A guide to healthy eating in Durban

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.

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