This last week, my husband and I went on vacation with friends. We rented a condo so that we could cook breakfast and dinner instead of spending a lot of money at restaurants. While putting together our grocery list, my friend stated ‘I don’t want any spa food’ in a somewhat negative and judgmental way, implying that was all I ate. I was a bit taken a back. Although I eat healthy food most of the time, I enjoy indulging once in awhile…and especially on vacation. Further, my friend eats healthy herself, insisting on well-balanced meals with lots of veggies and fruit, so I didn’t understand what the big protest was all about.
Then it dawned on me. Spa food or in more common terms ‘Spa Cuisine’ is highly misunderstood. It has a bad reputation of being flavorless, unfulfilling and boring. The reality is that spa cuisine can be quite delicious. Although the definition of spa cuisine may differ slightly from spa to spa, there are some general characteristics you can count on, and trust me, all are positive:
- Natural Ingredients: Processed and refined foods are minimized and instead, spa cuisine uses fresh and natural ingredients that are good for you and are whole in nature.
- Seasonal Appropriate: Most spa cuisine menus incorporate in-season ingredients. Some spas may even grow their own produce. This ensures that the ingredients are always available and are as fresh as possible.
- Colorful: Often, meals served at spas are very colorful. The more color that is on your plate, the more you are eating diversified nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, colorful plates are more aesthetically appealing and promise to be more appetizing.
- Well-balanced and Nutritious: Meals served at spas often concentrate on providing balance and variety in the dishes they serve. They want to ensure that guests get a good balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) in their meal. Each calorie you consume is meant to provide you with healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
- Quality Ingredients: You can be sure that the food you eat is high in quality. Protein sources will be lean and will come from both animals and plants. Carbohydrates will be unrefined, and will include fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. And incorporated fats will be of the healthiest types, including olive oil, sunflower and canola oils.
- Taste and Flavor: As opposed to focusing on delivering large quantities of mediocre tasting food (think Chinese Buffet), spa cuisine focuses on satiating your appetite by delivering appropriately portioned dishes that are high in quality, taste and flavor.
- Uniqueness and Creativity: Spas often create recipes that use spices and ingredients that are a bit nontraditional. Additionally, when it comes to indulgences and dessert, they come up with creative ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without causing major impact to your waistline or sacrificing taste.
So next time you are about to turn your nose up to spa cuisine, think again. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Have you tried spa cuisine? What did you think and where did you have it?
- Healthy Eating: Diet or Lifestyle?
- Healthy Recipes for Healthy Eating
- Your Guide to Spa-Going
- What is Your Excuse for Eating Bad Food?
- Why Counting Calories is Overrated