By this time in January, the strength to keep New Year’s resolutions can start to fade — especially when it comes to healthy eating. Sad salads and soggy wraps get old quickly, but a healthful diet doesn’t have to feel like a drag. Balancing nutrition with flavor, these Austin spots offer easy ways to keep nutrition goals all year long.
This tiny East Austin eatery specializes in grab-and-go meals, but the thought put into them is anything but quick. Each bento box uses a mixture of colors and techniques to ensure a nourishing and flavorful meal. Those on a low-carb diet will appreciate the keto bowl with greens, tomato, and a coconut amino sauce. Those that don’t mind a little gluten will go mad for the soba noodles with oak-smoked salmon or spicy chipotle pulled pork.
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails
Although this West Austin hot spot’s menu is filled with temptations like a fried chicken biscuit sandwich and vanilla-glazed doughnut holes, much of the fare packs a punch without much fat. The Fall Big Salad dresses lettuces, acorn squash, and shaved Brussels sprouts in a puckering cherry-miso vinaigrette. Greens and Grains, a perennial favorite, is one of the most delicious bowls in Austin thanks to smoky mushrooms and the deep umami of the tamari broth.
This long-running favorite of Austin’s vegan set is a sandwich wizard, transforming deli favorites into healthier treats for you and the planet. The “pastrami” surprises with thin slices of grilled house seitan dressed with melted Swiss "cheeze," pickles, Thousand Island dressing, and a spritely sauerkraut. The Meltdown, a “tuna” melt made with garbanzos, nails the creaminess of the original without wrecking the breath.
This East Austin food truck does focus on intentional eating — inspired by ancient traditions of using food as medicine — but one doesn’t have to keep an Ayurvedic diet to enjoy its fare. The golden mylk is a luscious mix of turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger, and the spiralized zucchini pesto bowl with peppery radish slices and black cumin seeds has all the comfort of pasta without the weight.
This Seaholm restaurant isn’t a garden-variety poke spot. For one, three-time James Beard Award nominee Matt McCallister consulted on the menu, ensuring bowls are dressed with sauces guests won’t find anywhere else. Diners can build their own creation on the convenient touch screens, but they shouldn’t pass on the chef’s creations. The wasabi ponzu salmon bowl is a delight with furikake and crispy garlic.
The downtown iteration of South Austin’s most charming coffee shop propels guests through even the most grueling days with energizing dishes like granola and yogurt and avocado toast made with crispy shallots, pepitas, arugula, and scrambled egg. Still, when the schedule is packed with tight deadlines, nothing beats the oomph of the Healthy Andy — three eggs with arugula salad and a sprinkle of Parmesan Reggiano that works as well for lunch as it does for breakfast.
The Steeping Room
Named by Southern Living as one of the top 10 tea rooms in Texas, this cozy shop is more known for what it pours in a cup than for what it serves on a plate. Still, that doesn’t mean that fare is an afterthought. In addition to lighter snacks like walnut-cucumber spring rolls and hummus served with crudité, the Steeping Room offers an assortment of veggie-heavy bowls made with creative ingredients like tea-poached salmon.