Jan 02, 2016 04:49PM
● By Dia
Diet or delicious? Why choose? A new year offers a new reason to start fresh — and in many cases, provides a reminder to rethink what goes into our bodies. Whether you’re hoping to lose a few pounds, gain a bit more energy or sim- ply crave something different, we’ve rounded up our top picks for healthy food choices you don’t have to drive far to find. Say bye-bye to bland and boring; these eats are as satisfying for the taste buds as they are for the tummy.
REFRESHING SMOOTHIES AND JUICES
Coffee breaks are nice, but sometimes an energizing smoothie or juice is just what you need to power through the day. And Pure Café in Southlake Town Square is the perfect stop, offering a great alternative to sweet snacks and caffeine-laden beverages. The local smoothie and juice bar serves up everything from wraps to salads, but it’s the fresh-squeezed juices, juice cleanses and smoothies we can’t get enough of.
Pure Café Owner Carolyn Darretta says that while healthy foods still have a stigma for some, more and more people are warming up to the idea. “Healthy can still taste good,” Darretta says. She suggests starting off the New Year right by trading in your usual morning routine for the nat- ural energizer of raw juice, many of which are blended to ward off some of the season’s common illnesses.
“Most juices are designed to fight against something, and you can add ingredients based on your needs. For example, ginger fights against colds and coughs,” she says.
For more area juicing options, try one of Nekter Juice Bar’s daily juice cleanses that pack 10-12 pounds of fruits and vegetables inside ... much more than you could pos- sibly eat. Or at least want to eat.
Who says salads should leave you feeling hungry? At Mod- ern Market, you’ll find indulgently filling salad options in both entrée and half sizes depending on your appetite, and the menu is far from rabbit food. Choose from full-size offerings that range from 569 to 832 calories, including creative pairings such as the Thai Coconut Salad featuring mixed greens topped with roasted chicken, grated coco- nut, cucumber, roasted sweet potato and peanut mango dressing. And rest assured it will be fresh, as the restaurant prides itself on made-from-scratch food that’s only crafted with simple, seasonal ingredients. So while the menu fluc- tuates with what’s in season, the flavor is always predictably delicious.
Prefer to build your own salad? Try Snappy Salads, the brainchild of Chris Dahlander. Boasting a tagline of, “So Good, Even Guys Like Our Salads,” the growing chain lives up to its name with Create Your Own options that allow you to mix-and-match lettuce with up to eight ingredients. “Guests can create their own salad ingredients that meet their dietary needs and have them dressed with house-made dressings to accomplish their health goals,” Dahlander says. “A salad a day keeps the doctor away.”
Snappy Salads also offers an expansive list of suggested options if you’d rather leave the mixing up to the pros. Dahlander’s personal favorite? The BAM*BAM, an irresistible blend of baby spinach, baby arugula, artisan mix, red cabbage, quinoa, red onion, pulled chicken, dried cherries, chopped almonds and house-made Sweet Parsley dressing that started as a featured salad and quickly became a main-menu staple.
“I created this salad with super foods in mind,” Dahlander says. “Super foods are items that pack a powerful punch (like the little kid on The Flintstones) of antioxidants, minerals and other beneficial nutrients.” It’s so yummy, you’ll forget you’re also eating healthy.
FAST AND FRESH
Too busy to focus on nutrition? Nice try. Places like My Fit Foods and Simply Fit Meals make it easy to stay healthy, even during your most hectic of days, with chef-inspired meals you can take on the run. Focusing on fresh, simple and flavorful ingredients, the Texas-born companies were both founded on the principle of quick eats that defy the traditional fast-food model.
The cuisine at both fuels you up and fills you up — no oil-doused French fries here. Instead, you’ll find fresh, ready-made meals that you can refrigerate until you’re ready to eat them, with plenty of options to keep you from even thinking about pulling up to that drive-through window. There are even items you wouldn’t expect to find on a health-food menu – think Crispy Chicken Tenders breaded with rice flour for a low-fat twist, or our morning favorite, Breakfast Tacos.
For those who prefer the dine-in experience, Zoës Kitchen offers a healthful option with a Medi- terranean approach. Here you’ll enjoy a fast-casual dining experience, based on the Greek traditions and heritage of its founder who believes food should taste as good as it is good for you. The menu features an eclectic range of pita sandwiches, kabobs and even family-style meals to serve up to six hungry mouths. Maybe this whole eating-right thing isn’t so hard after all.
DELICIOUS & NUTRITIOUS RESTAURANTS
When winter’s chill blows through Texas, sometimes the only thing that will satisfy is a warm meal. But you don’t have to stay at home to stay healthy or divert from your goals to enjoy a night out with friends. Many restaurants, like Trio New American Café, are putting their focus on locally sourced ingredients and seasonally inspired dishes that are as good for the taste buds as they are for the waistline. Led by Executive Chef and Owner Jason Harper, the Colleyville restaurant is all about making it a point to know where your food comes from, sourcing menu items locally as often as possible, while changing their menu four times per year to align with the seasons.
“How your food is raised matters,” Harper explains when sharing his restaurant’s philosophy. “Our proteins and meats are pasture-raised here in Texas, on small-range pastures where they live the life they’re supposed to live.” The result is not only more nutrient rich, but also better tasting.
Another restaurant putting a focus on quality food amid a comfortable atmosphere is TruFire Kitchen & Bar in Southlake Town Square. Here you’ll find a passion for fresh in everything on the menu, from handcrafted drinks made with muddled fruits and house-prepared sours to carefully selected dishes aligned with the flavors of the season, like the Naked Avocado Salad.
Cutting out gluten? TruFire serves up an impressive list of gluten-free items, from Hummus made from fire-roasted bell peppers and served alongside pita bread to specialty items like Pan-Roasted Sockeye Salmon with a mustard dill glaze. Its popu- lar pasta dishes can also be created with 100-percent whole-wheat pasta upon request for a healthier spin on a comfort food classic.
WHEN CALORIES COUNT
It’s too difficult to track your calories when dining out, right? Not if you find restaurants dedicated to helping you follow your plan. Corner Bakery Café makes it simple to hit your targeted calorie count while still being flexible, with a build-your-own Corner Com- bo that truly lets you diet your way. Choose from more than 100 delicious options that include sandwiches, paninis, salads or soup, all that pair up perfectly and still only equal 600 calories or less.
If you’re looking for a more sit-down affair than a casual dining spot, make reservations at Brio Tuscan Grille or even The Cheese- cake Factory. Both may seem decadent for those watching their weight, but in fact, you can find entrees for as little as 365 calories on their menus. Explore Brio’s lighter menu for low-calorie pastas that only sound sinful, and The Cheesecake Factory’s SkinnyLicious® menu for 50 dishes with 590 calories or less, including lighter versions of your favorite cocktails.
With the right mindset, eating healthier has never been easier, or more flavorful. Finally, a resolution we’ll want to keep well beyond January.