch options including coffee and alcoholic beverages. Look out for a dedicated health section on the breakfast menu, there are also some fantastic salad options available.

For more info:



The Prep Room is situated on the Glenwood Primary School grounds and is easily visible with its striking container structure. There are plenty of gluten/wheat-free and low-carb options on the menu. Look out for a new take on classics like Fish & Chips (grilled in coconut oil and served with courgette chips on the size). They also offer Colombo coffee, a range of lovely baked goods and takeaway meals that can be heated at home.

For more info: https://www.facebook.com/preproomglenwood/

Love Coffee also offers customers healthy meal options as they stock Caroline’s amazing vegan salads, Birchers muesli, kombucha, trail mixes, veggie juices and premade meals.



Chilliplum restaurant offers a range of creative dishes including delicious vegetarian options. Their menu changes with the seasons and they also have a bakery and deli on site. You can also order frozen meals to take home.

For more info:


A few national food franchises have also started to provide nutritional information on their menus. This will help you make an informed decision when dining out. It may be a good idea to go online before heading out to dinner so that you can plan ahead and choose the most nutritious option on the menu.

You can access Mugg and Bean’s nutritional information by clicking on the small N next to certain meals. The restaurant chain also offers vegetarian options, wraps and salads.

Nando’s also lists the nutritional info for each food item on their website.  To see a meal’s breakdown just over the little heart emoticon next to their menu items.

You will notice that after a while it will become easier to recognise the healthier menu items, you won’t always need to do research before going out.


Tips to help you dine out healthily

  • Have a healthy snack before going out – this could help to stop you from overdoing it on the bread basket or the drinks.
  • Share your desert.
  • Take home half of your dessert.
  • Remember you don’t need to finish everything on your plate. You can always grab a takeaway and then tomorrow’s lunch is sorted too.
  • Ask for salad dressing and croutons on the side – many healthy salads can become unhealthy because of add-ons.
  • Order a glass of water and alternate between other beverages like alcohol or sweetened drinks. The water will help you stop yourself from overdoing it.
  • Eat slowly, savour the taste of your meal and enjoy the company of the people you’re with.
  • Order a side of vegetables or salad (dressing on the side) instead of deep fried chips.
  • Choosing a tomato-based sauce helps you get more of your recommended serving of fresh fruit and vegetables, and it can be less fatty than a cream-based sauce.
  • Check if the menu stipulates nutritional value and use this info to make the best choice!


Delivery services

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get really busy and I don’t get around to packing my lunch ahead of time. When that happens it’s useful to know about healthier takeaway options. In Durban, a company called We are Food delivers freshly prepared meals straight to your office. Their menu has a range of different options available, including cauliflower mash and rice. There are also quite a few comfort foods on the menu so make your selection carefully.

For more info: http://wearefood.co.za/menu/

Fitchef also offers healthy convenient food options that can be delivered straight to your door. This is ideal for people who are pressed for time as you receive a selection of readily prepared meals you can warm up. There are plenty of packages to choose from.


Healthy shopping

These days plenty of supermarkets offer healthy staples like coconut oil, or gluten-free flours (for those who are gluten intolerant or live with celiac disease). Nutritious carb sources like quinoa, buckwheat, bulgur wheat and brown rice are also easy to source. It’s not unusual to see a health food aisle at your local Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay, Spar, Checkers or Food Lovers Market. Manolis is a great source for staple grains, dried fruit, sweetener and nuts. To find your closest store.

Loafers Low Carb Superstore in Durban North offers a range of low carb foods including baked goods, sauces, dips and snacks like nuts. Get ready-made cauliflower mash or rice here or pick up a complete frozen meal that you can heat up and eat at home.

For those of you who prefer to order online Takealot.com, Faithful to Nature and Wellness Warehouse are great sources for those food items that aren’t always that easy to find in the shop. If you’re looking for Xantham gum or amaranth these online sources can be very helpful.

There are also a few dedicated health shops to visit. Stop in at Health on Broadway or the Umhlanga Health Shop to see what they have on offer.

Another great source of farm fresh produce, as well as healthy food items including baked goods aimed at those who are gluten intolerant, is The Shongweni Farmer’s Market. You will find locally produced fruit and vegetables as well as artisan breads and cheese at the market. Just a word of warning if you’ve never visited them before: you need to make sure you get there early before all of the best items sell out!

The Morning Trade market is another fantastic source of fresh local produce and it runs from every Sunday 08:00 – 13:00.

The Out to Lunch mobile food truck can be found at major markets like the Shongweni Farmer’s Market and offers delicious raw plant-based vegan foods. Daily free and wheat free options are readily available.

You can also order your fresh fruit and veg ahead of time by using companies like Eat your Home and Fresh Box. Fresh Box gives you the added “feel good” factor of helping someone in need. This registered NPO donates food to an underprivileged child at Carrington Primary School for every box of fresh fruit you buy from them.

5 different ways you can make progress on your weight-loss journey

Measuring Weight-Loss Success

And no, weekly weigh-ins are not one of them…

Over the years I’ve seen many people commit to improving their overall health and wellbeing by making lifestyle changes. The first two areas most people want to focus on are their eating and exercise habits. After all, there is no real secret to weight-loss. Most people know that to lose weight you need to have a calorie deficit at the end of the day. In other words, you need to use more calories than you consume. But there is one very important area that also has to change for lasting health and well-being – the way you define failure and success. How do most people on a diet or weight-loss program know that it’s working? They measure their progress on their trusty old bathroom scale. For years the numbers you see below you on the scale have been the ultimate measure of your success or failure. I’ve seen many dedicated dieters suffering from a severe case of the weigh-in nerves before checking their progress during body transformation challenges. It’s amazing to see someone’s face light up when they’ve reached their goal for that week, and it’s devastating to see someone lose confidence when they didn’t.

I think it’s time that we take away the strange power that this weight-loss tool has over our self-esteem. The scale cannot tell you the absolute truth about your progress on your journey to becoming the best version of yourself. It does not get to have the final word on how you feel about yourself. Why do I say that? Simply because there are so many aspects of your journey that the scale cannot measure.

1. The scale doesn’t know how much exercise you did this week

Did you put on your running shoes and make some time to go for a run during your lunch break? Did you take your kids or dog for a walk along the beautiful Durban promenade over the weekend? Or perhaps take the stairs instead of the elevator? If you have managed to start making exercise a regular part of your routine when that has never been the case before, you have a lot to be proud of! And even though exercise may or may not affect the weight reflected on the scale it will still affect other things like your overall health, or the way you feel in your favourite pair of jeans. If you exercise just three times a week you decrease your risk of heart disease and you give your body some time to recuperate from sitting at a desk all day. Your increased physical activity might not appear to be a big win, but in the long run you are making amazing choices towards a healthier lifestyle.

2. The scale doesn’t measure your energy levels

Do you wake up in the morning feeling more refreshed and ready for the day ahead? Do you find that you have energy for longer periods of time during the day? If you can answer yes to these questions you must be doing something right! Your newly-formed nutritional and exercise habits will start to bring about more energy. This is because when you exert energy you actually end up having more energy. You will find that you have more energy to pursue the things in life you love to do – like playing with your kids, starting a new hobby or getting back into sports or activities you thought you would never be able to do again. No more lounging in front of the TV trying to recover from the day’s demands, biding your time till you have to do it all again! Thanks to eating nutritious food you will have the capacity to start living your life to the full.

3. The scale doesn’t track the quality of your sleep

For many people, this is an unexpected benefit. We don’t realise how much our diet affects our sleep patterns. By feeding your body nutritious food that fuels it throughout the day instead of filling it with stimulants like sugar and caffeine you give yourself a good chance to get quality rest. Including more exercise into your weekly routine will also have a positive impact on your nightly rest. If you can see a marked improvement in your sleep since you changed your eating and exercise habits it’s time to congratulate yourself on a job well done!

4. The scale doesn’t measure whether you made nutritious food choices

Do you find it easier to say yes to your personal health and no to that large piece of birthday cake at another children’s party? Yes, you need to celebrate that! Every time you make a decision for yourself and your health, as opposed to eating something because everyone else is doing it, is a moment you need to honour yourself. You will find that these decisions become easier as you start to understand more about your body and how your choices affect it. Each healthy choice you make will have a positive impact and eventually, this will become your natural default. You may not have lost 10kgs in three months, but if you can see yourself becoming stronger and standing up for your own body, that’s something you need to recognise and remember. It is in making these choices that your true power lies – you will find yourself forming healthy habits instead of unhealthy ones!

5. The scale doesn’t see how your decisions have started affecting everyone around you

I don’t know about you but I meet many people who started an unhealthy relationship with food when they were kids. I think you will agree that our beliefs about food often start to influence those closest to us. If your mother was always beating herself up after she ate some chocolate, then chances are that attitude influences the way you see food. If you think about your circle of friends you can probably identify at least one person who talks about “good food” or “bad food” and constantly monitors what she eats. It’s not easy spending time with people like that! You will notice though that once you start to change the way you think about, and talk about, food your new attitude won’t go unnoticed by those around you. Just imagine the freedom kids will feel if they don’t grow up in a home where food is either worshipped or made out to be the bad guy! Your healthy attitude towards food can influence and encourage those special people in your life and help them make better choices too.

Although these changes I’ve described aren’t necessarily goals you would normally set for yourself at the start of a weight-loss journey, they are a few of the building blocks that will set you up for a lifetime of success.

No-one should celebrate their successes, or face their challenges, alone. I would love to go on this journey with you! I have seen first-hand the power that daily nutrition coaching has to change people’s lives and give them the freedom to truly enjoy this gift of life we’ve been given.

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you on this weight-loss journey please get in touch. I would love to learn more about you and your unique needs and challenges and help you achieve lasting results.

The 7 secrets to mastering meal prep

If your life is anything like mine, and it seems that it is from the recent survey I did on Facebook, you often don’t have the time to lovingly prepare your next meal. In fact, sometimes modern day life can be so busy with work, family and social commitments that you don’t even get the chance to sit down to a proper home-cooked meal. This opens you up to the risk of falling back on quick and easy meals that are oftentimes not the healthiest options. There is a way to avoid this though, and I’m sure you’ve all heard of it – bulk prepping your meals in advance.

All over Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest you see posts showcasing beautiful lunchboxes prepped and ready for the work week. I don’t know if you ever feel intimidated by these beautifully styled work lunches. If you are though, you wouldn’t be the first one to feel that way! After a busy day at the office or with the kids it can seem like too much to ask – cooking a meal and prepping for the next day (or the next three days’) lunch just isn’t going to happen. But don’t despair I have some handy meal prep ideas up my sleeve to help you get started.


1. Plan

It’s a lot easier to prepare meals in advance if you have an idea what you want to eat for the next couple of days. I suggest taking a few minutes when you have a break to jot down your ideal meals for the next few days, or even brainstorm for the whole week ahead if you’re comfortable with that. This will help you make sure that you have the right ingredients in your fridge or cupboard when you actually get time to do some prep later in the week.

You will be surprised, but with just a little bit of planning you will start to see which foods work well together. For example, if you buy a few chicken breasts you could use them in a creamy casserole accompanied by cauliflower rice, or in a salad. Once you’ve planned what you would like to eat the coming week you will see opportunities for pre-cooking certain elements of different meals all in one go.


2. Start small

I strongly suggest that you don’t tackle the whole week’s meals when you first attempt meal prepping. Focus on preparing two meals in advance. A great way to do this is by cooking a larger portion and saving the leftovers for lunch. You can even make enough to allow you to pop a portion in the freezer for later that week (bonus meal). Three meals taken care of in one!

Or, if you would prefer to start even smaller, why not focus on packing your snacks ahead of time? Pre-pack this week’s biltong or nuts into handy portions, boil some eggs on Sunday and keep them in the fridge for the week ahead. Eggs last up to a week in the fridge so they are an ideal snack or meal component to flex your meal prep muscle. Maybe rinse some fruit the night before and make sure you take it to work with you. Even these small adjustments will go a long way to helping you make healthier choices during the work day.


3. Prep doesn’t mean cook

I know I used to think that it was useless trying to prep meals if I couldn’t set hours aside to do it. Don’t make that mistake, every little bit helps! Anything you can do to help the process along is better than nothing. If that means you spend a few minutes over the weekend taking out the vegetables you will need for your next two meals and chopping them so they are ready to be made into a salad, or cooked on Monday then that’s perfect. If you don’t have the time to actually get to the stove don’t stress about it. Put on one of your favourite songs, whip out that chopping board and knife and get going! Maybe even rope the kids in and make it a family affair, this will also teach them the skill of planning and being prepared.


4. Experiment and have fun

Some people become bored of eating the same meals. Bulk prep certainly doesn’t require you to make five chicken salads ahead of time! I must admit that it makes life easier to work with the same base, but why don’t you experiment a little? Perhaps try frying a few chicken breasts on a Sunday and use that for Monday and Tuesday’s salad while substituting it for chickpeas or tuna on the Wednesday and Thursday. Particularly busy clients even buy a pre-made salad and then add the protein that they prepped ahead of time while they’re at the office. Depending on your budget there are ways you can make meal times relatively stress-free!


5. You decide

It can be hard to find the time to do any meal prep if you have a very busy schedule. Before you know it those easy meals are looking very attractive, even though there are healthier alternatives. Seeing meal prep as an investment and not a chore helped change the way I felt about it. Just think of all the time you will be saving during the week if you manage to do quite a bit in one go! Maybe you could even block off some time in your calendar if you find that scheduling helps you. Always remember that any meal prep you can do will not only free up more of your time during the rest of the week, but will also help you on your journey to becoming healthier!
If you pre-pack your snacks for the week you are saving yourself from the afternoon slump by choosing snacks that will slowly release energy during the day. No more running down to the vending machine to grab a chocolate or a packet of chips! If you are very pressed for time I recommend that you carefully choose the meals you prep in advance. Where in your day could you do with a few extra minutes? Perhaps it’s early in the morning when you are rushing from school or gym to work. Then I suggest you make a couple of smoothies that you can grab and have breakfast as you go. If you get home very late at night and dinner time is particularly stressful perhaps you could chop and cook some key ingredients for your next few evenings so you can have dinner ready in a flash, without the stress.


6. Don’t be too hard on yourself

If you can’t prep a full week’s snacks and lunches don’t be negative about yourself or your abilities. Think instead of the one or two healthy snacks that you managed to pack for the week ahead and congratulate yourself. Focus on how good it felt when you had something healthy right there as you got hungry. Decide to work on feeling that way more often. Celebrate every little good food prep choice you make, and if the week suddenly spins off its axis with work or your kids’ homework just forgive yourself and commit to trying again next week. In order for food prep to become part of your routine it has to become a priority, but you also have to recognise that life sometimes throws surprises at you. So don’t be devastated when you have to make a quick plan.

Another piece of advice I can give you is to get to know how long food will last in the fridge because this will help you prep more effectively. You can focus on buying foods that will last longer to give you a little more leeway in case you don’t actually get around to opening your fridge when you thought you would. Maybe print out this guide (http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/how-long-food-last) and stick it on your fridge so you have the info readily available.


7. Use tried and tested recipes

I’m sure there are a few healthy recipes you already know off by heart that you can start out with. There’s nothing quite like cooking a meal you know will be a hit, so I advise that you start there. But in case you are short on recipes, or if you just want a few new easy meal ideas, I have put together a list of my personal favourites for you here.



Lunch/ Dinner


How 12 week diet and fitness challenges set you up for future failure

I recently did a road trip between Durban and Cape Town and somehow it made me think of one of these popular 12 week weight-loss challenges. Just like a body transformation challenge you know you are in for an uncomfortable short-term journey, but you also know you will get there in the end. You just visualise yourself sipping on a drink while admiring Table Mountain, or wearing those old jeans you used to fit in that are now hidden in the back of your cupboard, and you find the strength to push through your discomfort. And just as you expected, you feel incredible when you make it and can finally relax and enjoy yourself. The problem with reaching your goal weight by following a body transformation challenge is that you end up in a destination that you aren’t quite ready to call home yet. You may look like a lean and fit person, but you don’t think like one yet. This means that to maintain your hard-won goal weight you need to stick to an unsustainable calorie allowance and exercise regime, instead of choosing to think like a lean and healthy person who consistently makes healthy choices.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and just felt like you needed something to change drastically? When you feel like you desperately need to lose weight it can be easy to let impatience become your main motivator. Before you know it you are in a space where you are fixated on how your clothes fit you, or don’t fit you. Every bite of food you eat can become loaded with emotion and can induce strong guilt feelings, or pride at making the “right” choice. You decide it’s time to get serious about this, to make sacrifices and work towards your ultimate goal: To get fit (and lose weight). And here in Durban we are spoilt for choice when it comes to body transformation challenges that promise short-term weight loss. Every day you drive past pictures of rock hard abs promising that you can drop the weight too!

To top it off we all know of someone who committed to a 12 week body transformation challenge and saw amazing results. These newly trim people carry themselves with pride. After all, it took months of sweat and deprivation to achieve these incredible results!  I don’t know if you have ever gone through this rigorous process. Having seen this first-hand I can tell you one thing: for most people the end of those 12 weeks could not come sooner.

What does a 12 week weight-loss challenge offer you?

12 week challenges are popular for a reason. They work. They produce fantastic results for those who are willing to put in the hours at the gym and avoid certain foods and drinks. But, as I mentioned earlier, the results they produce are often simply not sustainable. Sticking to a strict weight loss diet (mainly based on calorie restriction) and an exercise plan for a three-month period is admirable, but not impossible. So what are the dangers I associate with these body transformation challenges?

  1. After completing a strict programme many people feel that it’s only natural to reward themselves for their abstinence. They do this by enjoying everything they avoided for the past few months.
  2. These challenges do not address any underlying behaviour issues but focus only on surface level solutions.
  3. Three months are simply not enough to change your lifelong mindset about exercise and food.
  4. I have seen people who achieved their goals become completely discouraged after the challenge has ended because of the endless struggle to maintain their goal weight.

How are body transformation challenges different to other diets?

They aren’t. This idea is not new. Many people have been able to transform their bodies by focussing on avoiding certain foods and committing to increased exercise. These challenges might just be a bit more extreme in the commitment they require, but yo-yo diets like these have been around for years. Part of the reason that weight-loss challenges have gained so many followers is because they produce fast results. But, on the other hand, followers will probably need to continue doing these challenges if they want to maintain their goal weight! (Just like going on that diet 2 weeks before summer, for the third year in a row…)

If being on a diet is so good for you, why do so many women feel embarrassed by their restraint? No-one wants to be that person at a braai who is obsessing about what she can’t eat, counting out her small portion while everyone else just lives their lives. I know some of the committed “get fitters” who cut back on their socialising to avoid places where they would be tempted by “bad” food. At the end of a 12 week challenge people like that are thrilled because life can go back to normal. Hunger will be a thing of the past now that you’ve reached your goal!

Finally, your life is your own again. But, just like with many other diets, you are now faced with the real life challenge of having to keep your weight down on your own steam. Gone is the support structure you relied on for the past three months. You, and only you, are responsible for your weekly weigh-ins. Believe me, sticking to a stringent weight-loss plan without anyone holding you accountable is extremely difficult.

Say goodbye to dieting and hello to a full and free life!

Can you become thin by following a strict program? Yes, I think we’ve established that you most definitely can. But will you stay at your goal weight after you ease back into your normal way of life six months down the line? The chances are slim. Becoming lean is one thing, but staying lean is another thing. Why are these challenges so appealing to us? I believe there are various reasons.

  • Firstly, the idea of losing a lot of weight in a short space of time is very attractive. When you feel unattractive you want to see change as soon as possible!
  • Secondly, the results achieved by these programs have been widely advertised, which gives people the confidence that they can reach their goals too.
  • Thirdly, people believe that a 12 week program will help to set them up for future success.

This could not be further from the truth. I hope I’ve made it clear that if you want to see lasting results you need to find a way to completely change how you think about, and relate to, yourself, your abilities and the food you eat.

So how do you make changes that will last a lifetime?

That’s where I come in. I will help you transform your body, habits and lifestyle so you can make those healthy choices consistently because I believe the key to living a healthy life lies in the small everyday decisions you make, and in the habits you form. And honestly, there is no need to completely cut out one whole food group for the rest of your life unless you have an intolerance or medical condition!

Take control. Change the rest of your life, and not just the next few months with Absolute Health Online Coaching. I would love to explain to you how we can tackle your weight-loss goals the right way, and set you up for the months and years ahead. So let’s set up a call, or if you would like some more information first why don’t you join our pre-sale list?