IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, SPAS HAVE GARNERED A REPUTATION FOR OFFERING DELICIOUS yet healthy fare. Long gone are the days of the ubiquitous fat farm where starvation was the name of the game. Instead, spa cuisine in its many interpretations—low calorie, low fat, organic, vegetarian, or a combination thereof—has emerged as an important part of creating a healthier lifestyle. Many of today's popular destination spas have proven fertile training ground for a fresh crop of chefs focused on creating flavorful dishes that not only taste good but are also good for you.
Because it's important to give spa-goers the tools necessary to enact lasting change in their lives, many spas offer cooking demonstrations and classes so guests can continue eating healthy once they've returned home. A host of spas have also introduced cookbooks, many from their star chefs, that share their philosophies on eating right. Check out the following cookbooks and find out what some top spas are cooking up:
Bring the Ranch home with Canyon Ranch Cooks: More than 200 Delicious, Innovative Recipes from America's Leading Health Resort (Rodale Press). In collaboration with on-staff nutritionists, executive chefs Barry Correia and Scott Uehlein reveal how to eat a healthy and balanced diet using fresh, seasonal produce and foods free of additives and preservatives. From losing weight to having more energy, they teach readers how to listen to their bodies. The easy-to-prepare recipes each come with nutritional information, such as calories, carbohydrates, fats, cholesterol, and more.
Turkey breast medallions with blackberry sauce from Canyon Ranch
Chiva-Som: Natural Way to Healthy Eating and Living (The Post Publishing Public Company Limited) shares the well-renowned Thai spa's philosophy that eating properly is key to achieving true health and harmony. This lavishly illustrated guide includes numerous recipes from Chiva-Som that have been developed to provide the body with the right amount of fuel to operate at the most efficient level. Using fresh fish, free-range poultry, and lean red meat, the recipes rely on flavorful ingredients rather than additives and rich sauces.
From Steamed Prawn Dumplings to Vegetable Moussaka, the book includes fat and calorie counts for each of the recipes featured.
Tofu pie from Chiva-Som
In The Golden Door Cooks Light & Easy: Delicious Recipes from America's Premier Spa (Gibbs Smith, Publisher), chef Michel Stroot, the first spa chef ever nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award, offers healthy and nutritious recipes that are both delicious and satisfying. Focused on using ingredients that are in season, he shares tips for enhancing flavor while cooking without butter and unnecessary fats.
This innovative cookbook features recipes for all occasions.
Grilled salmon with three salsas from the Golden Door
Chef Terry Conlan shares more than 200 recipes in the beautifully illustrated Fresh: Healthy Cooking and Living from Lake Austin Spa Resort (Lake Austin Spa Resort). Shrimp and Nopal Cactus Salad, Tortilla-Crusted Gulf Snapper, and Collapsed Chocolate Soufflé Cake are just a few of the many dishes featured.
Complete with various tips on gardening, fitness, and overall well-being, this versatile cookbook includes recipes inspired by cuisine found around the world.
Pan-roasted chicken with peach and bourbon glaze from Lake Austin
The result of numerous requests from guests and foodies around the world, The Six Senses Cookbook (Archipelago Press) features the culinary highlights from various Six Senses resorts in Asia. The recipes in this gastronomic guide are divided into one of several categories: Bites, One Course, Two Courses, Three Courses, Family Style, Vegetarian, and Spa. From Silken Tofu & Shiitake Mushrooms with Green Vegetables at Evason Phuket Resort & Spa in Thailand to Marinated Scallops with Celery & Mango Sushi at Ana Mandara Resort & Spa in Vietnam, the innovative recipes offer a sampling of Asia's regional cuisine.
Curried lobster tail, soft potato rouille with cumin-crusted filo pastry, and artichoke salad from Sila Evason Hideway & Spa in Samui, Thailand