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6 great spots to get a healthy meal in the Winelands

After all the indulging in December, it’s natural to want to pare down your eating habits in early 2018. So we’ve gathered the restaurants in the winelands that offer guilt-free options, gluten- and dairy-free meals, and use organic produce so you can take it down a notch while still enjoying eating out.

Babel at Babylonstoren (Franschhoek)

Breakfast at Babel Restaurant is the stuff of dreams for those doing a low-carb diet. The farm breakfast comes with flame-grilled boerewors, oven-roasted tomato and onion, grilled bacon, flash-fried mushrooms and greens with a free-range farm egg. The chef’s breakfast changes daily but is a modern and healthy take on the traditional. Enjoy a red, green or yellow juice alongside, or the super green booster juice made with foraged greens like wheatgrass and spekboom. If you’re going for lunch, enjoy one of the colour-coded salads featuring ingredients like broad beans, green strawberries, candied rhubarb, radishes and papaya. For dessert you could go for the lavender meringue sandwich with matcha tea ice cream and candied summer flowers.

Betty Blue Bistro (Hermanus)

This bright gem in the heart of Hermanus offers up a great, wholesome menu to kick-start your year. Choose one of the healthy breakfasts like the Green Brekkie with steamed veg, poached eggs, basil pesto, avo and almonds, or Betty’s Health Tart with muesli, yoghurt, fresh fruit and honey. If you stop in for lunch, try one of the colourful seasonal salads made with beetroot, yellow peppers, or long-stem broccoli. Wash it down with one of the nutritious rainbow juices that come in yellow (orange, carrot, apple and ginger), red (beetroot, carrot, orange and mint) and green (apple, cucumber, spinach, mint and lemon). You might want to reward yourself for all the good behaviour with a lemon meringue pancake. Trust us, you should follow that urge.

A colourful spread at Betty Blue Bistro. Photo supplied.

Big Dog Café (Franschhoek)

This café can certainly go big – with items like the Big Dog burger or the buttermilk fried chicken and waffles – but it also has lighter fare. Opt for the vegan granola: apricot and coconut yoghurt topped with crisp granola, a chia compote and fresh fruit. The Big Dog Whole Bowl is filled with whole grains, seasonal vegetables, leafy greens, local cheese, toasted nuts or seeds, and a house-made espresso vinaigrette. Pair your meal with a superfood latte made with turmeric, beetroot and cocoa, or matcha, wheatgrass and peppermint. Vegans and the lactose intolerant will also be happy to know that that they can substitute the cow’s milk in any hot drink for almond milk.

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Eight at Spier (Stellenbosch)

Everything on the menu is planned around produce that’s grown or farmed at Spier according to biodynamic practices. The small, simple, farm-to-table menu changes constantly but could include offerings of sweet-potato gnocchi, a garden salad with toasted sunflower seeds, a grilled chicken Caesar salad, a beetroot salad, and a twice-baked spinach soufflé. Enjoy with freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices.

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Meraki (Stellenbosch)

It’s not only about baked treats at this pretty, award-winning eatery. Begin your day with coconut, honey and almond granola with plain yoghurt and a swirl of honey, or a seasonal fruit bowl with seeds and honey. For lunch, go for one of the power bowls filled with protein-loaded grains, veggies, nuts and cheeses. There’s a range of classic salads and wraps, as well as the chickpea-and-quinoa burger, which is topped with aioli and marinated brinjal and comes with sweet-potato fries. Also try the seasonal plate of Mediterranean veggies topped with home-made basil pesto.

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The Table at De Meye (Stellenbosch)

Luke and Jessica Shepherd are the formidable team behind this restaurant, the first winner of the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award. They make guests feel at home with their honest hospitality and food that’s down to earth, unpretentious and absolutely scrumptious. Be assured that each ingredient has come from their vegetable garden or from a local farm or producer. The three-course menu changes weekly but past menus have included starters of an onion-and-fennel tart with a baby leaf salad; mains of beef and pumpkin barley risotto; and dessert of nectarine sorbet with raspberries and toasted almonds.

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