Convenient & Healthy Options (Dining Out)

July 10, 2012

In general I encourage cooking at home to eating out.   It is much easier to make a poor food choice than a healthy one in this country.  The standard American offerings are devoid of micronutrients and are full of sugar, unhealthy fat sources, and questionable animal byproducts.  Unfortunately, they are also cheap, readily available, and palatable.

Until our food quality improves significantly in this country, it is up to us as consumers to sift through the options and choose those that are highest in absorbable nutrients and least in offending agents.

The DC metro area recently had a power outage.  One of the most difficult challenges for me was that I couldn’t grocery shop, prepare, and store food.   Other circumstances like moving, emergencies, and unexpected life occurrences might make cooking at home impossible.

I think the occasional meal at a French or Indian restaurant is part of a healthy lifestyle, but I think it is also wise to have go-to easy, healthy options for when life leaves us with a warm refrigerator and a dark kitchen.

Below I list three of my top choices for eating out in the DC/Maryland area.  Listed in no particular order, I think these places offer food that is tasty, healthy, and convenient.  Of course, one could always order poor choices at these establishments which would tip the scale in an unfavorable direction and incur additional side effects like upset stomach, lethargy, and mood changes.  But if you search for them, you will find the good choices.

Sweetgreen:  One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is go for a long bike ride.  After working up an appetite and a big sweat, I love to indulge in a salad at Sweetgreen.  You can order one of their salad options or create your own using the abundant local and in-season offerings.  I like to start with mixed greens and my favorite toppings include mushrooms, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, chicken, sunflower seeds, goat cheese, and avocado.  I usually add a fresh lemon squeeze and balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Personally I skip the bread to leave room for their frozen yogurt which I happen to love.  It is tart, not sweet, and relatively low in sugar for a dessert option.  Toppings include fresh berries, nuts, and coconut.  (Skip the yogurt if you don’t tolerate dairy.)  Yes, in general I promote eating more warm, cooked foods, but there is a time and a place for salads and frozen yogurt.  A three-hour bike ride on a hot, sunny day is one of them!

Whole Foods:  We are blessed to have so many Whole Foods Markets in this area.  While a great place to grocery shop, Whole Foods is also a great option for getting a healthy meal on-the-go at their hot and cold bars.  Skip the mac and cheese and pastry section and fill up on steamed vegetables, fish, chicken, beef, salads, etc.  They have some really interesting creations, and it is a good place for tasting new items.  Be careful:  it is really easy to overfill your box!

Hooters:  Really, Molly?  Actually, yes.  Although it is a chain restaurant complete with unhealthy chain restaurant options, I like their menu for a couple of reasons.  First, they list the calories of each option.  If you are going to indulge, at least you’ll know how much you are really consuming.  On the leaner side are steamed shrimp and snow crab legs.  Dip either in some butter or cocktail sauce, and you have a most delicious, but not too caloric meal.  Plus, snow crab legs take so long to eat that you are forced to pace yourself.  They are a personal favorite of mine, particularly while watching a Yankee game 🙂

Keep shopping at your farmers’ markets and cooking from your CSA boxes.  But when life throws you a curve ball, be prepared with your best options for dining out.  What are your favorite healthy, convenient options?

Remember, you are what you eat.

In good health,


2 Responses to “Convenient & Healthy Options (Dining Out)”

  1. ActingLoud Says:

    Even you jones for a burger – Elevation is a great option too!

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