Stretchy pants are advised next weekend. As the Handmade Markets celebrates all things beautiful, locally-made…
I know personally how hard it can be to dine out whilst trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle.
Unless you’re after a side of garden salad, a lot of restaurants don’t have much to offer. Luckily, I’ve found some of Canberra best healthy eateries to share with you, who make it a whole easier to stay on board the health train.
Double Shot, Deakin
Being a foodie, I spend most of time socializing over food at cafes & restaurants here in Canberra. One of my personal favourites is Double Shot in Deakin.
The whole menu is bursting with delicious and healthy meals and drinks, they sure make it a hard decision of what to get! A popular brunch spot located at the Deakin Shops, the menu offers lots of fresh and local produce, and includes many vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free options available.
My favourite is the Acai Bowl, which I generally add a side of their carrot and potato rosti, because it is to die for! (Why choose between sweet or savoury for breakfast when you can have both?!) They also have a dessert cabinet filled with delicious organic, raw and vegan sweet treats.
Double Shot Café | Shop 7 Deakin Court, Deakin | doubleshotdeakin.com.au | Open: 7am – 4pm weekends, 7am – 5pm weekdays
Penny University Coffee Roasters
Penny University is another personal favourite of mine, with lots of healthy and fresh meal options for breakfast and lunch.
Classic smashed avo on rye, black barley porridge and Tasmanian salmon omelette are some of the healthy options you can drool over for breakfast.
If you hadn’t already figured it out by the name, they are also a coffee-roasting house with their own blend & single origin coffee. Penny’s drinks menu also has house-made iced teas, fresh juice, unique shakes as well as super delicious & healthy smoothies.
My favourite is the Warm Breakfast Smoothie, which is made up of natural oats, macadamias, honey, toasted coconut, cinnamon and warm almond milk. If breakfast could give you a warm hug, this is what I imagine it would be like.
The menu caters for vegetarians, and has gluten free and dairy free options available.
Penny University Coffee Roasters | 15 Kennedy Street, Kingston | facebook.com/pennyuniversitycoffeeroasters | Open: 7am – 4pm everyday
The Food Co-Op and Cafe
There’s a certain ‘earthiness’ to this place, but as long as you can embrace sitting on a milk crate or a mismatched couch you’ll be in for a treat. The Food Co-Op aims to source 100% of their food locally in making their famous lunches.
$7 (or $5 if you’re a student) will get you a generous bowl of whatever soup, curry or casserole they have on that day as well as a large chunk of fresh bread. There are homemade pies, delicious vegan cupcakes and cakes and organic Wagonga coffee.
They also share the space with their store which sells whole groceries including local honey, beauty products and organic staples like flour and oil.
The Food Co-Op and Cafe | 3 Kingsley Street, Acton, under the Warrambul UniLodge | foodco-opshop.com.au | Open Cafe: M-F 8am – 2pm Store: M-F 10am – 7pm, S-S 10am – 4pm
The Paleo Café in Braddon has a delicious menu filled with yummy treats all free from gluten, grains, dairy, and refined sugars.
They offer all-day breakfast, a diverse lunch menu and even includes a kid’s menu. Mouth-watering salads, curries, acai bowls, pulled pork breakfast tortillas and a roast veggie stacks are some of the scrumptious things on offer on their menu.
But don’t skip on having a beverage with your meal (or by itself!) as the list is amazing! Salted caramel hot chocolate, signature iced coffee and Matcha latte are some of their delicious drinks on offer.
Paleo Café Canberra City | 44/38 Mort St Braddon | paleo-cafe.com.au | Open: Mon-Sat 7am-5pm, Sun 7am-3pm
Muse at East Hotel
Chef Sam Willis, who comes to Muse from a stint as Head Chef at Newcastle’s iconic seafood restaurant Scratchley’s on the Wharf, says to expect relaxed but sophisticated dining at Muse, where food will be primarily “Fresh…fresh vegetables, seafood, whatever we can get our hands on.”
Café-style breakfasts will be available weekdays, served with locally-roasted Red Brick Espresso coffee. Weekends see things become a little more fancy, with seafood becoming the star at brunch…think oysters and caviar, smoked salmon and crab cakes and more. Sam seemed pretty keen on smoked kippers when we shared our love for ‘fish for breakfast’.
Evenings at Muse revolve around grazing: bar plates, local olives, charcuterie and handmade Australian cheese.
Muse Cafe and Restaurant | 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston | musecanberra.com.au | Open: Mon-Thurs 6.30am-10pm, Fri 6.30am-midnight, Sat 7am-midnight, Sun 7am-6pm
Mountain creek Wholefoods & Organic Kitchen
Mountain Creek Wholefoods is a new style of health food store, with a healthy take-away food bar at the back. The store itself is filled with every kind of health food you could imagine. Endless amount of organic, vegan, gluten free, and raw and super foods – the list goes on! The organic kitchen offers delicious wraps, sandwiches, pies, pastries and drinks.
They also have daily specials which include a wide range of different quiches, salads, gluten free lasagne, gluten free rice balls, and other yummy treats. The kitchen also serves organic chilled, soft-serve yoghurt, which is made in-store. Bonus: its gluten free and super creamy!
Mountain Creek Wholefoods & Organic Kitchen | 14 Barker St, Griffith | mountaincreekwholefoods.com.au | Open Cafe: Mon-Sat 11am-2pm, Store: Mon-Fri 9am–6:30pm, Saturday 9am–4:30pm
Located in Phillip, this local business takes my number one spot. Quizine’s signature dish is a Fit Meal. And I’m impressed. The concept is that you can create your favourite meal by choosing a combination of a protein source, a healthy carbohydrate source, a healthy fat source and some extra sides.
The thing that I like most about this place is that it’s so simple. There are not many places I know that serve up a plate of broccoli, sweet potato, chicken breast, a portion of avo and some sauce on the side. This was my meal on my second visit and again I was impressed.
Quizine | 17 Botany St, Phillip | quizine.net.au | Open: Mon-Fri 7am-4:30pm, Sat 7:30am-2:30pm, closed on Sundays
Local Press is definitely a new favourite of mine. It’s got the whole funky/cosy vibe thing going. Combine this with a delicious whole foods menu and it takes my number two spot.
Set on the trendy new Kingston Foreshore, you can warm up with a hot cup of coffee whilst sitting in the sunlight coming through the windows, looking out over the water. With trendy decor and fit out, it’s genuinely is a really nice place to just sit and enjoy. I’ve been there three times now. If it’s for business and I keep my receipts I can write it off, right?
So let’s get down to business and talk about the food. Oh the food. I love a cooked breakfast. Eggs are one of God’s little gifts to us and you can eat them in so many delicious ways at Local Press.
Local Press pride themselves on offering whole, minimally processed, locally sourced foods and I think they’re doing a pretty good job of that. You can eat a meal with a coffee or juice for $20-$25.
Local Press Cafe | 81 Giles St, Kingston | localpresscafe.com.au | Open: Mon-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm, Sat-Sun 8:00am-4:00pm
Maple & Clove
Set in the beautiful Realm precinct, this wholefoods cafe aims to offer seasonal, locally sourced, minimally processed foods that promote good health. With a sunny outlook and trendy vibe, Maple & Clove takes my third spot.
I was really impressed on my first visit to Maple and Clove. Great food, great vibe, great coffee. Their menu has fabulous variety. They have a vast breakfast menu offering other alternatives to eggs, and then other meal options from salads, soups, burgers and curries.
Overall I liked their whole grain, higher fibre carbohydrate source options and a good portion of their meal options contained a decent amount of vegetables.
Maple & Clove | 7 Burbury Cl, Barton | mapleandclove.com.au | Open: Mon-Fri 7:30am-2:30pm, Sat-Sun 8:30am-2:30pm
Sweet Bones is the funky little vegan, organic cafe just off Lonsdale Street, next to eighty/twenty. It’s a strictly vegan cafe except they do offer full cream milk in their coffee for those of you that only cows milk will do. For the owners of Sweet Bones veganism is a lifestyle, not just an eating pattern.
Their food is sourced from Organic Energy in Griffith and the cafe owners have been vegans themselves for many years, for both ethical and health reasons, however, about 80% of clients who enjoy the whole fresh food are not vegans themselves.
Green smoothies are all the rage right now, and although not the cheapest thing to drink (cost me $8), it’s almost a meal in itself with banana, juice, avocado and kale.
One important note is that Sweet Bones specialises in vegan cakes and treats – just because they’re vegan doesn’t mean they’re particularly healthy. So with all treats, eat and enjoy in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet.
Sweet Bones Company | Shop 8, 18 Lonsdale Street, Braddon| sweetbonescompany.com | Open: Mon-Sat 7:30am-4:00pm, Sun 8:30am-3:00pm
Elemental’s paleo-style cafe located on Lonsdale Street in Braddon, and has people raving about the creations of Aussie Paleo Chef, Daniel Barrett.
From the Breakfast Quesadilla (soft tortilla, coconut cheese, spicy chicken, lime leaf jam fried egg, guacamole and harissa) to the Pork Belly Burger (bacon, fermented vegetables, avocado lemon aioli, sweet potato galette), you don’t have to be a paleo devotee to enjoy the offerings.
Elemental Café | 28 Lonsdale St, Braddon | www.elementalcafe.com | Open: Everyday 6:30am-4:30pm
Eighty/Twenty is a café located in Braddon that promotes the balance of eating 80% good for your food, and 20% decadent “sometimes” foods.
The most important criteria, among others, that a cafe needs to meet to be classified as ‘healthy’ is the vegetable content of its dishes. In my opinion, regardless of what else you eat, an adequate intake of vegetables each day is one of the best indicators of long term good health.
Eighty/Twenty has a fabulous range of vegetable based dishes from salads, sushi, and meals like ‘The Hulk’ green bowl.
The meals are also really unique in their combinations and flavours, which I really like. I wouldn’t make a trout and asparagus dish at home, so it’s nice to get something healthy and fancy like this when I eat out.
Eighty/Twenty Food Braddon | 1/18 Lonsdale St, Braddon | eightytwentyfood.com.au | Open: Mon- Sat 6:00am-4:00pm, Sun 7:00am-4:00pm
This place blew my expectations out of the water. I really liked SpudBar.
It was whole, fresh, simple food that tasted great. I was a little put off initially with paying $13 for what essentially is a loaded potato, however, it was totally worth it.
It had just the right amount of toppings, lots of vegetables and fantastic flavour. You don’t have to choose one of the pre-determined spuds. You can be totally unique and build your own spud from their toppings bar. I think I’m going do that next time I go back.
Spudbar Canberra | Shop 1 Garema Centre, 70-84 Bunda Street, Canberra | spudbar.com.au | Open: Mon- Thurs 11:00am-7:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-8:00pm, Sun 11:00am-3:00pm
My Rainbow Dreams
My Rainbow Dreams is a vegetarian Café located at the Dickson shops, has a delicious menu packed with nourishing, fresh vegetables.
Their cafe has a unique, new age Hindu-type feel with friendly, smiley staff and unpretentious decor. The vibe, however, was amazing because it was absolutely buzzing with people. It’s the underlying rule for choosing a food outlet—never eat in an empty cafe.
My favourite is the Haloumi Burger, its on a wholemeal sourdough with grilled haloumi, pesto, hummus, roasted capsicum and lettuce. Some of my favourite ingredients! It was one of the most delicious burgers I’ve eaten in a long time. I also love the ‘Immune Boost’ (orange, strawberry, kiwi, carrot and lemon), juice.
For the next time I visit, I’ve already got my eyes on the Rainbow Wrap, rice paper rolls, the Indian spiced lentil burger, the gourmet salad bowl… Actually I’m going to work my way through the entire menu. Feel free to join me.
My Rainbow Dreams | Dickson Pl, Dickson | myrainbowdreams.com.au | Open: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 8:30am-5:30pm, Wed, Sat, Sun 8:30am-4:00pm
Nutrition Station is a very unique food outlet inside Fitness First in the city. It’s not your typical healthy cafe and you don’t go there for coffee and a good meal.
It’s a tiny little fitout, next to the group fitness area so you can hear the peppy personal trainer hollering enthusiastically at her minions while you order your superfood smoothie.
Nutrition Station is a reasonably new franchise popping up all over Australia that sells a range of products targeted at gym goers and those living an active lifestyle. They sell things like protein shakes and smoothies, protein pancakes, protein oats and other foodie products with protein in them.
Nutrition Station | Inside Fitness First, Ground Level, Canberra Centre, Bunda St Canberra City | nutritionstation.com | Open: Mon-Fri 8:00am-6:00pm, Sat 9:00am-2:00pm, Closed Sundays.