Expanded waistlines are often the biggest souvenir travellers bring home after their holiday – but help is at hand! The Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, long-renowned for its culinary variety, is increasingly putting healthy eating on the menu. A growing number of restaurants are specialising in healthy food to help visitors stay in their preferred shape.
Here's a selection:
Elements, Eagle Beach
Only natural ingredients are used here. The restaurant is part of the exclusive and romantic eco-friendly Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts and is located on the award-winning Eagle Beach. Elements has a varied menu, also catering for vegans and offering gluten-free options. A popular dish is the stir aragula with garlic and Chardonnay risotto (a delicious vegetarian version is also available), enriched with herbs, cream and parmesan cheese.
Top choice for healthy eaters. Here you can enjoy dishes such as a quinoa salad with harissa, roasted peppers, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate or there's a superfood salad with kale, edamame, avocado and alfalfa. Their veggie burger is renowned. Located in downtown Oranjestad, Yemanja features a wood-burning grill whose heat level is so high that meat, fish and even vegetarian grill dishes are exceptionally juicy and tender. The cosy patio with outdoor lamps and palm trees completes the atmosphere.
Life is Beautiful
Life is Beautiful is a new hotspot on Aruba and is run by a Dutch/Aruban couple. Located in a hidden spot between Palm Beach and Eagle Beach it features fixtures and fittings made from recycled wood, reminiscent of a bohemian-style beach club. All dishes are made with natural ingredients and the restaurant has set itself the goal to give back to the local community, with diners' payments directly contributing to various social projects.
Garden Fresh Café
The healthy holiday lifestyle continues with a daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Visit organic café Garden Fresh at Playa Linda on Palm Beach for delicious smoothies, healthy burritos, wraps and salads. A popular salad is one of shrimps, avocado, palm hearts, carrots and romaine lettuce. This fresh salad is washed down with Blueberry Booster, a smoothie made from blueberries, banana, cucumber, spinach and rice milk. At Garden Fresh you can also create your own salad.
The old saying 'breakfast like a king, lunch like a pauper' can be put into practice at Ike's Bistro. It is part of the spa and wellness resort, Manchebo Beach, where you wake to a delicious but healthy breakfast. The extensive buffet includes homemade muesli, Greek yoghurt, fresh and dried fruit, delicious marinated vegetables, egg dishes and freshly-baked breads, muffins and bagels. There is also an extensive smoothie menu and a la carte options include an asparagus omelette with goat cheese and spring onion. The restaurant is open to non-residents.
Side Bar Bistro
This stylish yet comfortable bistro in Renaissance Marketplace in capital Oranjestad offers fresh salads and soups in addition to its speciality burgers. Just to tempt you, a carefully selected bar menu features a vast selection of bourbons and an ample wine list.
Fresh local catches of the day are served with traditional island side dishes at this casual outdoor eatery in Orange Plaza, just off the main highway near the hotel area.