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A plate of Egyptian street food.
Photograph: Jack Ailwood

Healthy eats that don't suck and where to find them in Sydney

Carrots and hummus are fine but we can do better.

Maxim Boon
Elizabeth McDonald
Edited by
Maxim Boon
Written by
Elizabeth McDonald

Let's face it, a lot of us are eating and drinking our feelings at the moment (pizzas and chicken and beers, oh my). That's totally fine, but as lockdown drags on, your bod might be craving sustenance of a slightly more healthy variety right about now. 

All that calorific, carby goodness absolutely has its place but in order to eat well and feel well, balance is key. We’ve all filled our fridges with carrot sticks and quinoa salads in virtuous moments, swearing up and down that this is the week we turn it all around. Cut to three hungry days later when all of that clean-eating energy goes flying out the window the second someone mentions cake in the staff room.

But what if we told you that there’s a better way to eat healthily? While we’re absolutely not here to give you health advice and we wouldn’t dream of asking you to give up your favourite comfort foods, these top healthy dishes in Sydney prove that eating well can be just as satisfying when you know where to look. 

Keep that health kick going with one of these great online workouts.

Where to find the best healthy eats in Sydney

What to order: the salad sandwich

An experience at Malibu has often been compared to Seinfeld's 'soup-nazi' episode. You're in, you're out, expect few pleasantries and leave with a life-changing meal. The opening hours are very limited, payment is cash only, and if you can even find the place - tucked away in a pokey alley behind a tattoo parlour in Surry Hills - you are in for a good time.

The sandwiches themselves are notoriously generous and sure, there are plenty of less-than-healthy options but don't overlook the salad sandwich when hunger strikes. Slices of cheese, grated carrots, loads of avocado, thickly sliced tomato and iceberg lettuce might sound a little like rabbit food but the sheer quantity and the vinaigrette they're tossed in means this isn't your standard salad sando. Missing the meat? Add some ham for a protein hit.

Right now, orders for pick-up are available.

Sydney Fish Markets
Photograph: G Fonne

Sydney Fish Markets

What to order: the freshest fish in town

While in the past you would have to make a trip to the fishmongers to get the catch of the day, a new seafood delivery service from GetFish (formerly Di Costi's) has got you covered for fresh fish, dropped on your doorstep.

You may have to plan a little bit ahead to get your order, but it's well worth it, especially if you're the type who prefers line-caught tuna sashimi or a dozen just-shucked pacific oysters to a deep-fried mystery fish with a side of sweaty chips. Vibrant coral trout, protein-packed barramundi fillets and cooked green prawns are some of the myriad fruits of the sea available to be cooked however you please. Fresh is best, after all.


What to order: Chana dal bowl

Long time favourite for Marrickville vegetarians and vegans is Two Chaps, an open-plan eatery serving up delicious plant-based dishes that are so good you won't miss the meat. Vegan doesn't always necessarily equal healthy though, which isn't a bad thing – Two Chaps' window counter teems with sticky housemade Danish pastries and buttery croissants.

But if you're in search of something to wash away your calorie sins, opt for the chanda dal bowl with roasted pumpkin, charred Brussels sprouts, pickled beetroot, smoked almonds and sprigs of mint.

There's a whole load of takeaway options as well as cook-at-home meal boxes available right now to leave you feeling light and healthy. 

What to order: whole steamed fish

Despite a reputation for drawing hungry drunks in like moths to the flame, Golden Century is also one of the city's top restaurants for tank-to-wok seafood feasts. So popular is the Sussex Street mothership that it has franchised to two other locations across the city, XOPP and the Century. The beauty of dining out on fresh seafood is that you can really take advantage of more delicate cooking methods like poaching or steaming. The steamed silver perch is a particularly shining example that simple is often best. Ginger, spring onion and slightly sweetened soy sauce is all this baby needs. And until we can stumble there again in person after a few too many cocktails in the city, you can still get your Golden Century fix courtesy of fine dining delivery service, Providoor


What to order: basically everything

The 'pay-as-you-feel' Newtown institution, Lentil as Anything has amassed a loyal and colourful following since opening its doors back in 2014. The restaurant/community hub aims to provide an inclusive space where everyone is welcome and has no set menu or set price. Patrons are encouraged to pay what they can (though there is a guide plastered on the wall to let patrons know what will cover costs) and can even volunteer if money is a little tight.

The whole vegetarian and vegan menu is announced daily on their Instagram and is based on whole grains, creative use of vegetables and flavours from around the globe. Diners can expect to find dishes like mushroom and potato adobo with lemongrass and soy, chickpea masala wraps with salad, and Arabian stew with dumplings called Marguk. 

Orders are available to take away or for delivery via Uber Eats.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Balmain

What to order: banana pudding

Plot twist: not all healthy snacks are rabbit food. At this pastry palace in Balmain, the walls are stacked with delicious treats that are totally gluten-free, with vegan and dairy-free options available as well. The kitchen, which hosts some of the best pastry chefs in Sydney, turns out a mouth-watering roster of dessert delights, and since last year, the Nútie team has perfected its delivery game to make getting a sweet fix without the guilt even easier.

There are a lot of options to drool over, from vegan smores to Nútie's legendary doughnut cake, but for our money, we suggest you invest in one of the banana puddings. Not only is it gluten and dairy-free, it's also packed with succulent chunks of real banana, so that's one of your five-a-day sorted. You can order for both delivery and pick up from both the Balmain and Surry Hills outlets. 

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