Spring break is in the rearview mirror, which means summertime is almost here. Still haven’t started on the new exercise plan you mapped out on December 31? Still hoarding Girl Scout cookies in your pantry? Now is the time to get moving — and to give those Thin Mints to one of your enemies at work (with a smile, of course).
Exercise alone won’t get rid of that muffin top, though. You need healthy dining options both at home and out on the town. That’s why we came up with this list of our favorite local restaurants to grab something good for us — and our waistlines.
We find ourselves hitting this fresh, minimalist spot in Clarksville for goodies such as wraps and burgers. We gravitate toward the salads (think Asian seared tuna on a bed of greens, hold the crispy vermicelli rice noodles), but when we feel really hungry and don’t want to destroy that early morning run, we go for the Galaxy Buddha Bowl — steamed greens, homemade lentils, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms with a drizzle of chile peanut vinaigrette. Finish with a stroll around the historic neighborhood.
Waistline watcher pick: Galaxy Buddha Bowl
Restaurateur and chef Shawn Cirkiel has put together a menu of shareable small plates that are perfect for when you need just a little something (our favorites are the vegan ceviche chayote and oysters from the raw bar). To get a healthy jump on the day, we recommend the egg white omelet with pasilla chili and fruit. Sip on a glass of orange juice, take in the view of Lady Bird Lake and then go take on the world.
Waistline watcher pick: Egg white omelet
As you might imagine, beets play a significant role at this tiny spot tucked in a shiny retail development on West Fifth Street. Beets aside, you can get everything from smoothies and vegetable juices to salads and desserts. Think the Beets Me (a drink made from a mix of beet, apple, carrot and ginger) or the Asian Style Noodle Salad (napa, red and green cabbages, kelp noodles, sea vegetables, daikon radish and bok choy tossed with sweet n' spicy miso dressing). We recommend the Curried Carrot Soup (carrot and orange juices, pine nuts and cashews, miso, ginger, garlic, lemon, and touch of crystal salt), or if you're craving something heartier, go for the Just-A-Good Burger, a patty made of beets, carrots, sprouted sunflower seeds, and celery served on a crisp leaf of romaine.
Waistline watcher pick: Just-A-Good Burger
With a couple locations around town, this spot is our go-to place when we crave something green but can’t fathom the thought of another salad. With offerings such as Cool Hand Cuke (apple, cucumber, lime, mint and Himalayan pink crystal salt) and Depth Charge (cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, parsley and coconut water), it can be hard to make a decision. Right now we have a crush on The Skinny — cucumber, apple, spinach and aloe vera.
Waistline watcher pick: The Skinny
Who says tacos aren’t healthy? At this laid-back spot everything is made from scratch. In fact, almost the entire menu is gluten-free, nearly every ingredient is organic or sourced locally, and there is no lard on the premises. Our hands-down favorite is the simple Freakin’ Vegan (refried black beans with avocado and pico de gallo). No, wait, our favorite is the Carne Asada (grilled ribeye with avocado, cilantro, onion and a squeeze of lime). When we think of our upcoming pool parties, we opt for the Florentino — fresh spinach sautéed in olive oil and sherry with Portobello mushroom, red bell pepper and onion.
Waistline watcher pick: The Florentino