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:

http://treenatural.co.za/

 

La Lucia and Umhlanga

Nouriti

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:

http://www.nouriti.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nouritihealthcafe/

 

Glenwood

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:

https://www.facebook.com/earthmotherorganic/

 

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:

https://www.facebook.com/ConsciousCafeHillcrest/

 

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

Kauai

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?

Durban

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:

https://www.tastefreedom.co.za/tablet/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/pg/freedomcafedurban/about/?ref=page_internal

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.

 

Hillcrest

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:

https://www.facebook.com/chilliplum/

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.

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.

Breakfast

https://www.buzzfeed.com/joeyfiroben/these-egg-muffin-cups-are-the-easiest-make-ahead-breakfast

Lunch/ Dinner

http://girladulting.com/quick-curried-chickpea-wraps/
https://blog.thatcleanlife.com/cleaned-up-creamy-butter-chicken-with-cauliflower-rice/
http://www.eazypeazymealz.com/greek-chicken-bowls-meal-prep-easy/
https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/curried-chickpea-bowls/
http://www.theendlessmeal.com/creamy-coconut-lentil-curry/