Healthy Guide to MANAGUA

Staying healthy everywhere you go is always a challenge, particularly in those cities where it’s still hard to find healthy food on-the-go. Even if you have the luxury of always eating at home and cooking your meals, finding a good variety of healthy ingredients is not always easy. Even more challenging is when we’re pressed for time, or have a lot of social events, and are forced to eat out a lot. Staying healthy and slim becomes extremely difficult.

So I’ve made it a point to explore every place around me that can help to keep my life a bit healthier! I now make a list of my go-to “healthy spots” in every city where I spend a lot of my time - including markets selling fresh organic produce, specialty health stores, restaurants serving good quality healthy items, and of course, places where I can go to burn it all off!

Today I want to share with you my healthy guide to MANAGUA – my new home town. Check out my list below, and feel free to comment/share!

 

SPECIALTY HEALTH MARKETS & JUICE BARS

NATURALEZA – A “health market” selling lots of natural medicines, herbs, and healthy packaged items. It’s my go-to for supplements and ayurvedic medicines in Nicaragua. They also offer fresh teas, even incense and incense burners, as well as typical “health” staples including most nuts and seeds. I think it's the best place in Managua to find a wide array of natural supplements. 

BALANCE STUDIO – I’m so proud to announce that I’ve opened up my own holistic spot offering barre classes, nutrition counseling, and at the reception I’m offering some hard-to-find-in-Managua healthy goodies, including: hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pink himalayan salt, vegan protein powder, superfoods, probiotics, and more to come!  And whats amazing and unique is that you can swing by for an awesome barre class, have a nutrition consultation with me, and take home some healthy staples for your post-workout smoothie or snack – all in one place. P.S. Healthy on-the-go snacks are COMING SOON to Balance Studio, so stay tuned!

Productos Saludables - Studio Reception.jpg

KAYA GOODNESS – My favorite place to buy a green juice on the go, or fresh coconut water (which chia seeds)!  If you stop by, you might as well pick up some organic produce sold there; the lovely owner conveniently sells organic kale, fresh herbs, as well as zucchini and tomato – not organic, but it's convenient! One of the few spots to buy cold-pressed juices and a yummy smoothie-in-a-bowl, plus, the place is charming to sit down with a friend post-workout. 

NUVE - I recently discovered this little coffee shop / juice bar and loved it. They make a homemade Kombucha (awesome source of probiotics!) as well as some cold-pressed juices, light bites, and a selection of healthy packaged goods (like nuts and seeds). I send a lot of clients there to buy their “healthy goodies” including apple cider vinegar (hard to find here), nuts and seeds. It's also a cute place, and offers hard-to-find items in Nicaragua. I also love that is right by the hospital, and think Nuve should start delivering some of their healthy bites and juices to patients in the hospital!

QUINOA FIT & FOOD – They sell a selection of “hard-to-find-in Managua” ítems, similar to Balance Studio and Nuve, as well as a small menu of “healthy” food to-go. I also send a lot of clients here to buy their nuts and seeds that are hard to come across. 

OLA VERDE - Mentioned in more detail below under Healthy Restaurant, this lovely spot also sells on-the-go healthy items, both fresh and packaged.

PRODUCE & SUPERMARKETS IN MANAGUA – FOR MY STAPLES

DON AGAPITO'S ORGANIC FARM (Ticuantepe) – Offers a small selection of organic produce, including: lettuce, asparagus, eggplant, kale, collard greens (acelga), leeks, fennel (hinojo), avocados, arugula, basil, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, green beans, lemons. The owners are so nice, they pick the produce for you in the moment, and they make sure to give you only fresh things. I just wish they were closer and offered more things!

ECOCANASTA – I HAD to try this as it reminded me of my CSA in Miami where I would get a basket of fresh, seasonal produce delivered nearby every 2 weeks. Same concept, but here you place your order by Wednesday of any given week, and you pick up your basket on Friday. Everything (they say) is organic produce, and they have tons of convenient pick-up locations, plus an additional list of items on top of their weekly basket. 

“EL MERCADITO” – A large local market open Fridays and Saturdays (by the “Centro Comercial Managua”) providing all the typical LOCAL fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh made tortillas, cheeses, and other local goods. It’s very inexpensive, and everything is local and seasonal. And I love supporting the small local farmers/communities. But note, produce is not organic (meaning pesticides are surely used, however, I doubt anything there is GMO). And since you're only getting the local/typical produce, it excludes some of the basics in my kitchen (like cauliflower, zucchini, usually you don’t find broccoli, kale, etc.). 

LA COLONIA – In this impressive supermarket (which stores just about everywhere in Managua) you can get most of the foods available in Nicaragua, and they have a constantly growing supply of other “healthy goods” including organic coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, quinoa, tahini, and other items that I consider “kitchen staples” which are hard to find in Nicaragua. It provides a one-stop-shop for almost everything you need. I just wish they would bring even more organic goods!

PORTAS – A mini-supermarket in Villa Fontana that offers a ton of specialty goods. It’s the only place that sells organic coconut milk (in a can, but it’s the only option with almost no preservatives) and organic Tahini. They also offer a good selection (for Nicaragua) of vitamins/minerals in their pharmacy. They seem to be consistent with what they sell, and you can get both fresh produce and packaged goods. BUT, it’s not a one-stop-shop like La Colonia.

"HEALTHY" RESTAURANTS

This is still quite difficult in Managua and I wouldn’t consider any restaurant super healthy; there’s very few places offering vegan and/or gluten-free options, and the vegetable selection is extremely limited in most places. Lastly, its hard to say what oils are being used to cook most of the food items. That being said, I’ll list a few spots offering some healthy plates so you can choose from these for your next night out in Managua!

OLA VERDE– I believe it’s the only place offering vegan meals and plenty of gluten-free dishes. I love most of their plates. They offer yummy vegan and vegetarian meals, as well as on-the-go healthy items (has a mini-market) and a selection of fresh organic produce. Owner is very involved in wellness world, which I admire and love. 

EAT BON APPETIT - Cute salad/sandwich spot with daily menu and fresh ingredients. I LOVE their food, everything tastes fresh and delicious. While at first look, the plates are NOT very healthy (lots of bread and cheese!), the owner/staff are extremely flexible and will make substitutions so that you can go and enjoy a healthy meal that is still delicious. But you must ask. I recommend their grilled vegetable bowls (they vary but usually offer a GF one with either chicken, smoked salmon and/or chickpeas) and I usually swap the cheese for avocado. They use a wide variety of ingredients to create a fabulous, filling and colorful salad/bowl. Plus - you get awesome service and a cozy, beautiful spot. 

GASTRONOMIA EL BUZO - Italian. By far the BEST offering of delicious vegetables and fresh seafood in Managua. This is probably my favorite restaurant in town, mostly because I love their fresh veggies and herbs. The vegetables come straight from the backyard farm aka "huerta", they're all organic, and they come prepared in a delicious manner with fresh herbs and extra-virgin olive oil. His fish preparations are also exquisite. Unfortunately, it's bit far for many being in Carretera Sur, and I wish they'd put music (!), but it’s worth the visit in my view!

MUNDO – International. My go-to for a night out with friends. While not everything is healthy here, they have options of vegetable side dishes, and a few healthy items including their: rice paper spring rolls, shrimp salad with asparagus, and their delicious Pescado al Papillote. Plus, you get a fun vibe, friendly owner, and they always have their staple healthy options. 

ZACATELIMON – Similar to Mundo, but a bit more casual. Offers a few select healthy items (though you may need to ask for some substitutions, especially with the salads, to keep it light). Healthiest items (in my view) include: tomato soup, grilled salmon and their “pollo light”. They're always packed (a good sign!) and offer a good, consistent menu. 

ACHOLADO – Peruvian. Go for the fresh ceviche options, seafood salad, grilled octopus or quinoa salad (with no mayo, and maybe limit the cheese), but make sure to order a side of lettuce to get some greens in you! You get delicious, fresh seafood BUT almost no veggies, and you must be careful with their tempting fried plantains and spicy mayo sauce!

PORTERHOUSE and DON CANDIDO – My two favorite steakhouses in Managua that also offer lighter fish/seafood options and vegetable sides. I’m joining these two as their pros and cons are similar. Both offer a consistent menu with good grass-fed local steak options (in Don Candido, they also offer non-local, so be sure to ask which cuts of meat are grass-fed) and they offer some yummy vegetable sides. That being said, I still wish they would offer even more vegetable sides. Oh and of course, like all steakhouses, portion sizes are big, so share your order of meat!

FITNESS STUDIOS

BALANCE STUDIO – My new small barre studio in Managua, which offers the most amazing full-body workout ever, with both its Balance Barre and Cardio Barre. It’s one of the best workouts that offers a cardio element while remaining low-impact, soft of the bones/joints, and improves your strength, balance and flexibility. It’s a tough class but open level (and open to all ages). It’s a beautiful space, and we offer a friendly, clean and modern environment. And for the girls- you’ll feel more feminine and beautiful, to distract you from all the home chores. Additional pros: You can pay online with credit card, and register online via MindBody. Balance Studio also offers one-of-a-kind holistic nutritional counselling in addition to the fitness classes. Class selection is still limited, as we’re focused mostly on barre, but there will be more to come shortly!

 Balance Studio

Balance Studio

ANDFIT – A good selection of fitness classes, that also has the studio feel (vs. large gym) which I like. They offer good classes that get you sweating. Love their trampoline classes. The staff and regulars are super friendly, and a lovely owner - huge plus!

BUEN KARMA YOGA – A great yoga studio. Low key and rustic, but it's everything you need. Great teaches and variety of classes. Feeling of relaxation and being in nature is unique and really helps you be present in your practice. Also offers Mysore Ashtanga, I believe unique to Managua. Best of all, the friendly and super involved owner offers many workshops and gets involved with all the wellness community in the city. 

ALMA YOGA – Another favorite place for yoga. Great teachers with a variety of open level classes. Also, its right by Ola Verde which has awesome healthy bites. It's a lovely place and great regular spot for all levels of yogis.

ELECTROBODY - First, a disclaimer. I haven't been YET, and I usually never blog about anything that I don't personally do/things I haven't tried, but I wanted to include this spot because I have heard good things, and I have it on my "go-to" list. It's a small studio offering unique "electro-body" technique classes and some pilates (plus massages on demand). They claim to offer extremely effective workouts in very little time. Who doesn't love that? Can't wait to try it.

P.S. YES I'm a barre fanatic, but i'm also a yogi, and sometimes crave a good trampoline class. I think working out is a lot about having fun, and doing what you enjoy and what feels good on your body. Mixing up things is usually great, so if you want to do pilates and barre, plus some ocassional treadmil, thats an awesome mix!

 

And now, PLEASE comment and let me know YOUR favorite spots in Managua (that I should consider adding to my list going forward). And of course, feel free to comment on my list!

Hope this helps make your visit and/or daily life in Managua a bit healthier and easier to manage!

Love and Healthy Living in Managua,

Mariana