When you spend your holiday in Amsterdam, you’re meant to indulge. The sights, sounds, smells and flavours of the country and its culture are there to enjoy and savour. But after a few days of nothing but tasty treats and desserts — bitterballen, oliebollen and stroopwafels, to name a few — your body may need some food of the healthy variety.
Luckily in Amsterdam, healthy restaurants are as plentiful as its snack shops. Once your morning sightseeing is done, sit down at one of these top healthy lunch spots in Amsterdam for a meal that won’t make you feel so guilty.
At The Meets, the menu follows a simple rule of using 80% plant-based foods and 20% animal produce — but everything, they say, is 100% delicious! The Meets uses local and often organic ingredients that contain no additives or refined sugars, but they don’t shy away from meat, either. While the lunch menu features vegetarian items like the jam-packed green falafel wrap, combining beetroot, carrot and a lemony mint yoghurt sauce, non-vegetarians can still enjoy a juicy beef burger with all the fixings. Go even lighter and munch on some snacks such as beetroot balls, a healthy version of the Dutch favourite bitterballen.
The Meets, Cornelis Troostplein 3
At SLA, you get love in a bowl. The restaurant, whose flagship venue is located in De Pijp, opened in 2013 with the mission of getting everyone to experience the joy of healthy eating. You can order online for takeaway, but the relaxing, muted interior of SLA’s shops is just too inviting. The menu naturally features a variety of salads — sla means ‘salad’ in Dutch — such as the Indian tempeh bowl or the smoked mackerel salad, but if none of the shop’s favourites make you salivate, you can build your own. Choose from a wide variety of lettuce, dressing, grains and beans, veggies and add-ins such as goat cheese or teriyaki chicken. Besides the salads, SLA offers soups, hummus, smoothies, juice and desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.
SLA, Ceintuurbaan 149 and other locations
You don’t even have to stop shopping and sightseeing when you visit Pluk for lunch — not only is it a lunchroom, it’s a shop filled with unique home décor and accessories. After admiring Pluk’s wares, you can take a seat upstairs at one of the few tables to enjoy a meal from the surprisingly long menu. Dig into the Happy Healthy Salad, filled with quinoa and fresh vegetables, or chow down on a smashed avocado and poached egg sandwich. Down at the bar, order a refreshing freshly pressed juice such as the Veggie & Fruity, a mix of spinach and exotic fruits, or a hot turmeric latte.
Pluk, Reestraat 19
Get your juice fix at Lite/Dark, a juice bar and lunch spot located in the centre of the city. Lite/Dark makes all its juices right on the spot — you won’t find any cold-pressed juices here. The drinks menu features tons of fruit or veggie energy shakes, raw chocolate shakes and power shots such as the ginger lemon chili shot to revitalise your body. If you’re looking for something a little heartier, Lite/Dark offers a homemade and organic lunch menu featuring power balls and bars, energy lunch bowls and ‘energy packages’: the anti-hangover package is perfect for those that partied a little too hard in Amsterdam, comprising a quiche or veggie muffin, power ball and a much-needed anti-hangover shake.
Lite/Dark, Utrechtsestraat 22
Its name says it all: there’s no sugar (or unhealthy sweeteners, colour additives or preservatives) at Sugarless. Serving organic foods made fresh daily, this lunchroom makes healthy eating even more exciting. Pair a fresh sandwich with the daily vegetarian soup, and wash it all down with an invigorating juice containing a superfood such as barley grass or goji berry. While much of the menu is vegetarian or vegan, there are some options for meat lovers: the Hamburger Luxe and grilled chicken sandwich with sprouts are both healthy and delicious. Head over with friends for the High Tea Ligh’tea, where you can enjoy a pot of tea and petit fours, or go all out and reserve a spot for the High Tea Special.
Sugarless, Bilderdijkstraat 92
Juice & Salad
Opened in 2012, this young lunchroom has since expanded to three locations where it offers its fresh juices and complex salads packed with all the goodness of organic produce and protein. The owners, a pair of self-described “farm boys”, serve up their farm’s own produce in salads based on regions of the world, with each salad echoing the flavours of the land. The European salad features a medley of spinach, red onion, avocado and vega bacon — but you can make it a meal with added quinoa. Go down under with the Australian, a salad of lentils, beetroot and macadamia. Despite its name, Juice & Salad offers more than just lettuce and drinks, with sandwiches and energising yoghurts also on the menu.
Juice & Salad, Vijzelstraat 135 and other locations
Beter & Leuk
Everything is better at Beter & Leuk, a lunch hotspot that focuses not just on healthy eating but healthy living. In addition to its menu of organic, vegetarian and vegan dishes, the lunchroom offers workshops that feature cooking and yoga lessons all wrapped up into one. After you try out one of their dishes such as bibimbap, a Korean rice bowl with tempeh, or the Dutch Weed Burger, a soybean patty with kombu, you can learn how to make meals just as healthy and delicious. Reserve a spot with friends at a Classic or Healthy High Tea, where you’ll be served either an assortment of sandwiches and a hearty surprise or salad and soup with a selection of homemade sweets.
Beter & Leuk, Eerste Oosterparkstraat 91
Plant yourself down at Roots, a takeaway lunchroom and juice bar that offers wholesome food and drinks to get your body going. Grab a hearty bowl of roasted vegetables, nuts and cheese to get energised for the rest of the day, or keep it light with a mango, feta and cucumber wrap. The menu also features seasonal dishes, all of which are free of sugar and additives; in addition, many dishes can be made vegetarian, vegan or dairy-free. Need a little pick-me-up? Ask for some coconut water, and you’ll get it straight from the shell — with a straw, of course!
Roots, Heisteeg 8 and other locations
With three locations, you can enjoy healthy but hearty food at Vinnies anywhere in Amsterdam. Each of the three locations specialises in something different: head to the Haarlemmerstraat for a filling salad or to Scheldstraat for a strong drink or a glass of wine. Earlier in the day, you can stop by Nieuwezijds Kolk for a traditional English breakfast. Whichever location you end up at, you’ll receive the same high-quality organic food sourced from local vendors. Special dishes such as Japanese ramen bowl from the chef or a gluten-free cauliflower frittata are available for those who want something a little different than your typical veggie salad.
Vinnies, Haarlemmerstraat 46 and other locations
YAY Health Store & More
Food has never been so fresh at YAY Health Store & More, where all dishes on the vegan menu feature organic, raw vegetables and fruits. None of the menu items at this restaurant/shop/yoga classroom is cooked above 42 degrees Celsius, which the YAY staff says keeps the precious nutrients intact — a great way to help your body recharge after long, exhausting days of touring the City. But the menu isn’t all crunchy carrots and broccoli; some of YAY’s signature dishes include the mouth-watering banana toffee pie, topped with cashew cream, and a rich chocolate mousse pie with berry jam.
YAY Health Store & More, Gerard Doustraat
Looking for completely meat-free eateries? Check out some of Amsterdam’s top vegetarian and vegan restaurants.