New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published June 22nd 2016
Update March 21st 2017
The Paleo Cafe, first on this list, has now changed its name to Tallow and Thyme and still provides paleo, gluten free and delicious healthy options.
Start your day feeling energised
For many people in Canberra, a healthy lifestyle is something we all seek. All you have to do is have a look at the running tracks and cycleways around the city each morning to find Canberrans leading active and healthy lifestyles. On weekends, cafes are full of diners enjoying healthy breakfasts and leisurely lunches in the city and local suburbs. Almost every café in Canberra has at least a few healthy options to choose from on their menu's - however some are more healthier than others.
Following is a quick guide of where to find several of Canberra's most healthy cafes in the city, north and south of Canberra. Whichever you choose, they will have the same healthy philosophy - guaranteed to start your day with wholesome goodness that your body craves.
Paleo Cafe base their menu on the Paleo lifestyle, with followers eating as nature intended and only eating foods that cavemen ate before the modern lifestyle took over. Although there is meat, there is no bread, dairy, grains, legumes, artificial sugars, preservatives or anything that was developed after this time. This colourful café is a street over from the busy Lonsdale Street and has bright colours, delicious food and amazing coffee (although there is no sugar on the table, however you can ask for it). See here for all the Paleo Café details and see menu here.
Eighty Twenty Café is located on Lonsdale Street and its name refers to its philosophy of eating healthy 80% of the time and allowing 20% for indulges so you don't feel deprived. Their menu is exceptionally healthy and particularly popular, with tables filling up fast each weekend. Choose from soups, real food salad boxes, smoothies, acai bowls, rice paper rolls, wraps and salads. See here for all the Eighty Twenty details and see menu here.
SWEET BONES BAKERY CAFE – Retro & Organic Sweet Bones is located only a couple of doors down from Eighty Twenty above and has a different ethos to their menu. All their food in the café and Bakery is wholly made from organic, cruelty free and vegan produce. They advocate that organic food contains higher levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes than found in conventional foods. They have a vast range of spectacular cakes, however it is the creative delights off the menu that are the healthiest of all. See here for all the Sweet Bones details and here for their menu.
NORTH SIDE OF CANBERRA
MY RAINBOW DREAMS - Authentic & Nourishing My Rainbow Dreams is a vegetarian café owned and operated by students of Sri Chinmoy, a renowned Indian spiritual leader. They "strive to serve food that is nourishing to both body and soul, in keeping with our belief that inner and outer wellbeing go together". The staff behind the counter wear saris and the small café emanates peace and tranquillity. It is the food however, that shines even more. Their burgers, wraps, curries, salads and soups are full of colour, taste and wholesome goodness. This café is cash only. See here for all the My Rainbow Dreams details and here for the menu.
AS NATURE INTENDED - Traditional & Homely Do you love the smell when you walk into a Health Food Shop? This is what hits you as you walk into this shop and café at Belconnen Fresh Food Markets. As Nature Intended is a health food shop primarily, with a café located inside it with several tables and a comfy couch to relax on. Sit back and look out the front window or at the shelves of wholesome ingredients that you can buy afterwards. The small café caters for a range of intolerances and offers healthy quiches, pies, salads and breakfasts. See here for all the As Nature Intended details.
LOCAL PRESS – Natural & Relaxed A short drive south of the city is the Kingston Foreshore, which is a stretch of restaurants and cafes on Lake Burley Griffin. There are a host of healthy options along the foreshore, in particular Local Press café who has a wholesome approach to their menu. A little on the pricier side, the meals all contain a wide range of vitamin enriched natural foods, local produce where possible and they use free-range hormone-free proteins. See here for all the Local Press details and here for the menu.
QUIZINE - Raw & Colourful Last, but certainly not least, is Quizine - a healthy café located in the industrial suburb of Phillip, across the road from a large gym. This café is designed for people to enjoy healthy food after a gym workout, whilst in training or at any time for overall health. Their Fit Meals are particularly popular with local office workers, for a healthy lunchtime meal. See here for all the Quizine details and here for the menu.
If you are looking for healthy, organic, vegetarian and sustainable options in particular, ensure you check out the Living Green Festival at Albert Hall each year, for delicious food to eat on the day and to also take home.
Being healthy is more than what you eat, it extends to how you feel about yourself and the levels of energy you can achieve. I personally enjoy the 80/20 ethos of the café in Braddon, so I can have my (carrot) cake and eat it too. In Winter, it is so easy to eat heavy, so it can be a real effort to eat healthy and light - but the energy rewards are proving to be worth it. When fresh local Canberra produce looks this good - why would you want to eat anything else?