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Getting the Dish: Gourmet Spa Cuisine

Destination spas revamp menus for healthy, gourmet meals

Coffee Crusted Sirloin with Jalapeno Red-Eye Gravy – does that sound like spa cuisine? It is! Bold, flavorful, and satisfying, spa cuisine has evolved to become some of the best food around. Not just the best healthy food, but the best tasting food in the country today, thanks to creative chefs and nutritionists.

"The focus is no longer placed on calories... but rather on quality whole foods that have been minimally processed and simply prepared."

Michelle Kleist, a registered dietician and executive director of Destination Spa Group says, "Spa Lifestyle Cuisine is a mindful approach to eating that offers a healthy balanced eating plan under the disguise of fresh, interesting, tasty, and satisfying entrees and snacks.
 
Following a lifelong healthy eating plan is a great alternative to the diet rollercoaster craze. According to Professor Mary Tabacchi, Ph.D., R.D., of Cornell University, "Moderation is key to the optimal healthy diet, while deprivation is dangerous. People who incorporate Spa Lifestyle Cuisine into their daily routine and combine it with a sensible exercise program and stress management techniques are predisposed to have a high quality, energetic life."
 
The creative and appetizing menus at Destination Spas highlight the chefs’ culinary expertise and personal influences, rivaling gourmet restaurants. For example, appetizing gourmet menu selections from spas include: Wildberry Oat Scones, Fresh Tuna and Corn Salad, Ginger Coconut Soup, Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo, Grilled Salmon with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Cheese Ravioli with Almond Pesto and Sweet Potato Cheesecake.

Kleist says that today’s spa chefs give serious consideration to the food’s origin, seasonality, and nutritional value as well as the complete culinary experience. "It is enjoyable, practical, and satisfying to all of the senses – aromatic, beautiful and flavorful – as well as adequately nourishing the body." 
 
Dietitians from several of DSG member spas collectively developed the guiding principles of Spa Lifestyle Cuisine. All DSG member spas serve Spa Lifestyle Cuisine exclusively and offer practical ideas for guests to implement the cuisine into everyday living. As part of the take-home habit approach, Destination Spas offer interactive and practical activities such as instructional cooking classes, hands-on gardening programs and market tours, as well as several educational programs and professional health consultations.
 
For those ready to start the Spa Lifestyle Cuisine at home today, Destination Spa cookbooks and recipes are available here.  

11 Key Components of Spa Lifestyle Cuisine:

  1. Promotes optimal health and well being through a sensible strategy for life long healthy eating habits.

  2. Exemplifies variety, moderation, and balance through the entire menu.

  3. Features seasonally fresh, clean, whole foods with high nutritive value and minimal processing such as:

    i. Whole grains, legumes, and beans.
    ii. Brightly colored fresh fruits & vegetables.
    iii. Lean protein sources.
    iv. Lean dairy or calcium-rich non-dairy sources.
    v. Fresh herbs, minimize added salt.
    vi. Clean water.
    vii. Monounsaturated fats, omega-3 source, minimize saturated and trans-fats.
    viii. Limit sugar and artificial sweeteners

  4. Uses natural and innovative substitutions to create healthier food options.

  5. Emphasizes mindful portion sizes and regularly patterned eating.

  6. Utilizes preparation and cooking methods that maximizes and enhances the beauty, flavor, texture and nutrition of the food.

  7. Exemplifies self sufficiency in the kitchen through practical cooking methods that can be replicated at home.

  8. Fulfills individual nutrition parameters and preferences.

  9. Pleasurable and satisfying to all senses.

  10. Embraces and incorporates credible nutrition.

  11. Incorporates and promotes the sustainability of agricultural resources.

(Source: Destination Spa Group)

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